x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Anelka sinks Porto as Chelsea win group

Chelsea guarantee their progress in the Champions League while Manchester United are beaten at home.

Nicolas Anelka, left, celebrates scoring his 69th minute header with Didier Drogba.
Nicolas Anelka, left, celebrates scoring his 69th minute header with Didier Drogba.

PORTO // Nicolas Anelka's second-half header earned Chelsea a 1-0 win against Porto today and guaranteed the English side will win Champions League Group D with one match still remaining. The goal came from a simple move in the 69th minute. With the Porto defenders static, Yuri Zhirkov fed Florent Malouda on the left wing and the Frenchman crossed for his compatriot Anelka to head in unchallenged.

Anelka was a threat throughout and created the first chance on 15 minutes with a powerful shot that Beto blocked with some difficulty. Porto, who like Chelsea had already qualified for the last 16, responded with Argentine midfielder Fernando Belluschi forcing a save from Petr Cech. Striker Radamel Falcao pounced on the rebound but also sent his shot straight at the keeper. The influential Belluschi had the best chance of a mostly tame first half on 29 minutes, sending a shot crashing against Cech's bar.

The Premier League leaders showed more intent at the start of the second half and playmaker Deco almost netted against his former club on 52 minutes, collecting Rolando's flawed clearance but shooting just wide. Manchester United's 23-match unbeaten home record in the Champions League stretching back to 2005 was ended by Besiktas who won 1-0 at Old Trafford. Rodrigo Tello netted the only goal for the Turkish side after 20 minutes with a shot from distance. United, who had already qualified for the last 16, piled forward in search of an equaliser but were denied by some fine saves by Rustu Recber. AC Milan were the last side to win at Old Trafford in the competition when they won 1-0 in the first knockout round in February 2005.

Porto drove forward in search of an equaliser, but substitute forwards Hulk and Ernesto Farias were unable to trouble a composed Chelsea backline. Chelsea have 13 points from five matches with Porto on nine. Atletico Madrid have three and APOEL Nicosia have two. Two second-half headers helped Girondins Bordeaux retain top spot in Champions League Group A with a 2-0 home win over Juventus on Wednesday.

The French champions, who have already qualified for the knockout stage, have 13 points, five ahead of second-placed Juve with a game to spare. Juventus, who suffered their first defeat in the group stage this season, will join Bordeaux in the knockout phase if they do not lose at home to Bayern Munich in their next game. "Our fate is still in our hands. We didn't play a good game tonight but that doesn't ruin our chances to qualify," Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara told reporters. * Reuters

Group A Bordeaux (France) 2, Juventus (Italy) 0 Bayern Munich (Germany) 1, Maccabi Haifa (Israel) 0 Group B CSKA Moscow (Russia) 2, Wolfsburg (Germany) 1 Manchester United (England) 0, Besiktas (Turkey) 1 Group C Real Madrid (Spain) 1, FC Zurich (Switzerland) 0 AC Milan (Italy) 1, Marseille (France) 1 Group D FC Porto (Portugal) 0, Chelsea (England) 1 APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus) 1, Atletico Madrid (Spain) 1

* AP