Wednesday's Uefa Champions League Developments
Manchester United, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Ajax Amsterdam were among the winners on a big day for European giants in the Champions League.
*Bayern Munich 3 (Gomez 17’, 23’, 42’) def Napoli 2 (Fernandez 45’, 79’)
Mario Gomez was the star at the Allianz Arena with a stunning first-half hat-trick before Napoli responded to ensure a tense finish. Both sides had a player sent off in the contest but Bayern take a strong grip on top spot in this group after a fine home result.
Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes said: “I rated Mario Gomez’s goals and his contribution to his team’s defence; he’s shown great commitment. We know he is capable of scoring but it was positive to see him fight for his team.”
Villarreal 0 def by Manchester City 3 (Toure 30’, 71’, Balotelli 45’)
Yaya Toure took control for the Sky Blues as Villarreal were ousted from the Champions League as they lost yet another game. City looked good for the points with Toure grabbing a brace, while Mario Balotelli netted from the spot and provided an assist in a good away win.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said: “We want to continue to play as well as possible but every game is difficult. Now we have to play another game in 60 hours and it will be hard. We will need to change some players, but if we want to compete at this level, that’s what happens. We know that anything can happen although we are going very well.”
Trabzonspor 0 drew with CSKA Moscow 0
Both sides are level on points after four games but it could’ve been so different for the Turkish runners-up who hit the post late. CSKA had forward Seydou Doumbia sent off in a blow to their hopes but they managed to hold on for a precious point.
Trabzonspor boss Senol Gunes said: “We hoped to get four points from these two games but we have been forced to settle for one and the head-to-head advantage is with CSKA. After they were reduced to ten men, our attacking power diminished too. From time to time we had chances, but we need to learn how to take the lead in those situations. CSKA had more experience and used it well.”
Inter Milan (Samuel 18’, Milito 65’) 2 def Lille 1 (Tulio 83’)
Inter moved close to qualification for the next phase despite their slow start to the group, with a 2-1 win over French champions Lille. Gabriel Milito hit the woodwork early before Walter Samuel headed them ahead from a corner. Milito doubled their advantage with a neat second-half finish before Tulio de Melo grabbed a late consolation.
Inter boss Claudio Ranieri said: “The most important thing tonight was to show the will of the team. We played a pretty good game and now we have nine points, so we have almost qualified. Milito created a lot of chances tonight and helped the team, I never thought of bringing him off. He was full of desire and I am happy he finally found the net. He is the man who helped Inter win the Champions League so he deserves respect.”
Manchester United 2 (Valencia 8’, Sarghi og 87’) def Otelul Galati 0
United started off well with Antonio Valencia tapping home from close range on eight minutes, but had David de Gea to thank for ensuring their lead at the break. Wayne Rooney’s late deflected effort rounded out the win as United failed to get out of first gear.
Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Winning was important. The opposition were very aggressive. They defended well, pressed us everywhere and made things difficult for us. The win makes it more comfortable for us at the top of the group and if we beat Benfica we win the group, it’s as simple as that. It should be a very good night.”
Benfica 1 (Rodrigo 4’) drew with FC Basel 1 (Huggel 64’)
The Portuguese runners-up dominated the first-half but missed the majority of their chances with Rodrigo’s fine first-half finish giving them their advantage. However, Basel hit back to give their hopes of progressing some life, thanks to captain Benjamin Huggel’s drive.
Basel boss Heiko Vogel said: “This performance and the result reminded me of the 3-3 draw at Manchester United. We were a bit more mature today. After going behind early on we kept calm and believed we would get chances. We knew they would come at us, but we wore them down with our defending and by keeping possession.”
Lyon 0 def by Real Madrid 2 (Cristiano Ronaldo 24’, 69’ pen)
The Spanish capital club kept up their perfect record and secured their passage into the Round of 16 with star man Cristiano Ronaldo dominating at the Stade Gerland. The Portuguese attacker firstly put Real ahead with a fine free-kick before converting a second-half spotkick.
Real boss Jose Mourinho said: “We are on the right track and looking to finish the group stage strongly as we did last season. This year we’re putting in good performances and trying to win playing good football home and away. We’re doing that at the moment; let’s see what happens later.”
Ajax Amsterdam 4 (van der Wiel 20’, Sulejmani 25’, de Jong 65’, Lodeiro 90’) def Dinamo Zagreb 0
The Dutch champions produced some fine football and some fine goals to romp past Dinamo Zagreb and eliminate the Croatians in the process. All four goals were neat interchanges with Gregory van der Wiel lashing home a fine opener, along with Miralem Sulejmani, Siem de Jong and Nicolas Lodeiro.
Ajax boss Frank de Boer said: “We managed to put the pressure on them from the start and within recovered the ball within seconds every time. The match in Lyon is now very interesting but that’s what you do it all for. This was just a prelude, the most important match is still to come. The way we played is how I like to see my team play. We were dominant and commanding and scored four goals.”
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