It was another interesting round of Champions League soccer as once again French teams failed to shine on Europe’s biggest stage. Olympique Lyonnais collected the only point achieved by a Ligue 1 outfit on Matchday 2 and that point means that French teams have grabbed only two points from six games this season.
By comparison Spanish teams have gained 22 points from a possible 24 while English teams have grabbed 18.
One if the impressive Spanish teams so far has been Atletico Madrid kept pace with Liverpool at the top of Champions League Group D thanks to a 2-1 win over Marseille. Argentinean striker Aguero made it three goals in two games to put Atletico ahead, although Mamadou Niang brought the French club level before Raul Garcia struck the winner. Atletico join Liverpool, 3-1 victors over PSV Eindhoven, at the top of Group D and it will very difficult for either Marseille or PSV to progress from this group.
Another French team that struggled was Bordeaux who lost 3-1 at home to Roma. Two goals from Julio Baptista sealed a vital three points for the Italians after their opening home defeat to CFR Cluj. Cluj continued their impressive play with a 0-0 draw with favorites Chelsea. With Roma playing Chelsea on Match Day 3, Cluj has an opportunity to really put the pressure on Roma if they can win in France.
A couple of moments of brilliance from Lionel Messi was enough to see Barcelona beat unlucky Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 in Group C. In the other group match goals from Leandro Romagnoli and Derlei handed Sporting Lisbon a 2-0 win over Basle in Portugal effectively ending Basle’s chance to progress.
In Group B, Jose Mourinho saw his Inter Milan foiled by former Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro whose goals allowed Werder Bremen to get a credible 1-1 draw at the San Siro. The most emotional win of the night took place when Cypriots Anorthosis Famagusta claimed a famous 3-1 victory over Greek rivals Panathinaikos. A Josu Sarriegi own goal and Sinisa Dobrasinovic effort gave the islanders a comfortable lead, and although Dimitris Salpigidis pulled one back from the spot, Hawar Mulla Mohammed clinched the win to continue his club’s promising start.
Italian giants Juventus narrowly avoided an embarrassing lose to minnows BATE Borisov as they fought back to claim a 2-2 draw. In the other match in this group Real Madrid got an impressive win in Russia against Zenit St Petersburg thanks to Ruud van Nistelrooy’s 31st-minute winner after Danny Alves had earlier equalized Tomas Hubocan’s own-goal. Zenit have failed to impress against Juventus and Real and the UEFA Cup might be a better level for them.
In group F Brazilian Ze Roberto secured a 1-1 draw for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich against Lyon, scoring in the 52nd minute to cancel out Juninho’s 26th-minute opener. Group F’s other fixture saw Fiorentina held to a goalless draw by Steaua Bucharest.
In Group G Arsenal were very impressive beating Porto while Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kiev drew 0-0 in Turkey.
And finally in Group E, Dimitar Berbatov scored his first goals for Manchester United as they comfortably beat Danish side Aalborg BK 3-0. In the other match in this group Celtic lost once again away from home, this time 1-0 to Villarreal . Celtic’s next two games are Battles of Britain with Manchester United and they need at least 3 points from these two games if they have any hope of qualifying for the group stages.
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