Thu, Oct 25, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Shahktar stun Chelsea as Barca, United salvage wins

UNDERDOGS THAT BITE:Shakhtar were not intimidated by the champions, scoring after only three minutes, while Barcelona and United came from behind to avoid upsets

Reuters, LONDON

Manchester United’s Mexican forward Javier Hernandez, right, scores past SC Braga’s Portuguese goalkeeper Beto during their UEFA Champions League Group H soccer match in Manchester, England, on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Shakhtar Donetsk led the way for the Champions League underdogs as they beat holders Chelsea 2-1 while former European champions FC Barcelona and Manchester United came from behind to maintain perfect starts on Tuesday.

Danish debutants FC Nordsjaelland were within nine minutes of a memorable win over Juventus before having to settle for a 1-1 draw while last season’s beaten finalists Bayern Munich bounced back from a shock defeat by BATE Borisov on Matchday Two to beat LOSC Lille Metropole 1-0 in France.

A year to the day since Chelsea captain John Terry racially insulted Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers, for which he is now serving a four-match domestic ban, he is eligible to play in Europe, but could not stop Shakhtar scoring after three minutes.

He failed to clear a pass to Alex Teixeira who took advantage of poor defending to angle a shot past Chelsea’s Petr Cech, who then made several fine saves to keep the score down.

Fernandinho doubled the home side’s lead after halftime before Oscar became the third Brazilian to score in the match with a late consolation for the well-beaten visitors.

“We are not afraid of playing against teams like Chelsea,” Shakhtar’s Romanian manager Mircea Lucescu said. “I think we deserved this victory — we created many more opportunities and the score could have been 4-1. Cech had an extraordinary game tonight. Maybe Chelsea started a bit too relaxed.”

Roberto Di Matteo, whose Chelsea side lost their first Champions League game since he became manager in March, said: “Shakhtar have a good track record at home, particularly against the English teams.”

The result left the Ukrainian side at the top of Group E with seven points, three more than Chelsea. Juventus have three and Nordsjaelland one.

Juve have now drawn their last nine European matches and salvaged a point when Mirko Vucinic equalized nine minutes from time. Nordsjaelland, ahead through a 50th-minute Mikkel Beckmann goal, at least hung on for their first point in the competition.

“That was a fantastic achievement, but I think we can get even better,” Nordsjaelland manager Kasper Hjulmand told TV 3Plus.

Unlike Chelsea, who failed to come back after falling behind, Barcelona, European champions three times in the past seven seasons, did just that.

However, they needed a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time from Jordi Alba to beat Celtic 2-1 after the 1967 European champions had taken the lead at the Camp Nou through Javier Mascherano’s own goal after 18 minutes, before Andres Iniesta’s brilliantly-worked equalizer just before halftime.

Alba told Spanish TV he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

“It was a move involving the whole team and I just had the good fortune to be in the right place,” he said. “I don’t know what the Celtic players eat, but they are very powerful in the air, in defense as well as attack.”

Barca lead Group G with nine points from three wins, ahead of Celtic on four, while Spartak Moscow have moved on to three points after their first win of the campaign, 2-1 at home to Benfica, thanks to Jardel’s own goal.

Manchester United avoided an upset at Old Trafford, coming from behind to beat Braga 3-2 after being 2-0 down inside the first 20 minutes as Alan found the key to unlocking United’s defense with two crisp finishes.

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