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Atletico return to action in style
Atletico Madrid back with a win as we round up Champions League Groups C and D.
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2008 22:38 GMT

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates his penalty with Dirk Kuyt [GALLO/GETTY]

High-scoring matches in Groups C and D saw Liverpool beat Marseille in France and Atletico Madrid win their first Champions League fixture in 11 years, while Barcelona got back to winning ways and Shakhtar Donetsk beat FC Basle.

Barcelona are the early leaders in Group C after beating Sporting Lisbon 3-1, with Atletico top in Group D after their 3-0 win at PSV Eindhoven.

Gerrard wins it

Two first-half goals by Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool a 2-1 win at Olympique
Marseille in their opening Champions League Group D match.

Marseille opened the scoring 23 minutes into a lively game when captain Lorik Cana beat an offside trap to collect an astute lob over the Liverpool defence by fellow midfielder Benoit Cheyrou and hit low past Pepe Reina.

Midfielder Gerrard put Liverpool level with a splendid goal three minutes later, latching on to a Dirk Kuyt pass from the right and firing into the top corner from the edge of the box.

The Liverpool captain then gave his side the lead from a penalty which he had to take twice on 31 minutes. The visitors were awarded the spot-kick after Ryan Babel was brought down in the area by Marseille defender Ronald Zubar.

Liverpool keeper Reina kept the score at 2-1 with a series of fine second-half saves.

"Reina was the real hero tonight... we were under pressure for 45 minutes. We stopped playing in the second half," said Gerrard.

"As a team we weren't good enough, other than the back five. But the important thing is to get results when you are not playing well."

Barca winning again

Xavi turns away after scoring [AFP]
Barcelona rediscovered their scoring touch to beat Sporting Lisbon 3-1 in Group C at the Nou Camp.

Pep Guardiola's side had failed to win in their last three matches, scoring just once from the penalty spot coming into the game, but Rafael Marquez headed them in front midway through the first half.

Striker Samuel Eto'o doubled the lead by converting a penalty on the hour but Barca looked vulnerable when Sporting's Tonel pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute.

Xavi settled Barca's nerves and sealed the points for the home side with a well-worked goal three minutes from time.

"A win was all we were missing. This will help give us confidence now," Eto'o told Spanish television station Antena 3.

Back with a bang

Atletico Madrid celebrated their first Champions League match in 11 years with
an impressive 3-0 away win over PSV Eindhoven in Group D.

The Spaniards dominated the match from the start with Argentina striker Sergio Aguero scoring twice in the first half to give them a comfortable advantage at the break.

PSV never troubled the visitors throughout and were restricted to long range efforts.

Atletico settled the match nine minutes into the second half when Maniche added a third goal to put his team on top of the group.

Shakh-attack in Switzerland

Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk made a convincing start to their Group C campaign with a comfortable 2-1 win at FC Basle.

Seeking to make it past the tournament's group stage for the first time in five attempts, Mircea Lucescu's side took control of the match in the first half with two long-range free-kicks from Brazilian midfielders Fernandinho and Jadson.

Basle coach Christian Gross made two half-time substitutions including the introduction of an extra striker but it was the visitors who continued to dominate.

Defender Vyacheslav Shevchuk came close to adding a third goal with another long range effort that came back off the post before Basel's Argentine defender David Abraham turned in a consolation goal with seconds of stoppage time remaining.

Source:
Agencies
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