Champions League round-up

United sneak win, Spurs hit four

September 29, 2010
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Javier Hernandez came off the bench to snatch a 1-0 win for Manchester United in Valencia, meaning Sir Alex Ferguson's side go joint top of Group C with Rangers. Meanwhile, Tottenham beat FC Twente 4-1 in a dramatic contest that saw three penalties and a red card for Rafael van der Vaart.

Rafael van der Vaart scores his goal against Twente.
PA PhotosRafael van der Vaart scores his goal against Twente.

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United - deprived of Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs - looked uninspired for much of the game in Spain and created few chances until the arrival of Hernandez. Just minutes after hitting the post, the Mexican striker collected a square pass from Federico Macheda and produced a lovely finish into the corner of the net.

The result saw United move ahead of Valencia and level with Rangers, who claimed a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in the first round of group games. The Gers were victorious on Wednesday night when a solitary goal from Steven Naismith proved enough to beat Turkish side Bursaspor.

Harry Redknapp's Tottenham were involved in a much more eventful encounter at White Hart Lane when beating FC Twente. Spurs were fortunate not to lose Tom Huddlestone to a red card when he elbowed Marc Janko in the face, but their 11 men won a penalty when Peter Crouch was hauled down in the box. Rafael van der Vaart took the spot-kick after 41 minutes but was denied by an excellent save from Nikolay Mihaylov.

The Dutchman made amends just one minute after the break when chesting down a header from Crouch and slamming a volley past the 'keeper. When Gareth Bale won a penalty four minutes later, Roman Pavlyuchenko assumed duties from 12 yards and added a second goal.

Nacer Chadli capitalised on Tottenham's inability to clear on 56 minutes when pulling one back and the tie looked to be swinging in the direction of Twente when Van der Vaart was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Roberto Rosales. However, Spurs benefitted from a generous handball decision to win a third penalty on 64 minutes, which Pavlyuchenko converted cooly. Gareth Bale added a fourth with five minutes remaining.

Despite a glut of goals from Spurs, it is Inter who occupy top spot in Group A thanks to a comprehensive 4-0 win over Werder Bremen in Italy.

The absence of Diego Milito due to injury afforded Samuel Eto'o the luxury of playing in his favoured role as a central striker, and the Cameroon international duly delivered with two clinical shots in the space of six minutes.

With the Bremen defence exposed on a regular basis, Wesley Sneijder broke through to add a third after 34 minutes with a dinked finish and Eto'o completed his hat-trick with nine minutes remaining when rounding Wiese and rolling the ball home.

In Wednesday night's early kick-off, Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at Rubin Kazan in a game of two penalties in Russia. The result means Rubin have now gone three games unbeaten against the Spanish champions, having taken four points off them in last season's group stage.

It was Rubin who took the lead after half an hour when Daniel Alves gave away a penalty with a clumsy foul. Christian Noboa scored from 12 yards although Victor Valdes got a touch to the ball. Barca had their own penalty on the hour mark when Andres Iniesta was tripped in the box and David Villa saw his spot-kick sneak in.

That result gave FC Copenhagen the chance to assume control of Group D following their 1-0 win over Rubin in matchday one, and the Danes did just that when beating Panathinaikos 2-0 in Greece.

N'Doye Diame opened the scoring after 28 minutes when he was set free by a ball over the top and with goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas inexplicably rushing off his line, the striker, who scored the winner against Rubin Kazan in Copenhagen's opening fixture, was left with an easy finish. Martin Vingaard added a second on 37 minutes and Pana lost midfielder Gilberto Silva to a straight red card after the break.

Lyon are top of Group B with a 100% record following a 3-1 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv. Brazil international Michel Bastos scored twice in the first half, the first from the penalty spot and the second a stunning effort, and although Hapoel 'keeper Vincent Enyeama pulled one back from another spot-kick, playmaker Miralem Pjanic sealed the victory in the dying seconds.

Schalke - who have had a terrible start to the season in Germany - secured an important 2-0 win at home to Benfica. Peruvian international Jefferson Farfan put Schalke in front when he controlled a cross at the back post and drilled his shot into the turf and past Roberto Gago after 73 minutes, before summer signing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar grabbed a second with five minutes remaining. Schalke and Benfica are now level on three points from two games.