woensdag 19 september 2012

Champions League results from 18 September

Real Madrid 3 - 2 Manchester City

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his winner
Cristiano Ronaldo's last-minute winner gave Real Madrid a thrilling victory over Manchester City in a pulsating Champions League clash at the Bernabeu.

City keeper Joe Hart kept his side in the game before they took a shock lead through Edin Dzeko's breakaway goal.
Marcelo equalised with a deflected shot but City led again when Aleksandar Kolarov's free-kick flew straight in.
In a frantic finale, Karim Benzema levelled before Ronaldo's shot flew past an unsighted Hart to win it.
That brought a spectacular sliding celebration from Real boss Jose Mourinho - who had questioned his side's focus and commitment in recent days - and provided an extraordinary finish to a game which had been completely one-sided for long periods.
The Spanish side dominated until Dzeko put City ahead after the hour mark, with Hart rescuing his side on several occasions.

But, having led with less than three minutes remaining, Roberto Mancini's men will still feel they should have won the game, let alone finish up empty-handed as they began their campaign in Group D.
A trip to the home of the Spanish champions always looked a tough way for City to begin their task of reaching the knockout stages for the first time, especially because there was no sign of any lethargy or discontent in the Real camp.
They took the game to City from the start and, inside the first five minutes, Ronaldo tested Hart for the first time when he cut inside Vincent Kompany and fired in a low shot that was heading for the bottom corner until the England keeper clawed it to safety.
That set the pattern for the rest of the first half, with Ronaldo giving Maicon a torrid time down the right, while Angel di Maria and Alvaro Arbeloa saw plenty of the ball on the opposite flank.
Hart had to come to City's rescue again with an instinctive block to keep out Gonzalo Higuain's header from Ronaldo's cross-shot, before racing off his line to close down Higuain after he beat the offside trap.
By now, Real were completely dominant and City were also grateful for some poor finishing from Higuain and Sami Khedira, who both missed the target from point-blank range.
Tellingly, Yaya Toure was City's only attacking outlet before the break, twice causing the Real defence problems after running at them from deep positions but failing to find a decisive final ball.
He was to put that right in style when he again charged forward and fed Dzeko, who steadied himself before firing home.
The goal came completely against the run of play, but it was almost followed by a second for the visitors when Carlos Tevez slipped Toure free. However he was off balance when he let fly inside the box and could only fire into the side netting.
Mourinho made a flurry of changes in a bid to rescue the game, with Benzema and Luka Modric both flung on, and in the end the home side's pressure told.
Marcelo, who had earlier gone close with two fizzing efforts from the edge of the box, made it third time lucky when he stepped inside Vincent Kompany and saw his shot come off Javi Garcia and fly into the net.
The visitors remained on the back foot but they also remained a threat at the other end, and Kolarov restored their lead when he bent the ball straight into the net from 25 yards out.
Again, the travelling fans scented what would have been a famous triumph but, once more, Real came forward, with Benzema turning inside Matija Nastasic before finding the bottom corner to make it 2-2.
From being on the brink of victory, City were now clinging on for a point. There was yet more drama to come, however, and it was former Manchester United star Ronaldo who would provide it.
With the 90 minutes almost up, he cut inside from the left and, after Kompany ducked under his shot, the ball cruelly fizzed past the helpless Hart.


Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Ajax
Lewandowski nets late to seal Group D victory
The Bundesliga outfit dominated proceedings in the second half after an even opening 45 minutes, and the Poland international's late strike helped them to a vital win

Kenneth Vermeer saves penalty Mats Hummels, Dortmund - Ajax

Borussia Dortmund recorded a 1-0 victory over Ajax at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday in their Champions League Group D opener.

The hosts should have opened the scoring in the second half via Mats Hummels, but the centre-back missed his spot kick. However, Robert Lewandowski's late goal helped Dortmund to the full three points and spared his team-mate's blushes.

BVB started the match with attacking intentions and threatened early on via Kuba and Lewandowski. However, the first big chance of the game was for Ajax following some sloppy play from Ilkay Gundogan. Ryan Babel stole the ball off the Dortmund midfielder's feet before setting up Christian Eriksen inside the area, but the Denmark international's shot was kept out by Roman Weidenfeller.

The home side then got a good chance themselves shortly after as Mario Gotze seemed to escape the attention of the Ajax defence, but Niklas Moisander bullied the creative midfielder off the ball with a last-ditch tackle.

Robert Lewandowski did come close to breaking the deadlock at the half-hour mark, but he failed to find the net as Kenneth Vermeer forced him out wide. Marcel Schmelzer tested Vermeer with a powerful shot only minutes later, but the Ajax goalkeeper punched the ball wide.

Derk Boerrigter could have opened the scoring in the 35th minute, but the winger hesitated just too long, allowing Weidenfeller to rush off his line to intercept the through pass. The loose ball then ended up at Babel's feet, but his shot was deflected wide by Neven Subotic.

