Milan win battle of titans; United pip CSKA

PARIS: A double from Alex Pato saw AC Milan win the battle of the European giants as they beat Real Madrid 3-2 in the Bernabeu for a crucial victory in their Champions League campaign.

Milan’s victory saw them draw level with Real in Group C. Both English clubs preserved their perfect records with Manchester United beating CSKA Moscow 1-0 in Moscow at the scene of where they beat Chelsea in the final last year. Antonio Valencia’s goal not only gave them their first ever European win over Russian opposition but also equalled Dutch giants Ajax’s Champions League record of 14 successive matches unbeaten away from home.

Chelsea had a much easier time trouncing Atletico Madrid side 4-0 with Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou scoring a double and Frank Lampard getting another. It was his first since August but more importantly was his 133rd for the club, pushing him one ahead of legend Jimmy Greaves in terms of all-time scorer for the London side. Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said he was pleased in the manner his side had responded to last weekend’s defeat by Aston Villa.

Valencia’s first Champions League goal for United was enough to garner them the three points and move alongside Ajax, leaving manager Sir Alex Ferguson purring at the feat. “We should be proud of it,” said Ferguson, who was returning to the ground where United beat Chelsea on penalties in the 2008 final. Real’s coach Manuel Pellegrini gracefully played down the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo as a reason for the defeat to Milan. “We had the game under control and it all changed suddenly in a few minutes,” said Pellegrini. “We need our best players and Cristiano (Ronaldo) is one of them but we didn’t lose because he wasn’t playing. We lost because we made defensive mistakes and got punished by an experienced Milan team.”

For Milan’s coach Leonardo it was a welcome filip in what has been a tough season thus far. “Of course I am really happy,” said the former Brazilian international midfielder. “It is highly satisfying for me to find solutions for the way we are playing on the pitch.”

The Bayern and Bordeaux clash in Group A was also a thriller which saw the French side come out 2-1 winners — whilst missing two penalties — and Bayern reduced to nine men. Victory saw Bordeaux go sole top of the Group, two points clear of Juventus, who recorded their first victory of the campaign with a scrappy 1-0 home win over Maccabi Haifa. Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc rued the two missed penalties but was still happy with the three points. “I thought beforehand we were going to play a big match, and we did. I’m very satisfied with my players, they showed their hunger in their mentality and in their attack. We saw a good Bordeaux this evening, the players gave everything and they respected what we said during the week — don’t forget the basics.”