| Cristiano Ronaldo after scoring the winner, on Tuesday |
Paris: A late goal by Cristiano Ronaldo saw Real Madrid grab a crucial morale-boosting 3-2 win over Manchester City in their Champions League opening encounter (as reported in Wednesday’s CM edition).
Ronaldo’s goal on Tuesday not only restored a big grin to the face of the player who has spent the first few weeks of the season saying he is sad but had Real coach Jose Mourinho celebrating as if it was the winning goal in the final itself.
It was also a good night for Mourinho’s fellow former Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti as his expensively-assembled French outfit Paris Saint Germain eased to a 4-1 home win over an unambitious Dynamo Kiev on what was the Parisian side’s return to the competition after an eight year hiatus.
There was to be no fairytale debut, though, for the team that pipped PSG to the title last season, Montpellier, as despite taking an early 1-0 lead they lost 2-1 at home to Arsenal.
Real deserved their win after dominating the match but still had to twice come from behind before Ronaldo’s shot somehow beat England goalkeeper Joe Hart to send the home crowd wild after a disappointing start to the league season had seen them already eight points adrift of bitter rivals Barcelona.
“I am really proud of my team tonight,” beamed Mourinho, who had assumed the blame for their poor start to La Liga. “I said to the players there is no shame in losing games like tonight’s when you battle like animals for 90 minutes.
“However, we won and what added to the pleasure was that when we scored the winner I saw the press in the stands pressing the delete button to recommence their match reports.”
Paris Saint Germain had their game wrapped up by half-time with goals by Zlatan Ibrahimovic — making him the first player to score for six different sides in the competition — Alex and Thiago Silva on his debut for the club.
Although Miguel Veloso got a goal back in the second-half PSG’s Argentinian marksman Javier Pastore restored the three goal lead shortly before the final whistle. “It was good, not just because of the result, but for us to have a performance like tonight is good for our confidence and for the atmosphere in the squad,” said Ancelotti, who like Mourinho has two Champions Leaguwe wins to his credit as a coach.
“It was important to win this game, but we can say nothing more than that because we have to play Porto (who beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0) next and that will not be easy.”
Malaga also had their three points in the bag by the break against Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg.
Goals by Alarcon Isco and veteran Argentinian Javier Saviola gave them a 2-0 lead and Isco rounded it off with a stunning second in the second-half to make the final score 3-0 against a desperately disappointing Russian side who will hope for more from multi-million dollar signing Hulk in their meaning matches.
Both sides can take heart from their group’s initial favourites AC Milan’s form as unlike Real they were unable to get a morale boosting result after a poor start to the Serie A campaign — drawing 0-0 at home to Anderlecht.