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Rediff.com  » Sports » CL images: Chelsea, Arsenal cruise to comfortable wins

CL images: Chelsea, Arsenal cruise to comfortable wins

Last updated on: September 29, 2010 10:34 IST

Terry, Anelka score as Chelsea beat Marseille

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Chelsea shrugged off their domestic mini-slump of two straight defeats when they comfortably beat Olympique Marseille 2-0 to maintain their perfect start in Group F of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Chelsea won with something to spare at Stamford Bridge, following first-half goals from skipper John Terry and a penalty from Nicolas Anelka.

The victory could have been more emphatic as both Alex and Michael Essien hit the post with long-range efforts in the second half.

Despite missing Didier Drogba, suspended from the match against his former club, and the injured Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou, Chelsea dominated the game and there was little doubt about the outcome once they took the early lead.

Chelsea, after winning their opening six matches of the season, including their first Group F match 4-1 against Zilina, wanted to avoid a third successive defeat after losing to Newcastle United in the League Cup and Manchester City in the Premier League in the last week.

Marseille were desperate for the three points after losing their opening group match 1-0 at home to Spartak Moscow two weeks ago but they never looked like winning here.

In an attempt to give his team more bite in midfield, Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti left Brazilian midfielder Ramires on the bench until the 62nd minute and played Essien in a more prominent attacking role.

Ancelotti's ploy paid almost immediate dividends and Chelsea went ahead after seven minutes.

Terry squeezed the ball home with the outside of his left boot into the narrowest of gaps between defender Benoit Cheyrou and the post from a Gael Kakuta corner.

Chelsea kept up the pressure and there was an air of inevitability about their second goal which came after 28 minutes when Stephane Mbia handled a cross from Essien.

Anelka, booed by the French fans still clearly miffed at his antics at the World Cup when he was sent home early from South Africa, languidly strolled up to stroke the penalty past stranded goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.a


Image: Chelsea's John Terry celebrates with Gael Kakuta after scoring against Olympique Marseille
Photographs: Reuters
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Gunners finally light up the night in Belgrade

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Arsenal's youngsters lit up a gloomy Belgrade night which threatened to be a complete blackout after floodlight failure in an eventually comfortable 3-1 win over 10-man Partizan with both sides missing penalties.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was given the option of returning to London without a ball being kicked in anger in Group H after a partial floodlights' failure left a corner of the pitch in relative darkness.

But the Frenchman agreed to play the match and his faith was justified although a bunch of missed chances meant his team made hard work of seeing off Partizan who played the last half-hour without Marko Jovanovic, sent off for a last-man foul.

Andrei Arshavin had fired Arsenal ahead in the 15th minute with a fine solo effort but Partizan, roared on by 30,000 fans, equalised against the run of play when Cleo converted a penalty after Denilson had handled an innocuous cross.

Partizan keeper Vladimir Stojkovic then pulled off a string of superb saves, including a 57th-minute penalty stop from Arshavin, who could have had a hat-trick by halftime.

But the hosts could not hold on after Jovanovic was shown the red card for a last-man foul on Marouane Chamakh which led to the spot-kick.

Much to the evident relief of Wenger, Chamakh restored Arsenal's lead with a 71st-minute tap-in after Alex Song's shot from inside box rebounded off the post.

"I was concerned after we missed the penalty but I also felt we had enough time to score the second goal and I thought we looked very comfortable after we got it," Wenger told a news conference.

"Partizan gave us the game we expected, fully committed and powerful on every break. We had a lot of the ball and created many chances so overall I am happy with the performance.

"We couldn't kill the game off after they came back with a penalty so we needed to keep the pace high and be patient to score the second goal," he added.

With Partizan running out of steam, defender Sebastien Squillaci headed in the third from a Samir Nasri corner to seal Arsenal's second successive group win, following a 6-0 home drubbing of Portuguese side Braga.

