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Wednesday 18 September 2013

Champions League: Manchester clubs off to a flyer

Manchester United and Manchester City win UEFA Champions League and UEFA Youth League ties

  • Rooney scores his second goal of the night, and his 200th in total, for Man United

  • Goalscorer Sergio Aguero gave a superb performance for Man City in Plzen

  • Devante Cole was on target in Man City's UEFA Youth League victory

  • James Wilson scored the late winning penalty for Man United against Bayer Leverkusen

Manchester United and Manchester City got their UEFA Champions League campaigns off to a flying start with assured victories against Bayer Leverkusen and Viktoria Plzen respectively on Tuesday night.

Manchester United 4-2 Bayer Leverkusen

Wayne Rooney took his Manchester United goal tally to 200 in all competitions as he scored twice in a convincing home victory in their opening Champions League group match.

"I remember saying that Rooney could go on to become one of the all-time greats here by his goals"
David Moyes

The 27-year-old gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half when volleying Patrice Evra's left-wing cross into the turf and beyond goalkeeper Leno. Though the Bundesliga side equalised with a curling shot by Simon Rolfes on 54 minutes, Robin van Persie restored United's lead five minutes later with a right-footed volley of his own.

Rooney then raced clear to finish clinically with 20 minutes left, and score his 200th goal for the Red Devils in all competitions, before setting up Antonio Valencia, whose low drive beat Leno at his near post. Leverkusen reduced the arrears through Omer Toprak with two minutes left but manager David Moyes, who was able to celebrate his first victory in Europe's premier club competition, was left praising his former Everton protege.

"Wayne played really well tonight," said Moyes. "He scored his goals and his pass to put Antonio [Valencia] in was terrific. We want him to keep that scoring record up. I think there are only three or four Manchester United players that have ever achieved 200 goals.

"I remember saying that he could go on to become one of the all-time greats here by his goals, I thought his performance tonight was excellent. I think everything he did was worthy of two goals, and maybe more."

Viktoria Plzen 0-3 Manchester City

Manchester City won their opening Champions League group match for the first time with an impressive second-half display in the Czech Republic.

"We don't have a priority. We all know that Manchester City didn't play well in the last Champions League but the Premier League is also very important"
Manuel Pellegrini

City created several goalscoring chances in the first half with Sergio Aguero hitting the post and Edin Zdeko twice denied from close range by goalkeeper Matus Kozacik but they broke the deadlock three minutes after the interval when Aguero held off a robust challenge before teeing up Dzeko to side-foot in.

Yaya Toure scored the pick of the goals with a spectacular curling strike into the top corner from 25 yards out before Aguero produced the goal his performance deserved  with a smart shot on the turn.

"We know the Champions League is very difficult and there are no easy games; the players recognise that and they will try their best in every match," said manager Manuel Pellegrini, who denied that European success was the club's foremost objective this term. "We don't have a priority. We all know that Manchester City didn't play well in the last Champions League but the Premier League is also very important."

Pellegrini added that the return from injury of defender Vincent Kompany was a boon for the club, and that he expects to field his captain in Sunday's Manchester derby. "It was good to have Vincent Kompany back because he has worked very hard in the last few days. I had some doubts in the last 10 minutes, I thought about taking him off to rest his legs but I saw he was playing without a problem so he will be fine for Sunday."

On Wednesday night Arsenal travel to Marseille for their first Champions League group match, with Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud having all been passed fit to play. Chelsea have no injury problems ahead of their first foray in this season's competition. Jose Mourinho's charges welcome a Basel side they beat in last season's UEFA Europa League semi-finals to Stamford Bridge.

UEFA Youth League wins for City and United

Both Manchester clubs also emerged with victories from their opening UEFA Youth League matches.

The inaugural competition, which pits the Under-19 teams of the 32 UEFA Champions League participants against each other in an autumn programme that mirrors the senior sides' group stage campaigns, was kicked off by Man City, who ran out 4-1 winners at Plzen.

City's Austrian forward Sinan Bytyqi made history by becoming the first goalscorer in the competition, by rattling in a free-kick after five minutes. Thereafter Patrick Vieira's side were in cruise control, captain Marcos Lopes scoring twice and Devante Cole - the son of former United and City striker Andrew Cole - also on target. Milos Kratochvil provided the hosts' headed goal six minutes after the interval 51 minutes.

Man Utd's development team also scored four, although their victory over Bayer Leverkusen was a closer contest, as they edged a seven-goal thriller 4-3 in a match televised live by Eurosport. The hosts, despite being reduced to 10 men, clinched victory thanks to an 89th-minute penalty from James Wilson.

The matchwinner had opened the scoring after four minutes before Ben Pearson extended United’s lead, but the visitors rallied with a quickfire brace by Marc Brasnic. Maximilian Wagener then put Leverkusen ahead before Andreas Pereira equalised for United on 71 minutes.  Though Patrick McNair receiving a second yellow with 15 minutes remaining, Wilson rose to the occasion with two minutes left.

Tuesday 17 September

UEFA Champions League results

Group A
Manchester United
(Rooney 2, Van Persie, Valencia) 4-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Real Sociedad 0-2 Shakhtar Donetsk

Group D
Bayern Munich 3-0 CSKA Moscow
Viktoria Plzen 0-3 Manchester City (Dzeko, Toure, Aguero)

UEFA Youth League results

Group A
Manchester United
(Wilson 2, Pearson, Pereira) 4-3 Bayer Leverkusen
Real Sociedad 3-2 Shakhtar Donetsk

Group D
Bayern Munich 0-2 CSKA Moscow
Viktoria Plzen 1-4 Manchester City (Bytyqi, Lopes 2, Cole)

Wednesday 18 September

UEFA Champions League fixtures
Kick-offs 7.45pm BST

Group E
FC Schalke v Steaua Bucharest
Chelsea v FC Basel

Group F
Olympique Marseille v Arsenal
Napoli v Borussia Dortmund

UEFA Youth League fixtures
Kick-offs 2pm BST

Group E
FC Schalke v Steaua Bucharest
Chelsea v FC Basel

Group F
Olympique Marseille v Arsenal
Napoli v Borussia Dortmund

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Key Points

  • Manchester United and Manchester City seal comfortable UEFA Champions League wins
  • Manchester clubs also victorious in inaugural UEFA Youth League group matches
  • Arsenal travel to Marseille and Chelsea host Basel in Champions League and Youth League matches on Wednesday night