MOSCOW: English Premier League champions Chelsea maintained their 100 per cent record in this season’s Champions’ League with a 2-0 win over hosts Spartak Moscow.
Chelsea made light of missing a host of first choice players, seizing the initiative from kick-off pinning Spartak back and probing the hosts’ defense.
Yury Zhirkov and Nicolas Anelka both scored for the visitors to record their third successive win and inflict Spartak’s first defeat of the campaign. It was a happier result for the English side than their last appearance at the same venue when they lost on penalties to Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final.
“We played very good before the break and scored two goals,” said Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti. “In the second half Spartak managed to come back and created several chances but we were still in control.
“I’m pleased with our defence. I’d like to thank Petr Cech, who made some marvelous saves. Zhirkov was also good tonight. He scored a very important goal.”
The result left Chelsea on top of Group F with nine points from three matches, three points ahead of Spartak.
Gunners claim victory
Arsenal took a giant stride towards the knockout phase of the Champions League, beating Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 to take firm control of their qualifying group.
First-half goals from Alex Song and Samir Nasri followed by second-half efforts from Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Marouane Chamakh sealed the win for Arsenal. Shakhtar had a lone consolation goal – scored by Arsenal’s former player Eduardo in the dying minutes, who will be returning to the Emirates after his summer transfer to the Ukrainian champions.
Arsene Wenger’s men now have nine points from three matches, three clear of second-placed Shakhtar, who have six points in Group H.
Real rejoice after Milan revenge
Cristiano Ronaldo made it five goals in his last three matches as Spanish league leaders Real Madrid defeated AC Milan 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to take command of Champions League Group G.
Two goals in as many first-half minutes helped Real make it a perfect three Group G wins and Jose Mourinho’s side are now five points clear of Milan and Ajax.
Ronaldo fired a 13th minute free-kick through a hopeless Milan wall for his first Champions League goal of the season and a minute later German international Mesut Oezil saw his deflected shot go in.
It was sweet revenge for Real, who lost 3-2 to Milan at home in last season’s group stage, and Mourinho’s Real have yet to concede in this season’s competition and are unbeaten in all competitions.
In other matches, Basle defeated Roma 3-1, Bayern Munich beat CFR 1907 Cluj- Napoca 3-2, Marseille claimed a 1-0 win against MSK Zilina, Ajax won 2-1 against Auxerre and Sporting Braga took an easy 2-0 against Partizan Belgrade.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2010.