Cleo, who took his Champions League tally to nine goals in eight games, missed a late penalty and substitute Ivica Iliev also spurned a good chance to reduce the arrears when Lukasz Fabianski parried his close-range shot.

With one eye on a trip to London rivals Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, Wenger was also relieved the game went ahead after multiple floodlight failure caused by an electrical hitch threatened to have the kick-off delayed or even abandoned.

"I thought it would have been terrible to go home and not play so I encouraged UEFA when they asked me if we wanted to play with one (floodlight) corner off," he said.

"I said yes as long as the referees were happy with it and overall it was acceptable but I really don't know what happened.

"I believe we will go to Chelsea with the desire to do extremely well because we know how big a game it is for us."

The game was played under tight security amid fears of crowd trouble but Wenger praised Partizan's fans, who gave their team a standing ovation after the final whistle.

"They were supportive but not aggressive. They created a special atmosphere, we respect that kind of support and that's what you want in football," he said.


Image: Arsenal's Sebastien Squillaci (left) celebrates with his teammates after scoring against Partizan Belgrade

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Milan's Ibrahimovic seals match at former club Ajax

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Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic, carrying a knock after receiving an early kick refused to even contemplate coming off and struck a 37th-minute equaliser to cancel out Mounir El Hamdaoui's opener.

Clarence Seedorf, another Ajax old boy who won the Champions League with the Dutch club before going on to lift the trophy with Real Madrid and Milan, was influential throughout the game having been preferred to the rested Ronaldinho.

The Dutchman dinked over a neat pass for Ibrahimovic who controlled superbly before smashing an awkwardly bouncing ball into the net from close range despite Ajax appeals for offside.

Former Inter Milan striker Ibrahimovic, who signed for Milan from Barcelona on an initial loan in August, has now scored five goals for his new side including his brace in the 2-0 win at home to Auxerre in their group opener.

"We've taken one point, we could have taken three as we had lots of chances but a point away is always good," Ibrahimovic, fast becoming a Milan talisman, told Sky TV. "I'm playing with a lot of confidence and I want to continue. Clarence gave me a great pass, he played really well."

Massimiliano Allegri's decision to leave out Ronaldinho raised eyebrows but Milan's habitually inconsistent start to the campaign led to the new coach tinkering with his 4-3-3 formation slightly with Seedorf often dropping back to make a 4-4-2.

"No one gives you anything these days, we saw that again tonight," said the 34-year-old Seedorf, who was cheered by the whole Amsterdam Arena when he was substituted late on.

"It's been nice to return to the club where I started."

While Ibrahimovic and Seedorf are Ajax's past, Luis Suarez is very much their present with the Uruguay World Cup striker again a constant menace.

He showed great skill to ghost past Alessandro Nesta and square the ball for El Hamdaoui to blast the hosts ahead on 23 minutes and had other chances of his own.

Ajax coach Martin Jol will be glad of the point after his side lost their opener to Real Madrid, who beat Auxerre in their second game to top the group with Milan two points behind.

Jol will also know the hosts were lucky at the end when Kevin-Prince Boateng's effort was saved by Maarten Stekelenburg while the visitors were angered by the referee asking for a free kick to be retaken despite Filippo Inzaghi being clear on goal.

Milan, for whom Robinho disappointed, next visit Real on October 19 in their third group outing when Ajax host Auxerre.


Image: Ajax Amsterdam's Vurnon Anita (left) challenges AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic during their Champions League Group G match

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Di Maria fires Real Madrid to 1-0 win

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Real Madrid were made to wait for a late Angel Di Maria goal to earn a 1-0 win at Auxerre in their Champions League Group G match on Tuesday.

Argentine substitute Di Maria had only been on the pitch seven minutes when he volleyed home from inside the area in the 81st to send Real top of the group with six points.

AC Milan are second with four points after a 1-1 draw at Ajax Amsterdam, who have one point, with Auxerre stuck at the bottom having lost their first two games.

