| Dortmund players celebrate their victory over Real Madrid, on Wednesday |
Paris: European football’s big reputations counted for nothing on Wednesday as Real Madrid, AC Milan, Manchester City and Arsenal all lost in the Champions League, while Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb.
Nine-time European champion Real Madrid lost 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund; seven-time champion Milan’s woeful season continued with a 1-0 loss at Malaga, while City blew a 1-0 lead on the way to a 3-1 defeat at Ajax, and Arsenal were humbled by a 2-0 home loss to German club Schalke.
“I prepared the players badly for this game,” City manager Roberto Mancini said. “This defeat is my fault.”
The day after Manchester United scraped a 3-2 win at home to Braga, the erratic form of Premier League teams was again thrust into the spotlight with City conceding sloppy goals and Arsenal’s misfiring forwards being given a lesson in clinical finishing by Schalke.
Madrid defended in numbers but fell behind to Robert Lewandowski’s goal late in the first half, but the lead lasted barely a minute with Cristiano Ronaldo equalizing from a deft lob.
Defender Marcel Schmelzer scored Dortmund’s winner to extend Madrid’s terrible record in Germany. The Spanish side has now lost 17 of 24 games in Germany against a German opponent — and the only win was a 3-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen in 2000.
“It’s a sensational evening, such as you can only imagine in your wildest dreams,” Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said.
Dortmund top Group D with seven points, one more than Madrid. Ajax have three points, while City have one and are in real danger of a second consecutive group-stage exit.
“It was an incredibly difficult game. We also had chances to win,” Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said.
Midfielder Samir Nasri gave City the lead after being set up by James Milner, but Ajax hit back with goals from striker Siem de Jong, defender Niklas Moisander and silky midfielder Christian Eriksen.
“We were able to play our own game,” Ajax coach Frank de Boer said. “With our wingbacks we were dominant, and they couldn't find an answer for that.”
Before the match, police riding horses dispersed numerous fans as they were about to fight and 25 people were detained.
Milan, who lost their past two Serie A matches to drop to 15th place in the standings, got one reprieve but not a second as Joaquin Sanchez made up for a penalty miss by scoring the second-half winner. The Spanish side are in control of Group C with nine points.
“Nobody imagined this. We didn’t know what would happen each morning and look at what’s happening now,” Joaquin said. “I think all of Malaga made history today. Milan’s not in its best moment but it’s still a top club.”
Milan are still in a decent position to qualify as it has four points, one more than Zenit St Petersburg, who beat Anderlecht 1-0 at home thanks to Alexander Kerzhakov’s second-half penalty — his 200th career goal. Anderlecht are last with one point.
Arsenal, meanwhile, did little to suggest they can challenge for an elusive trophy this season — at least not in the Champions League.
Arsene Wenger’s team, without a trophy since 2005, meekly lost 1-0 away to Norwich last weekend, and Netherlands internationals Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay scored late goals as Schalke outclassed Arsenal to move top of Group B.
“We haven’t played anything like we can... we lack confidence on the ball for some reason,” said Arsenal assistant coach Steve Bould, who took charge while manager Arsene Wenger completed his three-match touchline ban.
Arsenal’s last home loss in the group stage of the competition came against Inter Milan in September 2003.
Wednesday: Group A: Paris Saint-Germain 2 Dinamo Zagreb 0; FC Porto 3 Dynamo Kiev 2
Group B: Schalke 04 2 Arsenal 0; Olympiakos 2 Montpellier 1
Group C: Zenit St Petersburg 1 Anderlecht 0; Malaga 1 AC Milan 0
Group D: Ajax Amsterdam 3 Manchester City 1; Borussia Dortmund 2 Real Madrid 1
Tuesday: Group E: FC Nordsjślland 1 Juventus 1; Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Chelsea 1
Group F: Valencia 3 BATE Borisov 0; Bayern Munich 1 Lille 0
Group G: Spartak Moscow 2 Benfica 1; Barcelona 2 Celtic 1
Group H: Galatasaray 1 CFR Cluj-Napoca 1; Manchester United 3 Braga 2