Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Football : Ronaldo shines for Real

Real Madrid's new signing Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice on his Champions League debut to lead his new team to a 5-2 win at FC Zurich.Manchester United – the side he left behind after last season's final - won their opening match 1-0 at Besiktas.
World player of the year Ronaldo scored a pair of free kicks for the record nine-time European champions, although the second was punched into the net by Johnny Leoni as the goalkeeper tried to clear it.
Former European champions AC Milan and Bayern Munich also won their first group matches, while English side Chelsea beat visiting FC Porto 1-0 and Juventus stuttered to a 1-1 draw with Bordeaux.
Milan won 2-1 at Marseille, Bayern Munich won 3-0 at Maccabi Haifa and Atletico Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw by debut-making Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia.
Dominant form
Without a European title since 2003, Madrid were 3-0 ahead at half-time in Switzerland and sealed their win with another two goals in the closing moments.
Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a trademark free kick past Leoni, and Raul Gonzalez made it 2-0 seven minutes later with a close-range tap in.
Gonzalo Higuain scored from a pass by Raul in first-half injury time to seemingly put the match beyond Zurich, but the debut-making side scored twice in a minute.
Xavier Margairaz hit a 64th-minute penalty following a foul on Alexandre Alphonse by goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Silvan Aegerter headed in to make it 3-2, but Ronaldo's second kick and a goal by Jose Maria "Guti'' Gutierrez made the game safe.
"I never feel pressure,'' Ronaldo said. "I just work to score goals. I scored two and I'm really pleased for that but the important thing is to win games.''
On this evidence, Madrid's $360 million offseason investment in players looks a sure bet for exciting matches - win or lose.
"We must not lose concentration,'' coach Manuel Pelligrini said.
"There are always things to improve on but I'm happy we scored five goals.''
Milan victory
Filipo Inzaghi, who is vying with Raul for the title of the Champions League all-time leading scorer, hit another two goals to give Milan victory at Marseille.
Inzaghi opened the scoring in the 28th minute when he beat Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda from close range and, although Marseille equalised just after the interval through a header from Argentina defender Gabriel Heinze, Inzaghi scored again from a cross by Clarence Seedorf.
The win put seven-time winners Milan level with Madrid on three points in Group C.
Manchester United could have used some of Ronaldo's scoring prowess in Istanbul as they created few openings in their first tournament match since losing 2-0 to Barcelona in Rome in May.
Midfielder Paul Scholes, who was sent off in the English Premier League on Saturday, headed the ball into the net from about 12 yards with 13 minutes remaining after goalkeeper Hakan Arikan pushed out a shot from Nani.
It was a slow start to the European season for United, which lost last season's final 2-0 to Barcelona.
"Being the first game, you always want to win that, but I was quite comfortable with the performance,'' United manager Alex Ferguson insisted.
"I thought they did quite well most of the time, kept good possession.''
Still, United shares the Group B lead with their next opponent after Wolfsburg beat CSKA Moscow 3-1 with a hat trick by Brazilian striker Grafite.
"It was a perfect evening - first Champions League game and first victory,'' Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko said.
Wolfsburg play at Manchester United on September 30 in the next round of group matches.
Early lead
Results & fixtures
Tuesday 15 September At Madrid 0-0 Apoel Nicosia Besiktas 0-1 Man Utd Chelsea 1-0 FC Porto FC Zurich 2-5 Real Madrid Juventus 1-1 Bordeaux Mac Haifa 0-3 B Munich Marseille 1-2 AC Milan W'burg 3-1 CSKA MoscowWednesday 16 September D Kiev v Rubin Kazan Inter Milan v Barcelona Liverpool v Debrecen Lyon v Fiorentina Olympiakos v AZ Sevilla v Unirea Urziceni Standard Liege v Arsenal VfB Stuttgart v Rangers
Bayern took the early lead in Group A after two goals by Thomas Muller helped them to victory in Israel, with Bordeaux and Juventus next after their 1-1 draw in Turin.
Neither side were able to impose themselves in rainy conditions but Vincenzo Iaquinta gave Juventus the lead in the 63rd when he linked up with captain Fabio Cannavaro.
Jaroslav Plasil equalised for Bordeaux in the 75th, scoring at the far post after Fernando had flicked on Yoann Gourcuff's free kick.
Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea a winning start to their campaign by clinching a 1-0 victory over Porto in the Group D opener.
On a rain-soaked Stamford Bridge pitch, the France forward struck three minutes into the second half to see off the Portuguese champions on an unimpressive night for Chelsea.
"It was a great result, we weren't at our best tonight but it was a difficult night and we got the win,'' midfielder Frank Lampard said.
"You can't always play top, top football. The ball was skidding about, some of our passing went astray, but we've had to stay strong and win the game - and that's what we did.''

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