United fightback, Blues lose, Barca scare
Manchester United came thundering back from two goals down to beat Braga in the Champions League on Tuesday, defending champions Chelsea were defeated by Shakhtar Donetsk while Celtic came within seconds of claiming a famous point in Barcelona.
United survived some early defensive mishaps to beat Braga 3-2 and maintain their 100% Champions League record this season.
A United defence featuring Michael Carrick gave up a goal after just two minutes, Alan outmuscling Alexander Buttner easily to nod home at the far post. And the Brazilian added to the visitors' advantage, rifling in after Eder had beaten Carrick and cut the ball back across the area.
United responded rapidly, Javier Hernandez burying Shinji Kagawa's cross at the back stick following fine approach work from Robin van Persie. Parity was restored when Jonny Evans stabbed the ball over the line in a messy fashion, with Braga having failed to clear a corner properly.
Hernandez's second of the evening put the seal on the turnaround, the Mexican striker peeling away at the back post to meet Tom Cleverley's deep centre.
In the other Group H action, ten-man CFR Cluj earned a 1-1 draw at Galatasaray. Dany Nounkeu's own goal gave the visitors the lead, before they saw Matias Aguirregaray sent off for two bookable offences. Burak Yilmaz's strike secured Galatasaray a point.
Chelsea's chances of qualifying for the knockout stage are looking precarious after they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the Donbass Arena.
Shakhtar Donetsk eased ahead with less than four minutes played, Alex Teixeira drilling across Petr Cech and into the back of the net after Blues skipper John Terry deflected the ball into his path. Shakhtar sliced through Chelsea at will for much of the opening period, and Cech was forced to make a miraculous save to keep out Tomas Hubschman's shot from six yards.
Fernandinho doubled Shakhtar's advantage after the interval, winning the ball from Eden Hazard - who replaced the injured Frank Lampard - in midfield before storming forward to finish off the move. Oscar pulled a goal back, but the Blues were unable to conjure an equaliser.
Elsewhere in Group E, Mirko Vucinic's late equaliser earned Juventus a 1-1 draw away to FC Nordsjaelland.
Celtic hearts were broken by an injury-time winner from Barcelona's Jordi Alba, which earned the hosts a 2-1 triumph.
The Hoops claimed a stunning lead midway through the opening period, Javier Mascherano heading into his own net under pressure from Georgios Samaras. However, they were unable to hold on until half-time as, seconds before the break, Andres Iniesta finished smartly inside the area.
Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster made a string of terrific saves, before Alba's late breakthrough.
An impressive first-half display and a brave second-half rearguard earned Spartak Moscow their first Champions League Group G points of the season as they beat Benfica 2-1.
Rafael Carioca rounded off a slick break with a classy finish to give the hosts a third-minute lead and, although Rodrigo Lima headed Benfica level at the Luzhniki Stadium, a Jardel own goal restored Spartak's lead before half-time.
It was all Benfica in the final half-hour but Lima and Eduardo Salvio wasted good chances to equalise.
In Group F, a Thomas Muller penalty was enough to get Bayern Munich back on track in Champions League Group F and all but end winless Lille's challenge in the competition as the match ended 1-0.
BATE Borisov were thumped 3-0 at home by Valencia as Roberto Soldado helped himself to a hat-trick in Minsk.
The result means Valencia, BATE and Bayern Munich are all locked on six points in Group F after three games played apiece.