| Galatasaray’s Brazilian midfielder Felipe shoots past Barcelona’s Carles Puyol during their Champions League group H match in Istanbul on Wednesday. The Spanish team won 2-0. (Reuters)
Paris: Italian sides, keen to end a six-year barren spell in the Champions League, threw down the gauntlet to rampant Spain on Tuesday as Juventus and AC Milan went goal-crazy in most un-Italian manner.
Juventus are nicknamed the Old Lady but they looked more than sprightly in crushing an outclassed Dynamo Kiev 5-0 in Turin, while Milan shocked a Deportivo la Coruna side good enough to win in Munich a week earlier, thrashing the shell-shocked Spaniards 4-0 away.
Manchester United underlined their own claims with a 2-1 win in group F at last season’s surprise finalists Bayer Leverkusen, the team who beat them along the way. It was United’s first win in Germany for 37 years.
Two first-half goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy ensured United added to last week’s home success over Maccabi Haifa — though the Dutchman had to go off later with a tight hamstring.
United boss Alex Ferguson was satisfied with the win — just about. “It was disappointing in terms of possession in the second half. But it is a good result — it is never easy to win away from home.”
Dimitar Berbatov netted a consolation for Bayer but, a spell of second half pressure aside, they are nothing like the side which made it to last year’s final.
While United gave English fans some cheer Newcastle United flopped again, losing 0-1 at home to Feyenoord, Chilean midfielder Sebastian Pardo volleying in a beauty after just four minutes.
Newcastle lost their group F opener in Kiev last week and Tuesday they missed what chances they eked out.
With a trip to this season’s Juventus vintage to come Bobby Robson’s side look out for the count already.
Classy Juventus mercilessly fried Kiev for 90 minutes while Milan flattened Deportivo, who were almost unrecognisable from the side who had played so well to win in Munich.
Both performances were awesome, Juve running riot at the Delle Alpi stadium with hapless Dynamo goalkeeper Vitaliy Reva the busiest player on the field as shots rained in from all angles. Marco di Vaio opened the scoring for the 1996 champions with a header in the 13th minute.
Alessandro Del Piero added a second 14 minutes later, latching onto a cross from Mauro Camoranesi. Six minutes after the break Di Vaio headed in his second and Juve’s third before Dutch international Edgar Davids weighed in with an individual strike after a fine run.
Czech international Pavel Nedved completed the demolition job with 12 minutes remaining. Not to be outdone, Milan cruised home in Deportivo’s Riazor Stadium with Clarence Seedorf netting their opener before Filippo Inzaghi kept on ploughing his rich vein of current form with an impeccable hattrick to take him to eight goals in four matches this season.
There was better news for Spain in group H as Dutch Dangerman Patrick Kluivert and Luis Enrique gave Barcelona a 2-0 win at Galatasaray of Turkey to roar to the head of the group.
Bruges and Lokomotiv Moscow parted goalless in the other group encounter. Bayern Munich have yet to hit form, meanwhile, only managing to draw 1-1 in France against Lens, whose John Utaka headed a late equaliser after Thomas Linke’s opener for Bayern had appeared to be enough for full points.