A “naïve” Arsenal FC suffered their first defeat against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 3 of the European Champions League as Chelsea cleaned up the mess they made of themselves a fortnight ago away at Schalke.
Fernando Torres scored twice as Chelsea threw their “garbage” start behind them with a 3-0 victory over Group E German oppositions Schalke on Tuesday night. It was the Spaniard’s 100th appearance for the ‘Blues’ and his goals inspired Jose Mourinho’s side to the top of the group standings.
Lionel Messi returned from a three-week break with a goal which helped the ‘Catalans’ seal a 1-1 draw at the San Siro. It was his first start since recovering from a thigh injury and he scored a neatly-taken first-half equalizer to cancel out Robinho’s opener.
Celtic earned themselves a breathing space in Group H with a 2-1 win against Dutch champions Ajax at Celtic Park.
Steaua Bucharest snatched their first point in the ongoing campaign by drawing 1-1 at home to Basel, thanks to a Leandro Tatu’s 88th minute leveler after Chilean Marcelo Diaz had given the visitors the lead three minutes after the interval.
Torres gave Chelsea an early lead after Frank Lampards corner was flicked on by Branislav Ivanovic. He capped an excellent display with a simple finish following a break involving Oscar and Eden Hazard.
Hazard completed scoring in the closing stages with a composed finish.
Chelsea have now put behind their slow start to the European League season and tops the group standing on six points, same as the Bundesliga side but with a superior goal difference.
Basel, who were hoping to climb to the top of the table in Romania last night but conceded a late equalizer, are third as Steaua remains bottom.
“We put ourselves on the back foot with the first goal and were naïve for the second,” Arsene Wenger accuses his side after falling to last season’s losing finalist Dortmund at the Emirate Stadium.
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski scored a late winner for Dortmund and ended the ‘Gunners’s’ flawless start to their Champions League season, throwing the group wide open.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave Jurgen Klops’ side an early lead but Frenchman Olivier Giroud helped the hard-fighting Premier League outfit pull back before half-time.
“It was a game of high physical intensity. Dortmund were very well-organised to stop us from playing. I must admit we were not as good as we have been and some of our players were not as fresh physically,” added the Frenchman, who clocked 64 yesterday.
Napoli emerged 2-1 winners at Martseille. Spanish winger Jose Callejon opened scoring in the 42nd minute with a low strike into the bottom corner. Then substitute Duvan Zapata curled a shot into the top corner to double the lead in the 67th minute before Marseille’s Ghanaian winger Andre Ayew trimmed down the deficit four minutes to full-time.
Group F was always considered a group of death and despite the loss; Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli now are all on six points, and the London club are top courtesy of their head-to-head record.
Porto had to play for 84 minutes with 10 men at home to Zenit St. Petersburg as Aleksandr Kerzhakov struck a late effort to give the Russian side a 1-0 win. Hector Herrera was shown a red card early on in the encounter.
Diego Costa scored twice as Atletico Madrid maintained their 100% record by beating Austria Vienna 3-0 away.
Raul Garcia, who coach Diego Simeone favoured instead of David Villa, opened scoring for the visitors in the eighth minute after being set up by Filipe Luis. Costa doubled the lead in the 20th minute after a solo run and was left unmarked when he made it 3-0 in the 53rd minute.
The Spaniards top the group standing on nine points, Zenit trail with 4 points while Porto and Austria Vienna sits third and fourth on 3 and a point each.
Barcelona ended Matchday 3, two points ahead of Milan at the top of the group standings as Messi marked his first appearance since coming back from a thigh injury with an equaliser before half-time after Robinho had grabbed the opener.
Milan, on five points, are two points ahead of Celtic, who beat Ajax 2-1. Ajax remained bottom of the standing on a point after losing to ten-man Celtic in Scotland.
The first-half at Celtic Park ended with James Forest showing great composure to score from the penalty spot before Beram kayal got Celtic’s second goal early into the second-half with a deflected shot.
Celtic were down to ten men two minutes to the dead as substitute Nir Biton was sent off.
Lasse Schone fired in an injury-time goal for the Dutch side to leave scores at 2-1 ahead of Celtic’s visit to Amsterdam in a fortnight’s time.