Wednesday's Uefa Champions League Developments
Chelsea and Fernando Torres enjoyed a good evening, while Barcelona, AC Milan and Arsenal all had big wins in the Uefa Champions League on Wednesday.
Chelsea 5 (Raul Meireles 8’, Fernando Torres 11’, 27’, Ivanovic 42’, Kalou 72’) def Genk 0
The Londoners ran riot against the Belgian champions with the impressive Raul Meireles opening his Chelsea account with the first in a big win. Fernando Torres even grabbed a brace as the Belgians headed home knowing there’s a lot of work to do to get through.
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas said: “Fernando Torres got into good goalscoring positions but it is not important that he did not get a hat-trick. It is not an individual objective but a collective objective to get the points.”
Bayer Leverkusen 2 (Schurrle 52’, Sam 56’) def Valencia 1 (Jonas 24’)
The Bundesliga outfit claimed an important three points on Wednesday and they did so after early Valencia pressure. The visitors deservedly went ahead on 24 minutes through Jonas, but Leverkusen eventually switched on and started the second-half with a real attacking edge and got their goals.
Leverkusen boss Robin Dutt said: “The team delivered a great performance from the 35th minute onwards. It was not fun to watch the match before that [from our point of view] but then we took the initiative and it was all-out attack after the break. The players want to deliver, and today we saw that.”
Marseille 0 def by Arsenal 1 (Ramsey 90’)
The Gunners claimed all three points with a 92nd-minute strike from substitute Aaron Ramsey after a rather dour contest between the two group leaders. Arsenal’s recent improvement showed but Marseille were arguably too defensive and risk-free.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “We’ve made a little step forward but we have to be humble. We are a team who must continue to grow and we have to show that. The next game at home against Marseille is very important. This will help us but in last five or six games we only have one defeat. We are slowly getting there; tonight will help that.”
Olympiacos 3 (Holebas 8’, Djebbour 40’, Modesto 78’) def Dortmund 1 (Lewandowski 26’)
Greek champions Olympiacos claimed a big win which gives them renewed hope of progressing through Group F. Jose Holebas got them off to a good start before Robert Lewandowski levelled. However Rafik Djebbour put the Greeks ahead again and Francois Modesto late goal sealed the win.
Olympiacos boss Ernesto Valverde said: “We needed to win to have any chance of finishing in third place in the group. I was pleased we got that win. The first half was tough as both teams played counter-attacking football at great pace. After the interval we were able to take control of the match.”
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Shakhtar Donetsk 2 (Willian 15’, Luiz Adriano 45’) drew with Zenit St Petersburg 2 (Shirokov 33’, Faizulin 60’)
There was a four-goal thriller in East Europe as Shakhtar and Zenit battled it out, with the hosts grabbing the lead on two occasions only to be pegged back. The Russians were arguably the better side, but needed Dmytro Chygrynskiy’s error to earn them the equaliser through Viktor Faizulin.
Zenit boss Luciano Spalletti said: “I think it was a decent match and I can commend myself on having such great players. They coped with a game of real intensity, rhythm and quality. Obviously we’re a bit disappointed as we should have achieved more.”
FC Porto 1 (Hulk 13’) drew with APOEL 1 (Ailton 19’)
Cypriots APOEL claimed an impressive point away to Europa League winners Porto which keeps them top of the group at the halfway mark. Hulk’s free-kick put Porto ahead but Ailton netted a fine long-range strike only six minutes later.
A pleased APOEL boss Ivan Jovanovic said: “This is very important for us if you consider that we have taken a point away at Porto. We were excellent and very well organised. Even though Porto kept possession as we expected, we were dangerous on the counterattack. We also had good chances to score. We were a little disappointed not to steal it at the end.”
FC Barcelona 2 (Iniesta 10’, Villa 82’) def Viktoria Plzen 0
The European champions were always in control however the scoreline didn’t totally replicate that dominance as Plzen put in a defensive display. Lionel Messi came close to scoring but didn’t, meaning Andres Iniesta and David Villa got the crucial strikes.
Barca boss Pep Guardiola said: “We put on an exhibition and played in a resounding manner. The news tonight is we have achieved it without Lionel Messi scoring. We know that the most difficult thing [against a defensive team] is to score but that is all part of the process; we had a lot of opportunities and sometimes we were assertive while at other times we weren’t.”
AC Milan 2 (Ibrahimovic 33’, Boateng 70’) def BATE 0
The Italian champions put aside their Serie A woes with a comfortable 2-0 home win over the Belarussians. Alberto Aquilani hit the post early on before Zlatan Ibrahimovic deservedly put the Italians ahead. Kevin-Prince Boateng stole the show with a fine second-half strike to seal the result.
Milan boss Max Allegri said: “This match proved that the players are finally finding their best form and I’m sure it’ll be even better when I have all my players available. In the first half we were too impatient, we wanted to score as soon as possible and this is why we made some mistakes. The team played well in the end, and we created a lot of chances.”
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