Auxerre were on the back foot throughout Tuesday's match but were dangerous on the break and under-pressure Real defender Pepe even headed the ball against his own post from a cross shortly before Di Maria broke the deadlock.

The home side were content to reach the interval with a clean sheet after Olivier Sorin pulled off some good saves to deny Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, who cost more than three times Auxerre's 30 million euro ($40 million) annual budget.

After the break, Auxerre looked more composed and Ireneusz Jelen collected a through ball only for the Poland striker to fire just wide at the hour.

Real stepped up a gear after Karim Benzema was replaced by Mesut Ozil and Di Maria came in for Lassana Diarra.

Just as an embarrassing goalless draw loomed for Real, Argentine Di Maria chested the ball down in the area before volleying into Sorin's bottom left-hand corner.

Real Madrid next face AC Milan at home on Oct. 19, while Auxerre travel to Ajax Amsterdam. Ajax held Milan to a 1-1 draw in the other match in the group on Tuesday.


Image: Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria celebrates with teammate Higuain after scoring against Auxerre

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Schweinsteiger double rescues Bayern

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Bastian Schweinsteiger scored two second-half goals, including a controversial penalty, to give Bayern Munich a lucky 2-1 win at Swiss champions FC Basel on Tuesday.

Basel went ahead with a superbly crafted goal in the 18th minute when Marco Streller held off his marker and flicked the ball to Alexander Frei, who curled his effort past Joerg Butt.

Bayern survived a torrid spell and levelled in the 56th minute when Benjamin Huggel tangled with Thomas Mueller in the penalty area.

The Swiss clearly played the ball but the referee gave a penalty and Schweinsteiger buried the spot-kick amid a deafening chorus of jeers. He then crept in at the far post to snatch an 89th minute winner which left Bayern with six points from two games and Basel with none.

Basel, whose coach Thorsten Fink is a former Bayern player, appeared overawed at the start, handing control to the visitors who missed an excellent early chance when defender Daniel Van Buyton volleyed over from close range.

But the game changed completely with the goal as Basel suddenly discovered their confidence.

Teenager Xherdan Shaquiri brought the crowd to their feet each time he got the ball and created two chances for Basel to add to their lead, pulling a dangerous ball across the face of the ball and then forcing Butt to parry his 25-metre shot.

Mark van Bommel nearly equalised just before halftime when his long-range shot was well saved by goalkeeper Franco Constanzo.

Shaquiri made Butt work again with another powerful drive after the break but Schweinsteiger's penalty changed the complexion of the match and both sides had chances to win in a pulsating last half hour until the late winner.


Image: Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates after scoring against FC Basel

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Roma quick-fire double sinks valiant Cluj

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AS Roma struck twice midway through the second half to earn a a 2-1 home win over CFR Cluj in their Champions League Group E match on Tuesday.

Roma's French defender Philippe Mexes smashed in the first after 69 minutes from just inside the area following a corner.

Substitute Marco Borriello then added a second when he scored with a trademark volley two minutes later.

Cluj, who won at Roma on their Champions League debut two years ago, kept battling away at a half-full Stadio Olimpico and deservedly pulled a goal back through Ionut Rada's header after 78 minutes but could not find an equaliser.

The win puts Roma second in the group with three points behind Bayern Munich, who have six after a 2-1 win at Basel, with Cluj also on three and the Swiss side bottom with none.

The Romanians came close in the first half in Rome when Lacina Traore hit the bar with a fierce shot after a strong run and then shook the post with another strike after the break.

Stand-in Roma goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont was almost embarrassed with a clearance that Cluj's Emil Dica attempted to send straight back past but it flew narrowly wide.

The hosts had chances too with Francesco Totti's free-kick well-saved by inspired Cluj goalkeeper Nuno Claro, who repeatedly kept Claudio Ranieri's side at bay. Mirko Vucinic also had a second-half free-kick palmed away.

Roma were boosted by their win 1-0 over treble winners Inter Milan in Serie A on Saturday which was their first victory this season, having lost at Bayern in their Champions league opener.

