While Real Madrid’s Champions League victory over Manchester City may have helped repair early season disorder on the field,the 3-2 win does not look to have completely mended morale inside the squad.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 90th-minute winner capped a memorable comeback by the Spanish champions,who trailed 2-1 with five minutes to play.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had launched a number of attacks against his players following a 1-0 loss at Sevilla on Saturday,questioning their work ethic and priorities,and calling on his squad to prove their mettle against the English champions. They certainly responded to restore confidence that a record 10th European Cup is attainable this season.
Its the first time my players go home tired after a game. In football,you should go home feeling tired after every game, Mourinho said. That’s what Real Madrid stands for and it’s not a cheap philosophy. You have to be ready to die on the field.
Madrid’s woeful finishing nearly cost it as it wasted a number of scoring chances before City’s 69th-minute opener. But the team knew how to respond as it twice rallied before Ronaldo dipped a shot under goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 90th minute.
Ronaldo,who returned to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for the first time since saying he felt sad at the club,celebrated his goal this time around. But he did not suggest his mood had turned. How I am,that doesn’t matter, the Portugal forward said. I celebrate everything that needs celebrating. What happened in the past doesn’t matter,the past is the past.
Mourinho insisted he would not point fingers over the Spanish champions’ poor domestic league form,which has seen it slip eight points behind leader Barcelona after just four games.
There were also wins for Paris St Germain,who beat Dynamo Kiev 4-1 on their return to the competition after eight years,newcomers Malaga,who beat Zenit St Petersburg 3-0 and former Champions League holders Porto who won 2-0 at Dinamo Zagreb.
In a clash of ex-European title winners Borussia Dortmund beat Ajax Amsterdam 1-0 while seven-times European champions AC Milan were booed off after a 0-0 home draw against Anderlecht. Arsenal rode their luck to beat French champions Montpellier 2-1 away after conceding an early penalty.
But the outstanding game of the night was in Madrid where all five goals at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium came in the final 22 minutes with City taking a 1-0 lead through Edin Dzeko before Marcelo equalised six minutes later. Aleksandar Kolarov put City back in front with a free-kick after 85 minutes which looked like the winner before Karim Benzema equalised in the 87th and Ronaldo struck to bury the visitors at the end.
PSG,outside contenders for the title after spending more than $261.11 million on players since being taken over by Qatari investors a year ago,played superbly and were the biggest scorers on the night,thumping Kiev in Group A. PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic,who opened the scoring with a first-half penalty,became the first player to score in the Champions League for six different clubs having also netted for Ajax Amsterdam,Juventus,Inter Milan,Barcelona and AC Milan.
It was a dream start to the campaign for PSG with Thiago Silva netting on his debut,Alex making it 3-0 and Javier Pastore wrapping up the victory with a fourth in stoppage time. PSG were never really threatened by the visitors who got a late consolation through Miguel Veloso.
Carlo Ancelottis side next travel to Porto,who won 2-0 at Dinamo Zagreb with Lucho Gonzalez and Steven Defour scoring near the end of the first and second half respectively. Malaga,playing in the competition for the first time,put their financial worries to one side with a 3-0 home win over Zenit St Petersburg in Group C with two goals from midfielder Isco and one from forward Javier Saviola.
Arsenal and Schalke 04 both took maximum points away from home in Group B. The London side went behind against debutants Montpellier after only nine minutes when Younes Belhanda chipped an audacious penalty past Arsenal reserve goalkeeper Vito Mannone after Thomas Vermaelen upended Belhanda in the box.
But Arsenal,whose banned French coach Arsene Wenger watched from the stands,stormed back with a well-worked equaliser by Lukas Podolski after 16 minutes before Gervinho scored what was to be the winner with a close-range strike two minutes later.
Schalke gets going
Schalke won 2-1 at Olympiakos Piraeus with Benedikt Hoewedes and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar,who later missed a penalty,scoring for the German side. Djamel Abdoun had equalised for the hosts. Borussia Dortmund began with a 1-0 victory over Ajax in Group D with Robert Lewandowski scoring three minutes from time after Mats Hummels had a penalty saved in the 58th minute.
AC Milan,seven times European champions,were jeered off by frustrated fans after failing to score at the San Siro for the third successive match,this time against Anderlecht.
Full time scores
Paris: PSG 4-1 Dynamo Kiev
Malaga: Malaga 3-0 Zenit
Zagreb: Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Porto
Dortmund: Dortmund 1-0 Ajax
Milan: AC Milan 0-0 Anderlecht
Montpellier: Montpellier 1-2 Arsenal