Real shine under Ramos; Manchester held in Champions League

December 11th, 2008 - 12:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bayern MunichHamburg, Dec 11 (DPA) Real Madrid powered to a 3-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg under new coach Juande Ramos while Bayern Munich and Porto also enjoyed wins in the Champions League.European champions Manchester United were meanwhile held 2-2 by Danish visitors Aalborg, while Fiorentina and Dynamo Kiev clinched wins Wednesday to go into the UEFA Cup.

Real’s convincing win, a day after Ramos was appointed to replace the sacked Bernd Schuster, was not enough to overtake Juventus at the top of Group H where the Serie A side played out a goalless draw at BATE Borisov.

However it was an important psychological boost ahead of a league showdown at leaders Barcelona Saturday.

Manchester United were meanwhile held on to top spot in Group E ahead of Spain’s Villareal who slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Scotland’s Celtic.

Elsewhere, victories for Bayern Munich, who edged Olympique Lyon 3-2, and Porto, who downed Arsenal 2-0, ensured they both finished group winners.

With qualification places already taken for the last-16 knockout stage, the evening’s action focused on the final group placings and the two UEFA Cup places still at stake for third-placed teams.

Italy’s Fiorentina clinched third spot behind Bayern Munich and Lyon in Group F thanks to a 1-0 win at Steaua Bucharest, while Dynamo Kiev were 1-0 winners over Fenerbahce for third place in Group G.

The following teams go into the last-16 draw on December 19: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Villareal, Atletico Madrid (all Spain), Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea (all England), Juventus, Inter Milan, Roma (all Italy), Porto, Sporting Lisbon (both Portugal), Bayern Munich (Germany), Olympique Lyon (France), Panathinaikos (Greece).

Qualified for the UEFA Cup from the Champions League are: Werder Bremen, Fiorentina, Girondins Bordeaux, Olympique Marseille, Aalborg, Dynamo Kiev, Zenit St Petersburg and Shakhtar Donetsk.

At Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo paraded the Ballon d’Or trophy before Manchester United’s Champions League tie against Aalborg.

The Portuguese international, who missed the match with a hip injury, then saw United get off to a brisk start when Carlos Tevez netted in the third minute.

But Sir Alex Ferguson’s much-changed side went into half-time 2-1 down after Michael Jakobsen levelled in the 32nd minute and Jeppe Curth headed a second just before the break.

Wayne Rooney got United on level terms seven minutes after the interval but the Danish outfit - already assured of a UEFA Cup place - held on for the draw against a below-par United.

The results left United top of the group on 10 points, one ahead of Villareal.

Fellow Premier League side Arsenal went down 2-0 at Porto who leapfrogged the Gunners to finish top of Group G.

Arsene Wenger, in his 700th game in charge, saw his youthful line-up concede defeat to a 38th-minute header from a corner from Bruno Alves and a 54th-minute strike from Lisandro Lopez to leave Porto on 12 points to Arsenal’s 11.

Ramos got off to a perfect start in charge of Real Madrid as the Spanish champions downed Zenit St Petersburg 3-0.

Raul scored in each half either side of an Arjen Robben goal to put Real level on 12 points with Juventus who were held 0-0 by BATE Borisov but win Group H on the head-to-head rule.

Raul converted from close range in the 25th minute after keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev dropped a cross, and Robben cleverly lobbed the keeper five minutes after the break to increase the lead.

The Dutch winger then provided the pass to Raul who finished with a similar chipped shot over Malafeev seven minutes later.

Miroslav Klose bagged a brace and France midfielder Franck Ribery was also on target as German champions Bayern Munich bagged a 3-2 win at Olympique Lyon to claim top spot in Group F.

Bayern were in charge after goals from Klose in the 12th and 37th minutes and Ribery in the 34th, but the French champions responded with goals from Sidney Govou in the 52nd and Karim Benzema in the 68th.

Bayern finish with 14 points, three ahead of Lyon, with Fiorentina ending on six points after a 1-0 win at Steaua Bucharest, Alberto Gilardino heading the winner in the 66th minute.

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