Cluj beat Basel in their first group game.


Image: AS Roma's Marco Borriello (right) celebrates with teammate Adriano after scoring against CFR Cluj

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Costa guides Shakhtar to win over Braga

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Brazilian winger Douglas Costa created two goals and scored another to give a clinical Shakhtar Donetsk side a 3-0 win over Braga in their Champions League Group H game on Tuesday.

Striker Luiz Adriano opened the scoring with the Ukrainian champions' first effort on target, firing in a diagonal shot from inside the box on 56 minutes after a clever pass from his compatriot Costa.

Braga, who wasted several goals chances in the first half, almost equalised five minutes later when Matheus's bicycle kick was palmed away by Andriy Pyatov, who reacted quickly again moments later to block Paulo Cesar's powerful drive.

However, Shaktar's Brazilian duo combined again smoothly in the 72nd minute to add their second, with Costa again feeding Adriano in the box. The winger then crowned a fine display by converting an injury-time penalty.

Braga, who conceded six in their group-stage debut against Arsenal earlier this month, started strongly.

They almost made the perfect start when Moises's header was cleared off the line by Razvan Rat in the third minute.

Shakhtar enjoyed plenty of possession but looked slow and failed to threaten, allowing Braga to use their speed on the counter-attack.

Winger Alan put Leandro Salino through on the half-hour and the midfielder forced Pyatov to make a fine block with his foot.

Moments before halftime, striker Matheus led a counter-attack after a Shakhtar corner, racing down the right wing to set up Salino, who wasted another fine chance by placing his shot just wide.

The Portuguese side failed to respond to Shakhtar's second goal and conceded the third from the penalty spot after Cesar fouled Willian just before the final whistle.


Image: Shakhtar Donetsk's Luiz Adriano celebrates after scoring against Sporting Braga

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Ari double powers Spartak to 3-0 win over Zilina

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Brazilian striker Ari scored twice as Spartak Moscow enjoyed a 3-0 victory over Zilina in the Champions League Group F on Tuesday.

Ari struck either side of the interval and compatriot Ibson added a third goal one minute from time for the Russians.

Spartak, holders of the unenviable record of 22 successive Champions League matches without a win, have now won two out of two and top the group on six points after beating Olympique Marseille 1-0 two weeks ago.

"We played almost an ideal match tonight," a beaming Spartak coach Valery Karpin told a news conference. "I couldn't have asked for anything more from my players."

The Slovak side rarely threatened Spartak keeper Andriy Dykan on the wet, artificial Luzhniki turf as they slumped to their second consecutive defeat after being thoroughly outplayed by Chelsea 4-1 in their opener.

With rain falling on the Russian capital for most of the day, making the synthetic pitch slippery, both teams were resigned to making long-range shots on goal.

The home team increased the pressure midway through the first half and it paid off when Ari sent a looping header beyond the reach of advancing Zilina keeper Martin Dubravka.

The ball clearly crossed the goal-line in mid-air before being cleared by a Slovakian defender.

Swedish referee Martin Hansson hesitated for a few seconds before awarding the goal after getting help from one of his assistants positioned in the penalty area.

Ari doubled his tally just after the hour, tapping in a Dmitry Kombarov cross. Ibson sealed a comfortable victory for the hosts, redirecting another cross from the left wing by fellow substitute Christian Maidana with time running out.

The only negative aspect for the Russians was the injury to their top striker, Brazilian Welliton, who limped off the pitch with an apparent hamstring pull midway through the second half.

Spartak's real test of their Champions League credentials should come in three weeks when they face the seemingly unstoppable Chelsea, who were hosting Marseille in the other Group F match later on Tuesday.

A win over the English champions would almost ensure that Spartak reached the knockout round for the first time since the 1995-96 season.


Image: Spartak Moscow's Ari (top) celebrates with teammate Nicolas Pareja after scoring against Zilina

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