TWO GOALS FROM Juan Mata helped Chelsea to a resounding 4-0 victory over competition debutants FC Nordsjaelland.
Having been held 2-2 by Juventus in their Group E opener, Chelsea’s campaign is now up and running, but the scoreline disguised the fact that Roberto Di Matteo’s side toiled for long periods at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium.
Making their home debuts in the tournament — albeit away from their Farum Park home — Nordsjaelland took the game to the visitors after Mata’s 33rd-minute opener and threatened to equalise several times.
It was only in the closing stages did deliverance arrive for Chelsea, after Luiz slammed a 25-yard free-kick past Hansen in the 79th minute.
Mata claimed his second three minutes later, finding the bottom-right corner after darting into the box from the right, before Ramires applied the coup de grace with a tap-in from Oscar’s pass
“It was a great result,” said the recalled Frank Lampard.
“We had to bide our time. At 1-0 they created a few half-chances and hit the post, but once we got the second goal, that was it and we dominated,” he told ITV.
In the other game in Group E, Juventus’ 45-game unbeaten streak came close to being broken in spectacular fashion when the Serie A champions escaped with a 1-1 draw against Champions League Group E opponents Shakhtar Donetsk.
Shakhtar came to Turin with ample knowledge of their opponents thanks mainly to the nous of their coach Mircea Lucescu, who formerly coached Brescia. And it looked like the Ukrainian side had put it to good use in an encounter they were unlucky not to win.
Juve’s three-man defence was often exposed, and they were made to pay in the 23rd minute.
Willian was allowed to shoot from the edge of the area, pick up the rebound and feed Brazilian striker Alex Teixeira whose angled shot flew past Gianluigi Buffon and into the roof of the net.
Minutes later Juve levelled. Shakhtar’s defence was found lacking when unmarked Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci first-timed Andrea Pirlo’s low corner into the roof of the net.
Juve started the second half more brightly and dominated possession, but ultimately struggled to find the final touch. The Old Lady passed up a host of chances including a failed pass from Stephan Lichsteiner with the goal gaping and a Matri volley which blazed over the bar from close-range.
The visitors had their own chances to win in the closing stages, notably a golden chance for Willian who picked up a loose ball in the area. His first effort blocked, the Brazilian picked up the rebound to hit another shot which came off the post.
The shock result of the night came in Minsk where BATE Borisov upset finalists Bayern Munich by three goals to one.
“This is a sensational result for us, we will celebrate a bit but we need to keep working hard,” said BATE’s ex-Arsenal star Aleksandr Hleb.
Having won 3-1 at Lille in France a fortnight ago, victory in Minsk leaves BATE top of Group F while Bayern failed to back up their opening 2-1 home win over Valencia, scoring one goal despite 20 shots on goal and 43 crosses.
The German giants hit the post early on through Arjen Robben, but after a clever pass from right-back Denis Polyakov in the build-up play, BATE’S Pavlov gave Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer no chance with a low shot to put the hosts ahead on 23 minutes.
A crisp exchange of passes between Rodionov and ex-Arsenal midfielder Aleksandr Hleb opened up some space and after Hleb’s clever backheel, Polyakov’s fierce shot was brilliantly saved by Neuer on 55 minutes.
BATE kept attacking in waves and when Pavlov found himself in space in the penalty area, he could only fire over with the goal at his mercy with 35 minutes left.
Despite the lion’s share of possession, Bayern looked no closer to breaking the Borisov defence with coach Jupp Heynckes throwing on striker Claudio Pizarro and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Sergei Grits/AP/Press Association Images
Munich were finally floored when Rodionov exchanged passes with midfielder Edgar Olekhnovich which put the striker clear and he brushed off both Bayern defenders Jerome Boateng and Dante to fire home on 78 minutes.
A superb through pass from Bayern’s Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who was fresh off the bench, was drilled home by Ribery in added time to give the guests hope.
However, with the Bayern defence all at sea, substitute Dmitri Mozolevsky sprinted clear and passed to fellow replacement Bressan in the 94th minute to compound Bayern’s misery.
A goal in either half from Brazilian forward Jonas Oliveira reignited Valencia’s Champions League ensuring they now sit level with Bayern with three points.
The La Liga outfit’s win came at the expense of Lille who now look to be adrift in Group F after two defeats in two games.
Valencia’s east coast rivals Barcelona continued their imperious form this season as they retained top spot in Champions League Group G with a 2-0 victory away to Benfica.
Alexis Sanchez struck after six minutes and Cesc Fabregas added a second following the break to leave Barca with a 100 per cent record from their opening two games while Celtic are on four points following their earlier win away to Spartak Moscow.
Sergio Busquets was sent off with two minutes to go after a clash with Maxi Pereira.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s next opponents, Braga, bounced back from their opening night defeat to CFR Cluj.
Ruben Micael’s close-range strike and a breakaway Alan goal at the death secured Sporting Braga’s 2-0 victory over Galatasaray at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium.
The deadlock was broken by the Portuguese visitors after Ruben Amorim’s shot was parried into the stride of Micael, who gleefully converted before the Galatasaray defence were able to react.
Alan completed the victory on the counter in the last minute of second-half injury-time as Braga moved to third place in the standings, equal on three points with second-placed Cluj.
United top the table having won their opening two games, while Galatasaray are yet to register a point.
- Additional reporting by Sean Farrell