Real Madrid Rallies Past Manchester City 3-2 in Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the final minute last night to cap Real’s comeback in a matchup of the Spanish and English champions. Karim Benzema tied it for Real two minutes after Aleksandar Kolarov gave City a 2-1 lead in the 85th minute.
“You can’t go up 2-1 with five minutes to go and lose,” City goalkeeper Joe Hart said in a televised interview with ITV. “We can only blame ourselves.”
Lukas Podolski and Gervinho scored first-half goals to give Arsenal the away win in Group B. Porto and Schalke also won away, while AC Milan was held to a scoreless draw by Anderlecht on the opening night of Europe’s elite club competition.
Among tonight’s eight games, Chelsea begins defense of its title at home against Italian champion Juventus. Bayern Munich, last season’s runner-up, is home to Valencia and Spartak Moscow visits Barcelona.
Manchester City looked to have won the Group D match in Madrid when Kolarov’s free kick from the right side with five minutes left went untouched through a crowd of bodies and inside the far post.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Benzema took a pass on the edge of the area, spun to his right and fired a low drive past Hart two minutes later. Ronaldo then won it with a low shot from the right.
“I don’t have sympathy -- that’s football and we deserved to win,” Real coach Jose Mourinho told ITV. “We played a better match from the first minute and deserved it totally.”
Real had 56 percent of possession, a 30-8 advantage in shots, 17 of which were on target. Hart finished with 14 saves.
City opened the scoring in the 68th minute on a goal from Edin Dzeko before Marcelo answered for Real eight minutes later.
“It’s hard to come off the field after losing 3-2 and be positive,” Hart said. “We’re not a team that should come here and pat ourselves on the back for doing well.”
Group D matches the reigning champions from four of Europe’s biggest leagues. In the other game, Germany’s Dortmund beat Ajax of the Netherlands 1-0 with an 87th-minute goal from Robert Lewandowski.
Montpellier, making its tournament debut, took a ninth- minute lead against Arsenal in France as Younes Belhanda scored with a penalty kick after being taken down by Thomas Vermaelan.
The Gunners tied the score in the 16th minute on Podolski’s goal and went in front two minutes later as Gervinho scored.
Montpellier dominated the second half, with Remi Cabella hitting the crossbar and Belhanda shooting at goalkeeper Vito Mannone from 10 yards out (9 meters) in the 81st minute.
Arsenal assistant Steve Bould took charge as manager Arsene Wenger began a three-match European ban for comments about the referee following last season’s round of 16 loss to AC Milan.
“The second half was tough and we looked physically a little bit tired,” Bould said in comments on Arsenal’s website. “The crowd got right behind them and it’s quite an intimidating place to come and play, so we’re glad to get the result.”
Also in Group B, Schalke won 2-1 at Olympiacos in Greece. Klaas Jan-Huntelaar got the winning goal a minute after Djamel Abdoun tied the score for the home team in the 58th minute.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the first player to score for six different clubs in the Champions League to help Paris Saint- Germain rout Dynamo Kiev 4-1. Thiago Silva and Alex also had first-half goals for PSG.
In the other Group A game, Lucho Gonzalez and Steven Defour scored in Porto’s 2-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb
Seven-time champion AC Milan was unable to score against Anderlecht in Group C and has now failed to get a goal in all three home matches this season. Malaga leads the group following a 3-0 home win over Zenit St. Petersburg, with Isco scoring twice.
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