Manchester United came from a goal down at home to beat VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 on Wednesday in the Champions League, while Real Madrid continued their strong start to the season with a comfortable win against 10-man Marseille.
Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick were the heroes for United while World Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo netted a brace for Real in their 3-0 win, the club’s seventh in succession.
In other matches, a Nicolas Anelka goal was enough to maintain Chelsea’s perfect start to the group phase, but AC Milan were stunned at home by Swiss side FC Zurich.
United struggled for long periods against Wolfsburg in their Group B encounter at Old Trafford and had to make an early change when England international Michael Owen went off injured in front of national manager Fabio Capello to be replaced by Dimitar Berbatov.
The substitution added more fluency to a stuttering United first-half performance with the Bulgarian putting Carrick clear in front of goal, but the midfielder’s effort was well saved by Diego Benaglio in the Wolfsburg goal.
The German champions almost took the lead themselves immediately after the restart, but Ricardo Costa blasted over, while Anderson’s firmly struck shot on 54 minutes was turned away by Benaglio.
Wolfsburg went in front shortly afterward, when Edin Dzeko rose above Patrice Evra to head a Makoto Hasebe cross past Tomasz Kuszcsak.
Wolfsburg’s leaded lasted just three minutes when a Giggs free-kick took a wicked deflection past Benaglio.
United pushed on relentlessly in search of a winner, and Carrick eventually made it 2-1 for the home side 12 minutes from time with a curling shot from the edge of the area.
Milestone for Giggs
It was Giggs’ 150th goal for United, but the Welsh international said it didn’t represent anything.
“Obviously I’m proud to do it, but it was more important that we got back in the game so soon after they scored,” said the 35-year-old. “We showed great character to come back.” The victory sees United top their group with six points, three clear of Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow, who beat Besiktas 2-1 thanks to goals in each half from Alan Dzagoev and Milos Kraskic.
In an entertaining Group A encounter at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, the German giants and Juventus played out a scoreless draw.
“We created a lot of 100-per-cent chances but didn’t use them, which is disappointing,” said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal.
Franck Ribery nearly put the home side in front after 19 minutes when the French international ghosted past two defenders, but his subsequent chip over the advancing Gianluigi Buffon also cleared the crossbar.
Juve also had their chances in the first half, and Bayern goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt had to be at his best on 33 minutes to save a shot by Mauro Camoranesi.
Bayern should have gone ahead on the hour-mark, but Miroslav Klose failed to convert a Ribery cross from the left, leaving Munich on four points, level with Bordeaux, who were 1-0 winners against Maccabi Haifa thanks to a late goal from Michael Ciani.
Ronaldo gets a double
Ronaldo opened the scoring on 58 minutes, capitalizing on an error from Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, and the Portuguese international three minutes later won a penalty, which was converted by Kaka.
The penalty resulted in Souleymane Diawara receiving his marching orders for the sliding challenge on Ronaldo, who got his second of the game on 64 minutes to put the game beyond Marseille and maintain Real’s strong start to the season under Manuel Pellegrini.
Zurich bounced back from their drubbing against Real with a shock 1-0 win at AC Milan, the only goal of the game coming from a Hannu Tihinen backheel after just 10 minutes. The win sees Zurich draw level on three points with their illustrious Italian rivals.
Chelsea back to winning ways
Chelsea sit top of Group D with a maximum six points after a 1-0 victory at Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia, thanks to Anelka’s superb first-half strike, followed by Porto on three points after late goals from Falcao and Rolando ensured a 2—0 win against Atletico Madrid.