Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Draw for United after Basel comeback Tough times for both Manchester clubs in the European Champions League as Real Madrid breeze past Ajax.

Former Bayern Munich midfielder and now Basel manager Thorsten Fink puts all memories of the 1999 European Cup final - where United struck two late goals to win - behind him [GALLO/GETTY]

A last-minute equaliser by Ashley Young spared Manchester United from humiliation against FC Basel in the European Champions League on Tuesday, as Manchester City were outclassed 2-0 by Bayern Munich.
Leading 2-0 at half-time at Old Trafford, United found themselves 3-2 down after some calamitous defensive lapses and were staring at a devastating loss until Young headed home Nani's cross in the 90th minute.
There seemed little danger at the interval as the hosts led through two goals by Danny Welbeck, both created by the evergreen Ryan Giggs.
The Swiss champions punished United in the second half, however, with Fabian Frei slamming home following a corner in the 58th minute before his fine cross set up Alexander Frei to equalise with a header two minutes later.
Panicking, United saw Antonio Valencia clumsily concede a penalty for a foul on Marco Streller and Alexander Frei stepped up to claim his second goal from the penalty spot.
Thorsten Fink's men were minutes from an unforgettable upset, but United refused to accept defeat and equalised at the death when Young claimed his first goal in Europe's elite club competition.
The result left Basel level on points at the Group C summit with Benfica, who won 1-0 at Romanian competition debutants Otelul Galati, with United two points off the pace and without a win after two games.
Reality check
City are bidding to prove that owner Sheikh Mansour's massive investment has turned them into continental heavyweights, but they were given a reality check by a Bayern team that have now gone 10 games without conceding a goal.
The visit to Bayern's Allianz Arena, which will host the final on May 19, was billed as their first major test in this season's competition and Roberto Mancini's side found themselves 2-0 down by half-time.
City goalkeeper Joe Hart could count himself unfortunate for both goals.
In the 38rd minute he saved from Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller, only to see Mario Gomez slot home the rebound, and Gomez followed up in similar fashion in first-half injury time after Hart had blocked Daniel Van Buyten's header.
Results & Fixtures
Tuesday September 27
 Bayern 2-0 Man City
 CSKA Moscow 2-3 Inter
 Lyon 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb
 Man Utd 3-3 Basel
 Napoli 2-0 Villarreal
 Real Madrid 3-0 Ajax
 Otelul Galati 0-1 Benfica
 Trabzonspor 1-1 Lille

Wednesday September 28

Zenit v FC Porto
 AC Milan v Plzen
 Arsenal v Olympiakos
 BATE Borisov v Barcelona
 Bayer Leverkusen v Genk
 Marseille v Dortmund
 Shakhtar v Apoel Nicosia
 Valencia v Chelsea
The second half told a similar story, with only Hart keeping the score respectable, while there were angry exchanges on the City bench after Carlos Tevez refused to come on as a substitute when instructed to do so by Mancini.
The other Group A game saw Napoli beat Villarreal 2-0 through goals from Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani to leave the Italian side second in the group on four points, two points behind Bayern.
Real easy
Real Madrid breezed past Ajax in Group D, comfortably winning 3-0 over a team against whom they netted six unanswered goals in the group phase of last season's competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema were the goalscorers for Jose Mourinho's side, who lead the group by two points from Lyon after the French side overcame Dinamo Zagreb 2-0.
Claudio Ranieri's first Champions League assignment in charge of Inter Milan saw the 2010 champions win 3-2 at CSKA Moscow, with Mauro Zarate netting a 78th-minute winner after the hosts had hit back to level from 2-0 down.
"Our mental strength was the key to our success," said Ranieri.
"CSKA played very well but there can be only one winner, and today it was Inter."
Stunned 1-0 at home by Trabzonspor in their first game, Inter now sit a point behind the Turkish side in second place in Group B, after Lille were held to a 1-1 draw in Trabzon.