United troubles deepen as Madrid and Bayern grab tense wins
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 24, 2018 07:05 AM
ManU coach Jose Mourinho, center, and Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, right, leave the field at the end of the Champions League group H soccer match between Manchester United and Juventus at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
By James Ellingworth, Associated Press
Even as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich returned to winning ways, Manchester United's troubles only deepened.
After again failing to arrive on time by bus for a Champions League game — except for Jose Mourinho, who walked from his hotel — United seemed stuck in a lower gear than Juventus in a 1-0 loss as Cristiano Ronaldo made a winning return to Old Trafford.
That leaves United with just one win from its last seven games as Mourinho's men struggle to make much headway on the roads or on the field.
Another embattled coach earned an unconvincing win as Julen Lopetegui's Real Madrid finally registered its first win since Sept. 22, though it was only 2-1 against Viktoria Plzen and there's a "clasico" against Barcelona coming up on Sunday. Bayern continued to steady the ship after ending a four-game winless run last week, beating a gritty AEK Athens team 2-0.
The game between Roma and CSKA Moscow was overshadowed by an incident that left 20 people injured — most of them visiting fans — after an escalator broke in Rome. Videos showed they were traveling on an escalator which accelerated, causing passengers to pile up at the bottom. Italian officials said seven sustained serious injuries.
ALL EYES ON RONALDO
He didn't score — though it needed a spectacular save from David de Gea to stop him — but Ronaldo was the focus of attention for Juventus against United.
Ronaldo was approached by three fans who got onto the field in two separate incidents, and took a selfie with two of them.
Paulo Dybala's goal and some tough defending helped Juventus become the only team in the Champions League so far to win all its opening three games, and potentially a contender to win the trophy for the first time in 22 years. United almost had a way back when Paul Pogba hit the post with a curling shot.
The other two teams in Group H, Valencia and Young Boys, looked very much like they're playing for third place in a 1-1 draw which saw Guillaume Hoarau score the first-ever group-stage goal for Swiss champion Young Boys.
It's not often that Real Madrid fans have to wait a month for a win, but that's what it took.
Still, beating Plzen 2-1 wasn't enough to stop the home fans from booing.
The Czech team forced its way back into the game from 2-0 down thanks to Patrik Hrosovsky's 79th-minute goal, leaving Madrid to cling on for the three points.
Karim Benzema and Marcelo had earlier scored for Madrid, whose win shores up its position in Group G, level with leader Roma on six points.
Roma won 3-0 against its Russian visitors. Edin Dzeko scored twice for the hosts as CSKA failed to replicate the incisive attacks which gave it a win over Madrid in its last European fixture.
CITY IN CHARGE
Manchester City has bounced back in style after losing to Lyon in its opening Champions League fixture.
Tuesday's 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk made it seven games unbeaten since the Lyon match, six of them victories for Pep Guardiola and his team.
Shakhtar was no trouble for City as David Silva and Aymeric Laporte made it 2-0 by halftime before Bernardo Silva finished the job in the 71st. City could have turned the game into a rout if other chances had gone its way — David Silva hit the post and Riyad Mahrez narrowly missed three good chances.
City is top of Group F thanks to Joelinton's stoppage-time equalizer for Hoffenheim against Lyon. The French team has five points, one less than City, while Shakhtar and Hoffenheim have two each.
After the stumble of a four-game winless run in late September and early October, Bayern continued to steady the ship with its second win in a row.
Javi Martinez and Robert Lewandowski scored twice in as many minutes after Bayern finally broke down AEK's tenacious defense midway through the second half.
That leaves Bayern joint top of Group E with Ajax, which continues to shine in its first Champions League group stage campaign for four years.
Benfica had chances to win in Amsterdam, but it was Ajax's Noussair Mazraoui who scored the only goal of the game in stoppage time to leave Ajax on seven points. Benfica has three, while AEK is all but out of contention after three defeats.