Ajax made a superb start to the second half and both Siem de Jong and Babel could have added their name to the score-sheet. However, the former's shot, after a corner kick, was kept out by Weidenfeller, while the latter's header went over the crossbar.

Lewandowski then should have opened the scoring after evading the Ajax defence following a cross from the right, but the Poland star wildly blasted his shot over the bar. A brilliant through pass from Mario Gotze then found Marco Reus one-on-one with Vermeer, but the Germany international failed to beat the Ajax goalkeeper.

Shortly after this, Gotze went to ground rather easily after walking into Ricardo van Rhijn inside the Ajax area, but the referee deemed it enough for a spot kick. Mats Hummels stepped up to take it, but Vermeer once again proved to be too much of an obstacle.

Schmelzer then found himself in a dangerous position after 76 minutes of play, but the full-back hesitated just too long, allowing Van Rhijn to make a superb last-ditch tackle to clear the ball.

Nevertheless, BVB eventually got their winner after all as Lewandowski collected a high ball from the right, evaded Toby Alderweireld's tackle, and fired home from close range to make it 1-0.

Dortmund's next Champions League match is the away game against Manchester City on October 3, while Ajax host Real Madrid on the same date.

Montpellier 1-2 Arsenal
Podolski and Gervinho get Gunners off to flying start in France
The Premier League outfit showed resolve after going behind to Younes Belhanda's audacious eighth-minute penalty, with Olivier Giroud struggling to impress against his old side

Champions League, Montpellier v Arsenal

Two goals in as many first-half minutes saw Arsenal triumph 2-1 over Montpellier in their Champions League opener.

The Ligue 1 champions went ahead through an audacious penalty from Younes Belhanda after just eight minutes, before two goals in as many minutes saw the game switch in the Gunners' favour as first Lukas Podolski and then Gervinho showed good composure to give their side the lead at the break.

Abou Diaby, Vito Mannone and former La Paillade striker Olivier Giroud returned to the Arsenal starting line-up in three changes from the team who comfortably beat Southampton 6-1 at the weekend, as Montpellier made six alterations from the side who lost 3-1 to newly promoted Stade de Reims.

In an intimidating start in the Stade de la Mosson - where the remnants of a multitude of pre-match flares floated menacingly over the pitch - the Champions League debutants were handed a foothold in the game when Thomas Vermaelen's clumsy challenge upended Belhanda inside the area. The Moroccan international picked himself up and dinked a cheeky penalty past the helpless Mannone for his club's first goal in the competition.

The lead did not last long - just seven minutes, in fact - as slack defending allowed Santi Cazorla and Giroud to combine and play in Podolski for a neat finish from 16 yards.

And Arsenal took the lead just two minutes later when another fantastically well-worked goal, started and finished by Gervinho as the Ivorian set Carl Jenkinson free down the left before ghosting past more half-hearted defending from the hosts to collect the left-back’s low cross and tuck the ball past Geoffrey Jourdren.

Responding impressively after going behind, Arsenal looked dangerous on every building attack whereas, at the other end of the pitch, their French opponents where having to make do with pot-shots from distance, their best effort of the half falling to Marco Estrada's low drilled effort from 25 yards out that Mannone did well to see around his near post.

Aside from the clever through-ball for Podolski's equaliser, Giroud was not having the most successful of returns to his old club – much industry but little end product, which was summed up by a twisting run into the area before flashing the shot from 12 yards past the near post in the final action of the first half.

Montpellier came out stronger after the break and were almost gifted another goal when Diaby tried to trick his way out of trouble in his own penalty area and allow Remy Cabella to pinch the ball off him but fire high and wide.

The hosts upped the ante further and again went close when Cabella spotted Mannone off his line and attempted a glorious chip from over 25 yards that thwacked off the deputising goalkeeper's bar and into touch.

In an attempt to make up for his earlier mishap, Diaby embarked on a surging run just after the hour mark that took him past three Montpellier players before feeding Cazorla for a stinging drive that Jourdren could only push away.

As the game entered the final stages, the French outfit showed the much-needed urgency they lacked throughout the majority of the game and it was that man Belhanda who was the fulcrum.

And that was no more evident than when the attacking midfielder switched the play out to the right before receiving the ball inside the area and skipping past the feet of Per Mertesacker, but he soon had his head in his hands after hitting his shot straight at Mannone from eight yards in his side’s best chance of the half as his side's chances of victory evaporated along with the smoke from those simmering flares.


And the results fro the others games:

Paris SG 4 - 1 Dynamo Kiev

AC Milan 0 - 0 Anderlecht

Malaga 3- 0 Zenit St. Petersburg

Dynamo Zagreb 0 - 2 FC Porto

Olympiacos 1 - 2 FC Schalke 04

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