Cristiano Ronaldo hit his second hat-trick in a week to give Real Madrid a convincing 4-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Real Madrid now top Group D with six points ahead of Borussia Dortmund with four points.
Manchester City are third in the Group of Death but were fortunate to gain a point against Dortmund.
An 89th minute Mario Balotelli penalty gave his side a valuable point in a 1-1 draw against the German Champions.
While Ronaldo will once more take the plaudits with another hat-trick, the goal of the night was Karim Benzema’s who put Real 2-1 up with a spectacular overhead kick.
Ronaldo scored in the 42nd, and added two more in the 79th and 81st minutes to seal the match after Niklas Moisander’s 56th minute header had made it 2-1 and briefly given Ajax hope. Ajax are pointless in their first two European outings this season.
|Champions League Results|
Wednesday October 3
Zenit St P’sbg 2-3 Milan
Ronaldo takes his Champions League career tally to 42 and his three goals provided a morale-boosting win for Madrid ahead of this weekend’s league clash with archrivals Barcelona.
Substitute Balotelli converted a late penalty as City escaped with a draw against Dortmund after being outplayed for long periods by the German side.
Dortmund defender Neven Subotic was adjudged to have deliberately handled a hooked shot by Sergio Aguero, and Balotelli nonchalantly rolled in the resulting spot kick with the match about to enter added time.
Marco Reus put Dortmund ahead in the 61st minute when he pounced on a sloppy pass from substitute Jack Rodwell to charge through on goal and beat goalkeeper Joe Hart, who kept City in the match with a string of superb saves.
“We didn’t play well. We didn’t deserve to take this point but in the end it could be important,” City manager Roberto Mancini said.
“I think that Joe Hart saved us.”
Seven-times European champions AC Milan needed a late own goal to beat Zenit St Petersburg 3-2 in an entertaining Champions League Group C match.
The Russians fought back from 2-0 down with two goals in four minutes to level before Milan scored the winner with 15 minutes remaining when a low Riccardo Montolivo shot hit Zenit defender Tomas Hubocan and slid into the near corner.
In the other Group C match, Malaga thrashed Anderlecht 3-0 to continue their terrific start to the season.
Malaga top the group with six points with Milan behind with four.
Arsenal are also on six points and lead Group B after a 3-1 win over Olympiakos.
The Gunners maintained their perfect start to the competition with goals from Gervinho, Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey.
Gervinho’s 43rd minute-opener was quickly cancelled out as Kostas Mitroglou headed the Greek champions level before halftime, but Arsenal were back in control after the break to ensure they stayed top.
Gervinho turned provider in the 56th, picking out Podolski in the penalty area and the German’s shot went straight through the legs of goalkeeper Balazs Megyeri.
“We didn’t play well. We didn’t deserve to take this point but in the end it could be important… I think Joe Hart saved us”
Man City boss Roberto Mancini
Ramsey made sure of the victory in stoppage time, dinking the ball over Megyeri as Arsenal made a lightning attack.
In the other Group B match, Schalke drew 2-2 with Montpellier. Souleymane Camara scored in the 90th minute to earn 10-man Montpellier a point and move the French side ahead of Olympiakos who lie bottom of the table.
FC Porto top Group A after a 1-0 win over Paris St Germain.
Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez picked up a loose ball and hit a curling left-foot shot into the far corner to break the deadlock in the 83rd minute of a game that produced few thrills.
Dinamo Zagreb are without a point in Group A after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Dynamo Kiev.
Dynamo Kiev midfielder Oleh Gusev found the net in the third minute and Dinamo Zagreb defender Josip Pivaric scored an own goal in the 33rd from Taye Taiwo’s cross into a crowded box.
New manager Oleh Blokhin signed a four-year contract at Kiev last month and will shortly relinquish his duties as Ukraine national team coach.