x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Milan stunned by Zurich as Real Madrid, Man Utd and Chelsea win

A home defeat for the seven-times European champions contrasted with victories for most of the other big names in the Champions League.

AC Milan, seven times European champions, suffered a stunning 1-0 home defeat by FC Zurich in the Champions League on Wednesday, piling the pressure on the team's, coach, Leonardo. There were no such problems for the other big guns as Real Madrid, helped by two more goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United and Chelsea all secured victories while Bayern Munich drew 0-0 at home with Juventus. Milan won at Olympique Marseille in their group opener but have had a tough time domestically under their new manager, with goals very hard to come by. It was the same story on Wednesday with a sparse San Siro crowd whistling derision at their side's blunt efforts.

Their big names were shown up by the clever mid-air back-heel of the unmarked Finnish centre-back Hannu Tihinen that put the Swiss side Zurich on the way to a famous victory after 10 minutes. Substitute Gianluca Zambrotta hit a post for Milan in stoppage time but an equaliser would have merely papered over the cracks from another poor display by the 2007 champions. "To concede a goal like that after 10 minutes complicates the game," Leonardo told a news conference.

"There are not a lot of ways to change it, we've got to be more compact. I've taken this job and I'm doing what I believe. No one put a gun to my head to take the role. We move forward. If we lose, we lose." Both Milan and Zurich have three points and Real Madrid top Group C on six after two more goals from the red-hot Ronaldo helped them to a 3-0 home victory over Marseille. It took Real almost an hour to break through but they did so emphatically with three goals in six minutes.

Ronaldo opened the scoring and was awarded a fortunate penalty converted by Kaka before the Portuguese winger got the third to make it nine for the season since his move from Manchester United. His former club are managing all right without him, although the Premier League leaders had to come from behind to beat VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 at Old Trafford. The Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko headed the lively German champions into the lead 10 minutes into the second half but 35-year-old Ryan Giggs levelled with a deflected free kick.

United, looking inventive around the box after a sluggish start, clinched victory 12 minutes from time with a crisp shot by midfielder Michael Carrick. United manager Alex Ferguson said of the evergreen Giggs: ""All the praise he's had over the years - there's nothing to add, he's an absolutely marvellous player." United top Group B with six points. Wolfsburg have three, as do CSKA Moscow after their 2-1 home win over Besiktas.

Chelsea produced a repeat of their first group game, as a solitary goal by Nicolas Anelka was enough to win 1-0 at APOEL Nicosia. The French striker, who got the only goal against Porto at Stamford Bridge, was on target after 18 minutes, but Chelsea did little else against the Group D outsiders. Porto bounced back well with a 2-0 home win over Atletico Madrid to leave the fancied Spaniards up against it with just a point after two games.

Bayern Munich missed an opportunity to take early command of Group A when they wasted a stack of chances in their goalless home draw with Juventus. The draw took Bayern to four points and left Juve on two following their opening draw with Girondins Bordeaux. The French champions are also on four after Michael Ciani's 83rd-minute header was enough to beat Maccabi Haifa 1-0 following an unimpressive display.

* Reuters