PARIS, France, October 24 – Holders Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain were the biggest winners in the Champions League on Wednesday as Real Madrid and both Manchester clubs also recorded important victories.
Frenchman Franck Ribery scored a brace, including one from the penalty spot, while David Alaba, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Goetze were also on target as Pep Guardiola’s Bayern romped to a 5-0 home win against Czech champions Viktoria Pilsen, their eighth consecutive win in the competition.
The German outfit are three points clear at the top of Group D from Manchester City, the Premier League club who claimed a potentially crucial 2-1 win at CSKA Moscow earlier in the day.
City had fallen behind on a difficult pitch at the Arena Khimki when Zoran Tosic lobbed Joe Hart, but Sergio Aguero netted twice before the interval to turn the game on its head.
“It is an important win,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said after the game. “Now we have to play the next two games at home. I told the players that we had to make sure we didn’t lose this one. We are not in the next round yet but this was an important step.”
That game was also marred by reports of racist chanting from the home sections of the stadium directed towards City’s Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure.
“It is unbelievable and very, very sad. We want to stop that and UEFA have to be strong, maybe close the stadium,” Toure said.
PSG recorded their biggest European away win as they took Anderlecht apart in Brussels, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring four times and Edinson Cavani once in a 5-0 victory.
Ibrahimovic’s evening featured a hat-trick in the space of 19 first-half minutes, with his third goal a ferocious volley from 30 yards that brought many of the home supporters to their feet. And he now has nine goals in his last four games in all competitions.
“Scoring four goals in a game doesn’t happen every day,” said Ibrahimovic, who was touched at seeing the Anderlecht fans applaud his marvellous third goal.
“It was incredible, fantastic. I had goose pimples. It is a great honour.”
With Oscar Cardozo’s late equaliser earning Benfica a 1-1 draw at home against Olympiakos in Group C’s other, rain-hit, game, PSG are now five points clear at the top and in a position to clinch qualification when they meet Anderlecht at home next.
Despite Ibrahimovic’s feats, the competition’s top scorer is Cristiano Ronaldo, who took his tally for the season to seven with a brace in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win against Juventus at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo opened the scoring in the fourth minute and then scored what proved to be the winner just before the half-hour mark following an equaliser by Juve’s Spain striker Fernando Llorente.
Juve could not get back into the game after Giorgio Chiellini was sent off early in the second half, although Madrid captain Iker Casillas said the hosts struggled against the 10 men.
“After the sending-off they backed off and it was more difficult for us to create opportunities,” Casillas declared.
“But we have taken an important step towards qualifying with nine points in three games.”
Carlo Ancelotti’s side top Group B, while Juve are still without a win and lose second place to Galatasaray, for whom Felipe Melo, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba all scored in a 3-1 victory over FC Copenhagen.
Meanwhile, Manchester United remain in control of Group A, if only just, after a second-minute own-goal by Inigo Martinez gave them a 1-0 home win against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford.
“I thought we played well tonight. I thought we created opportunities,” said United manager David Moyes.
“It wouldn’t have been right if we hadn’t taken all three points tonight.”
United are a point clear of Bayer Leverkusen, who leapfrogged Shakhtar Donetsk into second place by beating the Ukrainians 4-0 in Germany.
Stefan Kiessling made headlines at the weekend with his now infamous ‘phantom goal’ in the Bundesliga, and here he scored twice, either side of a Simon Rolfes penalty and Sidney Sam’s effort to give Sami Hyypia’s men a fine victory.