Thursday, October 23, 2008

Champion League roundup

Juventus moved to the top of Champions League Group H after a fine win against Real Madrid tonight, but the match was overshadowed by events off the field.

A traffic accident in the Italian Alps earlier in the day claimed the lives of two Juventus fans and injured over 20 more, but the match went ahead as planned after both sets of players observed a minute's silence prior to kick-off.

Juventus captain Alessandro del Piero put the hosts ahead in the fifth minute before Amauri doubled the lead shortly after the restart.

Ruud van Nistelrooy reduced the deficit in the 66th minute but despite the Spaniards' desperate attempts, the Italians held on for victory.

Zenit St Petersburg got their first point in Group H as they drew 1-1 at home to BATE Borisov in a thrilling encounter.

BATE took the lead against the run of play in the 52nd minute when substitute Pavel Nekhaychik fired home but Zenit levelled 11 minutes from time through Fatih Tekke.

In Group F Karim Benzema and Fred grabbed braces as Lyon twice came from behind to emerge victorious in an eight-goal thriller against Steaua Bucharest.

Steaua capitalised on some desperate defending to go 2-0 then 3-2 in front before the break but the French side came back to edge the match 5-3.

Abdulkader Keita and Benzema cancelled out goals in the opening 11 minutes by Arthuro and Dorin Goian, but Ovidiu Petre gave the hosts an interval advantage with a header on the stroke of half-time.

Fred equalised within minutes of coming off the bench and Benzema completed the comeback to put Lyon in front 19 minutes from time, his 13th Champions League goal.

Fred's second of the night, in injury time, finally killed Steaua off. The win sees Lyon go clear in second place in the group, which is headed by Bayern Munich, who saw off Fiorentina 3-0.

Miroslav Klose got Bayern off to the perfect start as he fired them into the lead in the fourth minute and Bastian Schweinsteiger doubled the hosts' advantage in the 25th minute. Ze Roberto added a stunning third right at the death.

La Viola are now five points behind Bayern with no victories to their name.

Half-time substitute Joseba Llorente bagged a hat-trick as Villarreal survived a real scare before defeating Aalborg 6-3 in Group E.

Llorente replaced the ineffective Guillermo Franco at the interval and scored twice inside three minutes to give the hosts what proved an unassailable 4-2 lead.

Villarreal had not conceded two goals in a game all season going into the clash, but did so inside the opening 45 minutes here.

Marek Saganowski gave the Danes a deserved lead and Thomas Enevoldsen brought them level after Giuseppe Rossi and Joan Capdevila had struck for the Yellow Submarine.

AaB were eventually overwhelmed after the break, despite a third goal from Andreas Johansson which made it 4-3, as further efforts from Robert Pires and Llorente sealed the win for Villarreal.

Manchester United remain above the Spanish side on goal difference as they dismissed Celtic 3-0 in their all-British encounter at Old Trafford.

Two strikes by Dimitar Berbatov either side of half-time and an effort from Wayne Rooney put the game to bed.

Arsenal are sitting pretty at the top of Group G with seven points after a 5-2 victory over Fenerbahce.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott put the Gunners 2-0 up inside 11 minutes and although Mikael Silvestre's own goal reduced the deficit, Abou Diaby restored the Gunners' cushion.

Four minutes after half-time Alex Song volleyed in a fourth and Aaron Ramsey scored a fifth in injury time, with Daniel Guiza netting Fener's second.

Dynamo Kiev are two points behind after they claimed their first Champions League win in almost four years against Porto.

Oleksandr Aliev's wicked first-half free-kick was all that separated the sides at the Estadio do Dragao as Dynamo enjoyed their first three-point haul in the competition since defeating Roma 2-0 in November 2004.

Barcelona put one foot in the Champions League last 16 with a 5-0 away drubbing of Basel on Wednesday which left them as the only team with a 100 percent record in the group stage after three matches.
Chelsea also closed in on the knockout stage after a John Terry header gave them a 1-0 home win over Roma and five-time winners Liverpool are in a good position too following a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid.
That result left the two teams joint top in Group D on seven points after Simao Sabrosa steered in a late equaliser to cancel out Robbie Keane's 14th-minute opener for Liverpool.
PSV Eindhoven chalked up their first points in the group with a 2-0 home win over Olympique Marseille, courtesy of a Danny Koevermans brace that left the 1993 European Cup winners rooted to the bottom with three defeats.
An Adriano goal on the stroke of half-time handed Inter Milan a 1-0 home success against Anorthosis Famagusta, leaving them firmly in the driving seat in Group B with seven points ahead of the Cypriots, who have four.
Werder Bremen registered their third straight draw after a 2-2 stalemate at Panathinaikos thanks to Hugo Almeida's 83rd-minute equaliser. The draw gave the Greek side their first point.
Crisp one-touch football from Barcelona tore Basel apart as Lionel Messi, Sergi Busquets and Bojan Krkic gave the 2006 winners a 3-0 lead in the opening 22 minutes.
Bojan added the fourth and Xavi Fernandez completed the rout within three minutes after the interval to give Barcelona an excellent chance of securing their progress to the last 16 in the reverse fixture against the Swiss side next month.
Chelsea dominated for long spells of their clash with Roma but were unable to create a clear-cut chance before Terry broke the deadlock in the 77th minute with a glancing header from Frank Lampard's corner.
Lampard shaved the woodwork with a curling shot in the first half and forced a good save from goalkeeper Cristiano Doni with a freekick in the closing stages as last season's finalists piled on the pressure.
Liverpool seemed to be heading for their third consecutive win after Keane took Steven Gerrard's through ball in his stride and fired past Leo Franco but Simao denied the visitors after good work by Diego Forlan seven minutes from time.
The evening's eight matches produced 17 goals in total, less than a half of Tuesday night's record-equalling tally of 36.

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