Plain sailing for reigning champs Bayern

Man City, Man United, Real and Bayern Munch all record impressive opening wins in group stages of Champions League.

    Plain sailing for reigning champs Bayern
    Munich's David Alaba (C) celebrates with teammates Jerome Boateng (L) and Dante after scoring opener [EPA]

    Pep Guardiola enjoyed a winning start in his first Champions League match as Bayern Munich coach as the title-holders saw off CSKA Moscow 3-0 on Tuesday.

    Goals by left-back David Alaba, striker Mario Mandzukic and Dutch winger Arjen Robben sealed a convincing win as the defending champions opened their Group D campaign at Munich's Allianz Arena.

    "We played well, we controlled the game with our pressing and I am proud of the players," said Guardiola.

    "People think it'll be easy for us this year having won the title last season, but that's not how it is."

    Austria's Alaba was outstanding throughout, hitting a pin-point free-kick for the opening goal, then playing a deft chip over the Moscow defence for Robben to slam home Bayern's third.

    After Jupp Heynckes led Bayern to the treble of Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League last season, Guardiola has been under pressure to continue that success since taking charge in June.

    Champions League results 

    Tuesday September 17

     Bayern Munich 3-0 CSKA 
     Benfica 2-0 Anderlecht
     FC Copenhagen 1-1 Juve
     Galatasaray 1-6 Real Madrid
     Man Utd 4-1 B. Leverkusen
     Olympiacos 1-4 PSG
     Real Sociedad 0-2 S Donetsk
     Vik Plzen 0-3 Man City 

    After winning 14 titles in four years at Barcelona - including the 2009 and 2011 Champions League titles - the Spaniard has been the centre of much hype since his arrival in Bavaria. 

    Having changed Bayern's formation, Guardiola has won four of his five Bundesliga games so far, despite missing stars Javi Martinez, Thiago Alcantara and Mario Goetze through injury.

    This was arguably Bayern's most polished performance at home this season, even with vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger starting on the bench as he recovers from an ankle strain.

    It was a good start for the champions ahead of their next group stage match at Manchester City on October 2, the same night CSKA host Czech champions Viktoria Pilsen in Moscow.

    Three goals within ten second-half minutes handed Man City an easy 3-0 Champions League win over Czech title-holders Viktoria Pilsen.

    Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko scored in the 48th minute with a low shot past  helpless Pilsen keeper Matus Kozacik after being set up by Sergio Aguero. Five minutes later, Yaya Toure sent a superb curling shot from outside the  box into the top corner of Kozacik's goal.

    Another five minutes passed and Aguero, a constant threat for the injury-plagued Pilsen defence, made it 3-0 with a low left-footed strike. 

    "The first half was tricky. We had chances to score then I scored in the second half and after that it was easier for us," Dzeko said.

    "I hope we'll see the real Manchester City because the last two years were disappointing for the fans and the club," he told Sky Sports.

    "The target is going into the second round but we know it's always difficult."

    There were also convincing wins for Real Madrid, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick in a 6-1 victory at Galatasaray, and Man United, who ended up 4-2 winners over Bayern Leverkusen. Wayne Rooney netted twice to chalk up his 200th goal for Man United, Robin van Persie continued his scoring spree and Antonio Valencia made it four. 

    Two-time Italian champions Juventus came from behind to draw 1-1 at Copenhagen.

    Juventus had 23 attempts on goal to Copenhagen's eight.

    "We're very disappointed," Juve striker Fabio Quagliarella said.

    "We lost two points tonight. We missed too many opportunities to score."


    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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