Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in Real Madrid’s 4-1 Champions League win at Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday but big spending trio Zenit St. Petersburg, Paris St. Germain and Manchester City failed to win.
Ronaldo’s treble, his second in four days following a three-goal blast in La Liga at the weekend, was complemented by a brilliant Karim Benzema bicycle kick as Real went on top of Group D with six points from its two opening games.
Ambitious Zenit lost 3-2 at home to AC Milan which spent most of the summer selling its players, Tomas Hubocan putting through his own goal in the 75th minute after the Russians had recovered from two goals behind to pull level.
Paris St. Germain lost 1-0 at Porto, which has become a stepping stone for South Americans hoping to move to big European clubs, after Colombian James Rodriguez struck a late winner.
Manchester City needed a late penalty converted by Mario Balotelli to draw 1-1 at home to Borussia Dortmund in a meeting of the Premier League and Bundesliga champions and claim its first point in Real’s group.
There was also late drama at Schalke 04 where Souleymane Camara scored a 90th minute equaliser for debutant Montpellier in a 2-2 draw, its first point in the competition.
Easy for Malaga
Champions League debutant Malaga, which appeared set for a rough ride after selling top players in the close season amid restructuring by its Qatari owners, instead notched up its second straight 3-0 win in Group C, this time at Anderlecht.
Two goals from Eliseu and a Joaquin penalty completed a perfect week for Spain’s four representatives following wins for Valencia and Barcelona on Tuesday.
Dynamo Kiev beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 on coach Oleg Blokhin’s European debut and Arsenal beat Olympiakos 3-1 in the evening’s other matches.
Arsenal maintained its perfect start to the Champions League, with Gervinho, Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey scoring in a victory over Olympiakos.
Ajax, sloppy and toothless, was a shadow of the side which has won four European titles and went behind when Ronaldo pounced on a loose ball to score from close range in the 42nd minute.
Three minutes after the break, Kaka floated an inviting cross from the right and France striker Benzema leaped acrobatically to send a crashing volley past Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer.
Niklas Moisander pulled one back before Ronaldo struck twice in three minutes, the second a delightful chip.
The results: Group A: At Kiev: Dynamo Kiev 2 (Gusev 3, Pivaric 33-og) bt Dinamo Zagreb 0. At Oporto: FC Porto 1 (Rodriguez 83) bt Paris St. Germain 0.
Group B: At Gelsenkirchen: Schalke 04 2 (Draxler 26, Huntelaar 53-pen) drew with Montpellier 2 (Ait Fana 13, S. Camara 90). At London: Arsenal 3 (Gervinho 42, Podolski 56, Ramsey 90+4) bt Olympiakos 1 (Mitroglou 45).
Group C: At Brussels: Anderlecht 0 lost to Malaga 3 (Eliseu 45+1, 64, Joaquin 57-pen). At St. Petersburg: Zenit St. Petersburg 2 (Hulk 45+1, Shirokov 49) lost to AC Milan 3 (Emanuelson 13, El Shaarawy 16, Hubocan 75-og).
Group D: At Amsterdam: Ajax 1 (Moisander 56) lost to Real Madrid 4 (Cristiano Ronaldo 42, 79, 81, Benzema 48). At Manchester: Manchester City 1 (Balotelli 90-pen) drew with Borussia Dortmund 1 (Reuss 61).
Keywords: Champions League