Real stun City, PSG ease to victory

Last Updated : 19 September 2012, 05:06 IST
Last Updated : 19 September 2012, 05:06 IST

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A late goal by Cristiano Ronaldo saw Real Madrid grab a crucial morale-boosting 3-2 win over Manchester City in their Champions League opening encounter here.

Ronaldo's goal yesterday not only restored a big grin to the face of the player who has spent the first few weeks of the season saying he is sad but had Real coach Jose Mourinho celebrating as if it was the winning goal in the final itself.

It was also a good night for Mourinho's fellow former Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti as his expensively-assembled French outfit Paris Saint Germain eased to a 4-1 home win over an unambitious Dynamo Kiev on what was the Parisian side's return to the competition after an eight year hiatus.

There was to be no fairytale debut, though, for the team that pipped PSG to the title last season, Montpellier, as despite taking an early 1-0 lead they lost 2-1 at home to Arsenal.

Real deserved their win after dominating the match but still had to twice come from behind before Ronaldo's shot somehow beat England goalkeeper Joe Hart to send the home crowd wild after a disappointing start to the league season had seen them already eight points adrift of bitter rivals Barcelona.

"I am really proud of my team tonight," beamed Mourinho, who had assumed the blame for their poor start to La Liga.

"I said to the players there is no shame in losing games like tonight's when you battle like animals for 90 minutes.

"However, we won and what added to the pleasure was that when we scored the winner I saw the press in the stands pressing the delete button to recommence their match reports."

Paris Saint Germain had their game wrapped up by half-time with goals by Zlatan Ibrahimovic - making him the first player to score for six different sides in the competition - Alex and Thiago Silva on his debut for the club.

Although Miguel Veloso got a goal back in the second-half PSG's Argentinian marksman Javier Pastore restored the three goal lead shortly before the final whistle.

"It was good, not just because of the result, but for us to have a performance like tonight is good for our confidence and for the atmosphere in the squad," said Ancelotti, who like Mourinho has two Champions Leaguwe wins to his credit as a coach.

"It was important to win this game, but we can say nothing more than that because we have to play Porto (who beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0) next and that will not be easy."

Malaga - another side heavily bankrolled with Arab money though the funds have dried up and forced them to sell off several players - also had their three points in the bag by the break against Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg.

Goals by Alarcon Isco and veteran Argentinian Javier Saviola gave them a 2-0 lead and Isco rounded it off with a stunning second in the second-half to make the final score 3-0 against a desperately disappointing Russian side who will hope for more from multi-million dollar signing Hulk in their rmeaining matches.

Both sides can take heart from their group's initial favourites AC Milan's form as unlike Real they were unable to get a morale boosting result after a poor start to the Serie A campaign - drawing 0-0 at home to Anderlecht.

"The fact we've had a mediocre start to the season has perhaps affected our morale," said Milan's under pressure coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"But the simple fact is if you don't score, you don't win and that's something we have to improve on. We're lucky not to have conceded a goal."

The two German sides in action both enjoyed opening wins as Schalke defeated Olympiakos 2-1 away - Dutch star Klaas-Jan Huntelaar getting their winner though he later missed a penalty.

A missed penalty almost proved costly for Dortmund as Mats Hummels failed to break the deadlock in the second-half of their home game with Ajax but fortunately for him Polish striker Robert Lewnadowski scored in the 71st minute to give the German champions the three points.

Published 19 September 2012, 05:06 IST

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