| Roma’s Francesco Totti (left) jumps over Real Madrid’s Esteban Cambiasso during their Champions League match in Madrid Wednesday. (AFP)
London: Holders Real Madrid and English champions Arsenal both lost on Wednesday but still qualified for Phase II of the Champions League.
AS Roma’s Francesco Totti got the only goal after 22 minutes in the Group C match in Madrid as Real lost at home to Italian opposition for the first time since 1967. However, whatever happens in the final round of matches, they are guaranteed a top two spot.
Borussia Dortmund sent Arsenal crashing 1-2 — their fourth successive defeat in all competitions — in a tense Group A match.
Both teams advanced, however, after nine-man AJ Auxerre, who had to win to keep their chances alive, were thumped 0-3 by PSV Eindhoven.
Auxerre’s hopes disappeared with red cards for Philippe Mexes in the 26th minute and Olivier Kapo in the 51st.
Valencia completed an impressive double over Liverpool as Francisco Rufete’s deflected shot gave them a 1-0 win at Anfield to book their place as Group B winners.
The other Group B game between Spartak Moscow and Basel was postponed until next Tuesday as a mark of respect for the victims of the Moscow theatre siege.
Group D remains wide open after Inter Milan beat Rosenborg Trondheim 3-0 and Ajax Amsterdam won 2-0 in a controversial game at Olympique Lyon.
Inter and Ajax, who meet in their final game, have eight points with Lyon, who visit Rosenborg, on seven.
Real Madrid seemed ready for another effortless cruise into the second phase when they won their first three matches, starting with a superb 3-0 win at Roma, and were then 2-0 up at home against AEK Athens in their fourth. But they drew 2-2 with the Greeks and, after some mediocre domestic form, were unable to cancel out Totti’s early goal at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Real Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque said his side had found it difficult to break down Roma’s defence, but was quick to dismiss any suggestions of a crisis at Real who have managed only one win in their last seven domestic and European games.
“I am not one for excuses, but Raul, Luis Figo and Ronaldo are all playing after time off injured and we are still waiting for them to find that understanding they will get from playing together.”
In the group’s other game, Genk scored their first goal in the competition via Wesley Sonck 22 minutes into their fifth match. Vassilis Lakis earned AEK a 1-1 draw.
If AEK manage to win in Rome in their final match, and Real lose at already-eliminated Genk, all three would end up on eight points.
But Real’s superior head-to-head record against the other two ensures they will go through whatever the scores next month. Roma need only draw to go through.
Arsenal are torn between lamenting a fourth successive 1-2 defeat — all after an unbeaten run of 30 matches — and celebrating their progress into the second round.
Things started well for the Londoners in Dortmund when Thierry Henry curled an 18th-minute free kick past the static Jens Lehmann but Gilberto Silva deflected a Tomas Rosicky free kick into his own goal to level the scores.
Rosicky struck Dortmund’s winner from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute after David Seaman had brought down Czech striker Jan Koller.
Valencia were within seconds of going through last week but after being frustrated by Basel’s last-minute equaliser, they made sure at Anfield.
Looking sharp from the start and defensively determined, the losing finalists in 2000 and 2001 handed the Premier League leaders their first home defeat in all competitions this season.
Valencia have 13 points with Liverpool on seven. Basel, with two games remaining against Spartak away and Liverpool at home, have five, setting up an interesting last match in Switzerland.
Ajax took an eighth minute lead through South African midfielder Steven Pienaar in Lyon , but the French side thought they had equalised when a Sonny Anderson header was palmed into his own net by goalkeeper Joey Didulica after 43 minutes.
TV replays showed that the ball had crossed the line, but Greek referee Kyros Vassaras ruled otherwise.
Ajax captain Cristian Chivu was sent off midway the second half but the Dutch secured the points with a goal by substitute Rafael van der Vaart in injury time.
Alvaro Recoba, Hernan Crespo and an own goal by Janne Saarinen gave Inter a comfortable 3-0 home success that ensured Rosenborg will finish bottom of Group D.