Arsenal thump Porto; Berbatov’s back as United ease past Aalborg; Real win at Zenit; BATE frustrate Juve

Arsenal 4 – Porto 0 (Champions League, September 30, 2008) (Longer highlights here.)  Just after the half hour mark Arsenal took the lead over Porto, Fabregas’ perfectly timed pass put Adebayor through and his cutback was scored by Robin van Persie. In the 40th minute the Gunners doubled their advantage when Adebayor headed home van Persie’s corner. (First half highlights here.) Immediately after the restart Arsenal killed the game with a third, van Persie finding the bottom corner after Porto failed to clear the ball out of defence. A frustrated Porto then gave away a needless penalty, Guarin hacking down Bendtner, allowing Emmanuel Adebayor to bag his second and Arsenal’s fourth.

Aalborg 0 – Manchester United 3 (Champions League, September 30, 2008) (Longer highlights here.)  After dominating the early possession and tempo of the match, Manchester United got on the scoreboard when Giggs (a substitute for the injured Paul Scholes) split open the Aalborg defence with Rooney slotting the ball home. Aalborg shot themselves in the foot early in the second half, poor defending gifted Dimitar Berbatov a free shot on target and the Bulgarian broke his duck for United. And once he got one the second was quickly chalked up, Ronaldo skinned the left back to pick out Berbatov in the box and the number 9 acrobatically scored the third.

Zenit St. Petesburg 1 – Real Madrid 2 (Champions League, September 30, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Madrid moved into a 4th minute lead in Russia, Zenit failed to clear a corner and Hubocan turned the ball into his own net. Zenit hit back through playmaker Danny, converting a cross after great work by Arshavin on the left hand side. Real quickly restored their advantage, the ball broke to Ruud van Nistelrooy in the box and the Dutch marksman made no mistake in finding the far corner. (First half highlights ere.) With no more goals coming in the second half, Zenit look doomed in the group with no points after two games. (Second half highlights here.)

BATE Borisov 2 – Juventus 2 (Champions League, September 30, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) BATE Borisov took a shock lead at home to Juventus, a neat pass from midfield fed Krivets who rounded Manninger to score the opener. Incredibly, the Belorussians then moved two to the good when Stasevich added a second six minutes later by beating Nedved to a back post header. But the Old Lady halved the deficit before the half hour as Iaquinta headed home Giovinco’s cross. On the stroke of halftime Juve drew level, once again Giovinco was the provider for Iaquinta who slotted the ball between the legs of the keeper.

Bayern Munich 1 – Lyon 1 (Champions League, September 30, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Lyon moved ahead at Bayern Munich as Demichelis flicked Juninho’s free-kick into his own net. Bayern pulled level after the break thanks to Ze Roberto’s free header from Klose’s cross which the keeper failed to keep out.

Villarreal 1 – Celtic 0 (Champions League, September 30, 2008) Villarreal and Celtic went into the break goalless, Georgios Samaras missed a one on one for the Super Hoops, while McManus came close with a cheeky backheel. But the Spaniards took the lead after the break when Senna got his free-kick up and down so quickly he beat Boruc all ends up. Scott McDonald was inches away from scoring a stunning strike on the volley, but his effort just when over the bar. At the end of the day Celtic had Boruc to thank for keeping the score at only one-nil, but Celtic now know that will have to take points off of Manchester United to stay in the competition.

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Fenerbahce 0 – Dynamo Kiev 0 (Champions League, September 30, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) Fener and Dynamo played out a lacklustre goalless draw, leaving both teams with much work to do to qualify from the group.

Fiorentina 0 – Steaua Bucharest 0 (Champions League, September 30, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) In a dull match with limited chances, Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilardino created opportunities for the Viola while Steaua’s best chance came when Antonio Semedo had a one-on-one situation with keeper Sebastian Frey but the Portuguese missed the target by inches.


St. Patricks 0 – Hertha Berlin 0 (Agg. 1-2) (UEFA Cup, September 30, 2008) (Longer highlights here.) John McDonnell’s side hit the post twice, forced a number of saves from the visiting goalkeeper and had a perfectly valid penalty appeal waved away. Berlin also could have scored themselves, but Andriy Voronin wasted the best of the chances.

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