Thursday 24 October 2013
Manchester United and Manchester City made it three UEFA Champions League wins out of four by Premier League clubs this week as David Moyes's charges edged a home win over Real Sociedad and City were 3-1 winners at CSKA Moscow.
It took Manchester United less than two minutes to produce the winning goal at Old Trafford that moved them to the top of Group A standings, although they were given a helping hand by visiting defender Inigo Martinez who turned the ball past his own goalkeeper.
"We could, and should, have scored more, but it was a good victory"
That said, the goal was created by a wonderful display of skill by Wayne Rooney, who beat two players on the left before curling a shot against the far post, which rebounded in off the retreating defender before crossing the line.
Although there were no further goals in the match, goalkeeper Claudio Bravo denied both Rooney and Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia drilled a low shot against the post, while Sociedad also twice hit the woodwork through Antoine Griezmann's free-kick and a strike by Alberto de la Bella. But United held on for the win that takes them a point clear of Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the section at the halfway point in the group stage.
"It was job done tonight," said Moyes. "We had to win the game and we did so, and it was a good performance. We could, and should, have scored more, but it was a good victory. We had [a similar situation] on Saturday where we led 1-0 going into the last stages [in the 1-1 draw with Southampton] so there was a bit of nervousness around that tonight, but if we had scored five or six today, it wouldn't have been out of place - Wayne Rooney was absolutely terrific."
Earlier in the day Manchester City survived treacherous conditions and a hostile crowd as they came from behind to secure a narrow win over CSKA Moscow.
Manuel Pellegrini's side recovered from falling a goal behind to a 32nd-minute strike by former Man Utd midfielder Zoran Tosic in rainswept conditions in the Russian capital thanks to two goals in 11 first-half minutes by Sergio Aguero.
"David Silva and Aguero are top players and every match they show how they can play football"
The Argentinian international struck within two minutes of Tosic's measured finish, seizing on hesitation in the Russian rearguard to connect with David Silva's cross for his first and then heading past Igor Akinfeev at the far post after being picked out by Alvaro Negredo. The victory keeps City three points behind Group D leaders Bayern Munich and as many ahead of third-placed CSKA after three matches played.
"I'm very happy, it was a difficult game," said Pellegrini. "I said that on this pitch it is difficult to play football, so getting the three points is important for the future of the group. They scored the only time they arrived in our box, so I was not concerned about that, and thankfully [Sergio] Aguero equalised immediately - [David] Silva and Aguero are top players and every match they show how they can play football.
Arsenal and Manchester City were held to draws by Borussia Dortmund and CSKA Moscow respectively, while Manchester United's Under-19s succumbed to their second defeat in Group A as they were beaten at home by Real Sociedad.
The young Gunners were held to a goalless stalemate by Dortmund at Borehamwood. It was a night to forget for Chuba Akpom who had a first-half penalty saved by Steffan Gocke and was sent off in added time for a second bookable offence but Steve Gatting's side remain handily placed three points clear at the top of Group F after three matches.
Man City also earned a hard-fought draw at the Oktyabr Stadium, Devante Cole, the son of former City striker Andrew, giving his side the lead following excellent approach play by Ashley Smith-Brown on 73 minutes. However, the Army Men rallied with Ruslan Gordienko equalising with nine minutes left to ensure both sides share the Group D summit.
Just as in the UEFA Champions League encounter between Manchester United and Real Sociedad, an early goal decided this fixture, but in the case of the U19s the winner went to the away side. Alvaro Odriozola produced the decisive goal in the fourth minute after Jon Bautista had drawn goalkeeper Joel Castro to tee him up. Although Joshua Harrop and Joe Rothwell both came close for the hosts, they could not salvage a point and United lie third in Group A, three points behind their victors and level on points with second-placed FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
On Thursday evening Swansea City and Tottenham are looking to strengthen their hold on UEFA Europa League Groups A and K with third straight victories in the competition proper. Spurs travel to Moldova to take on FC Sheriff in the 7pm fixture while the Swans host Russian outfit FC Kuban Krasnodar at the Liberty Stadium at 9.05pm.
Wednesday 23 October
Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Manchester United (Martinez og) 1-0 Real Sociedad
Bayern Munich 5-0 Viktoria Plzen
CSKA Moscow 1-2 Manchester City
UEFA Youth League fixtures
Arsenal 0-0 Borussia Dortmund
Manchester United 0-1 Real Sociedad
CSKA Moscow 1-1 Manchester City (Cole)
Thursday 25 October
Swansea City v Kuban Krasnodar, 9.05pm
Valencia v St Gallen
Anji Makhachkala v Tromso
FC Sheriff v Tottenham Hotspur, 7pm