FOOTBALL / Milan holds Barcelona; landmark night for Torres
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Chelsea striker Fernando Torres enjoyed differing fortunes on the former’s 64th birthday and the latter’s 100th start for Chelsea in Champions League action on Tuesday.
Arsenal went down to its first defeat since the opening day of the Premier League campaign, as last season’s beaten finalist Borussia Dortmund won 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Olivier Giroud cancelled out Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s opener before Polish striker Robert Lewandowski scored the winner, although he was fortunate to be on the pitch having elbowed Laurent Koscielny earlier in the second half.
After three rounds, Dortmund tops the Group ‘F’ table on goal difference from Arsenal, while Napoli also joined them on six points after disposing of Marseille 2-1 in France.
Wenger said he hadn’t seen the elbowing incident clearly enough to comment but accepted that his side had not been at its best.
Klopp says sorry
His Dortmund counterpart Jurgen Klopp, who watched from the stands as he serves a touchline ban, was delighted with the result and joked about ruining Wenger’s birthday.
“I am sorry about this, really. That is a problem of the date. I have a birthday in June when there are no matches. I’m always on holiday!”
Arsenal’s English rival Chelsea enjoyed better fortune against German opposition as a double from Torres — taking his tally to 39 for the London club — and one from Eden Hazard saw it to a 3-0 win and inflict a first defeat of the campaign on Schalke 04 in Group ‘E’.
Both Chelsea and Schalke are on six points while Basel, surprise winner over Chelsea in its first match, is on four points after being held 1-1 by previously pointless Steaua Bucharest in Romania.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who was returning to the ground where he won his first Champions League title with Porto in 2004, praised Torres.
The night’s highest profile match ended in a 1-1 draw between AC Milan and Barcelona as Lionel Messi showed he had put behind him the thigh injury that kept him out for three weeks with a fine equaliser. That goal cancelled out Robinho’s opener but, despite dominating the second half, Barcelona was unable to break down an obdurate Milan defence and dropped its first points of the campaign.
It tops Group ‘H’ with a two-point advantage over Milan while Celtic kept its hopes alive of reaching the last 16 for the second successive season with a 2-1 win at home to Ajax, which sees the Scottish champion move onto three points at the halfway stage.
Atletico Madrid had no trouble in making it three wins from three as it rebounded from its first league defeat of the season at the weekend to trounce Austria Vienna 3-0 away in Group ‘G’.
Atletico is now five points clear of Zenit St. Petersburg, which won 1-0 at Porto in the night’s other game. — AFP