UEFA: Trabzonspor shock San Siro; CL Review
The opening round of group matches in the UEFA Champions League were completed on Wednesday with a shock in Milan, predicted wins for the likes of FC Bayern and Real Madrid proving true whereas the Manchester duo of City and United had to be content with a point in two difficult matches.
Ondřej Čelůstka proved to be the hero in the San Siro stadium as his 76th minute goal proved to be the winner in a 1-0 victory over 2009-10 Champions League winners Internazionale. The Turkish side can find themselves fortunate to be in the competition following Fenerbahçe’s expulsion from the competition but they have taken advantage of their reprieve in fine style. The Italians now find themselves under pressure already after an opening day loss in Serie A at the weekend has been coupled with defeat on home soil tonight. In the other Group B match French champions Lille OSC were just moments away from victory but were punished by CSKA Moscow’s Seydou Doumbia whose brace allowed the Russian side a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw in northern France.
Real Madrid, hoping to win a tenth European Cup this season, have started this season’s campaign with a win but were made to work hard by Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb. The only goal of the game was scored by Ángel di María in the 53rd minute of the match but it far from easy for the Spanish giants who were made to play the final seventeen minutes with ten men following Marcelo’s sending off for a second bookable offence. Real Madrid top Group D as the other two teams in the group, Ajax Amsterdam and Olympique Lyonnais, played out a goalless stalemate in the Dutch capital.
FC Bayern München have high hopes in this year’s competition especially given the fact that this season’s final will take place in their home Allianz Arena stadium. It was fitting, therefore, that they should start off the current campaign in fine mood with a 2-0 win away at Spanish side Villarreal CF proving to be light work as Toni Kroos and Rafinha proved to be the unlikely goal scorers helping them on their way to three points in this Group A fixture. The other tie in the group saw Manchester City make their first appearance in European football’s top competition since 1968-69 but had to come from behind to gain a point against Italian side Napoli in a 1-1 draw which saw Aleksandr Kolorov cancel out Edison Cavani’s opener.
Last season’s defeated finalists Manchester United also had to settle for a point but would’ve been more satisfied to do so than their city neighbours were in Manchester. United had to travel to Portuguese giants SL Benfica in a match which had all the history and tradition of the 1967-68 final behind it. The home side took the lead after 24 minutes thanks to Óscar Cardozo’s but an old campaigner in Ryan Giggs got United back on level terms just three minutes before half-time and the score line didn’t change from there although both sides had chances to win the game in the second half. The loss of two points for both these clubs has allowed Swiss champions FC Basel 1893 to steal a march in Group C as an Alexander Frei penalty in the 84th minute proved to be the winner against tournament debutants Oțelul Galați in a 2-1 triumph.