Chelsea’s woes con­tinue, Ar­se­nal lose again

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY JAMES ELLING­WORTH

Jose Mour­inho’s sea­son took another turn for the worse on a night of sur­prises in the Cham­pi­ons League.

With Chelsea floun­der­ing in 14th in the English Premier League, a win at Porto on Tues­day would have been a much-needed boost, but in­stead Mour­inho watched a 2-1 de­feat at the hands of the club he led to the Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle in 2004.

Mour­inho said his team paid the price for “two ridicu­lous mis­takes” in de­fense as Yacine Brahimi and Maicon’s goals pow­ered the Por­tuguese team to vic­tory.

Ar­se­nal fared no bet­ter than its Lon­don ri­val, los­ing 3-2 at home to Olympiakos. That leaves Ar­se­nal bot­tom of Group F with rapidly shrink­ing hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the knock­out stages. Another sur­prise was in store in Be­larus, where BATE Borisov up­set Roma 3-2.

How­ever, Barcelona pulled off a dra­matic es­cape to avoid de­feat against Bayer Lev­erkusen, scor­ing in the 80th and 82nd min­utes to turn de­feat into a 2-1 home vic­tory.

“We are the Euro­pean cham­pi­ons and we knew that in the sec­ond half we had to show it,” said Luis Suarez, who scored the win­ner.

Here is a look at Tues­day’s Cham­pi­ons League matches.

Group E

Barcelona’s dra­matic come­back was achieved with­out Lionel Messi, who is set to miss two months with a torn knee lig­a­ment, and the team’s in­jury wor­ries grew when An­dres Ini­esta was forced off in the sec­ond half with an ap­par­ent thigh in­jury.

Sergi Roberto poked in the re­bound of a strike by fel­low sub­sti­tute Mu­nir El Had­dadi to equal­ize in the 80th, and two min­utes later El Had­dadi passed for Luis Suarez to drive in the win­ner, send­ing Barcelona top of the group.

Lev­erkusen out­played the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons for an hour and looked set to take re­venge for its 7-1 loss last time the Ger­man side vis­ited Camp Nou in 2012 when Messi scored a record five goals.

De­fender Kyr­i­akos Pa­padopou­los scored the opener in the 22nd, but Lev­erkusen faded late and didn’t have the legs to keep up with Barcelona’s re­in­force­ments.

Also in Group E on Tues­day, BATE Borisov beat Roma 3-2.

BATE was widely ex­pected to be a se­rial loser in Group E, but two goals from left-back Filip Mlade­n­ovic pow­ered the Be­laru­sian team to a sur­prise vic­tory. Roma staged a sec­ond-half come­back with goals from Gerv­inho and Vasilis Toro­sidis, but was de­nied a point when Alessan­dro Florenzi’s shot hit the cross­bar late on.

Barcelona rose to the top of the group with four points, fol­lowed by Lev­erkusen and BATE Borisov with three each. Roma is last with one point.

Group F

A goal­keep­ing blun­der by David Ospina helped Olympiakos beat Ar­se­nal 3-2, leav­ing the Gun­ners in real dan­ger of its first group-stage exit in 16 years.

Ospina fum­bled a cor­ner over his line to give the visi­tors a 2-1 first-half lead, and sub­sti­tute Al­fred Finnbo­ga­son scored the win­ner in the 66th minute — al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter Alexis Sanchez had drawn Ar­se­nal level.

Ar­se­nal, which has ad­vanced past the first group stage ev­ery year since 2001, has now lost both its open­ing games — and still has two meet­ings with Group F leader Bay­ern Mu­nich to come. Bay­ern beat Di­namo Za­greb 5-0 to take a tight grip on first place in the group.

“It leaves us in a bad po­si­tion, but we are still in it,” Ar­se­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger said. “We have to make a re­sult in our next game against Bay­ern at home. We are not out of it.” Wenger rested first-choice goal­keeper Petr Cech, just as in the open­ing 2-1 loss at Di­namo.

In Mu­nich, Di­namo never came close to re­peat­ing that vic­tory in a one-sided game. Bay­ern was up by four goals af­ter 28 min­utes in a com­fort­able win that saw a hat trick for Robert Le­wandowski and goals for Dou­glas Costa and Mario Gotze.

Group G

Chelsea’s mis­er­able start to the sea­son opened a new chap­ter as it lost top spot in Group G with a 2-1 de­feat at FC Porto.

Jose Mour­inho’s for­mer club went ahead in the 39th when Yacine Brahimi beat Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill on the left, with goal­keeper As­mir Be­govic push­ing away Brahimi’s shot only as far as An­dre An­dre who fired a first-time volley into the net.

Wil­lian lev­eled with a curl­ing free-kick in first-half added time as Iker Casil­las, mak­ing a com­pe­ti­tion record 152nd ap­pear­ance, didn’t even move.

Maicon sealed it in the 52nd, putting the Por­tuguese club level with group leader Dy­namo Kiev on four points, one ahead of Chelsea, which is also strug­gling in the Premier League.

In Is­rael, Dy­namo cruised to a 2-0 win over Mac­cabi Tel Aviv, which is yet to score a goal in this sea­son’s group stage. An­driy Yar­molenko put the Ukrainian team ahead in the fourth minute, be­fore Ju­nior Mo­raes struck five min­utes

into the sec­ond half.

Group H

Hulk de­liv­ered a man of the match per­for­mance as Zenit St. Peters­burg made it two wins from two matches in Group H with a 2-1 de­feat of Gent.

Hulk had two as­sists while Artem Dzyuba scored his first Cham­pi­ons League goal and Oleg Sha­tov notched the win­ner.

Mean­while, Va­len­cia got its cam- paign back on track with a 1-0 win at Lyon fol­low­ing an open­ing home loss to Zenit.

Midfielder Thomas Mat­ton scored his fourth goal in three games for Gent, equal­iz­ing in the 56th minute, but Sha­tov ended Gent’s 12-game un­beaten start to the sea­son.

Zenit re­mains on top of Group H with six points, three more than Va­len­cia. Lyon and Gent have one point.

In Lyon, Sofi­ane Feghouli’s pow- er­ful strike in the 42nd minute was left unan­swered de­spite the hosts’ heavy pres­sure in the sec­ond half. But a lack of cut­ting edge and two ex­cel­lent saves from Va­len­cia keeper Jaume Domenech sealed Lyon’s fate.

Lyon could have taken the lead in the 27th minute when Mathieu Val­buena’s curled free kick forced Domenech to tip the ball onto his post. Va­len­cia also hit the wood­work twice be­fore the in­ter­val.

2. Olympiakos’ Al­fred Finnbo­ga­son, cen­ter, cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing his side’s third goal dur­ing the Cham­pi­ons League Group F soc­cer match be­tween Ar­se­nal and Olympiakos at Emi­rates sta­dium in Lon­don, Tues­day. 3. Barcelona’s Luis Suarez, bot­tom, cel­e­brates with his team­mates af­ter scor­ing the sec­ond goal dur­ing a Cham­pi­ons League Group E soc­cer match be­tween Barcelona and Bayer Lev­erkusen at Camp Nou sta­dium in Barcelona, Spain, Tues­day.

AP

1. Chelsea’s Ramires, cen­ter, jumps for the ball dur­ing the Cham­pi­ons League group G soc­cer match be­tween FC Porto and Chelsea FC at the Dra­gao sta­dium in Porto, Por­tu­gal, Tues­day, Sept. 29.

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