LUKAS PODOLSKI MAINTAINED Arsenal’s 100 percent start to their Champions League campaign as the Gunners recovered from a lacklustre opening to beat Greek side Olympiakos 3-1 on tonight.
Arsene Wenger’s side were below their best for long periods at the Emirates Stadium, but Germany forward Podolski made the crucial contribution as he put Arsenal ahead after Gervinho’s opener was cancelled out by Olympiakos striker Kostas Mitroglou.
Aaron Ramsey’s late strike ensured Arsenal, who defeated Montpellier in their opening Group B fixture, remain firmly on course to qualify for the last 16.
But Wenger will know there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially in a defence which struggled to cope with Olympiakos’s relatively limited forward line.
In the other Group B game, a 90th-minute equaliser from striker Souleymane Camara saw ten-man Montpellier take an unexpected point in a 2-2 draw at Schalke 04 in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Schalke were 2-1 up and cruising to their second Champions League win of the season when Senegal international Camara stunned the Veltins Arena crowd with a curling effort round Royal Blues goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall.
It earned his team their first Champions League point and leaves Arsenal top of Group B on six points after their 2-1 win over Olympiakos.
Montpellier’s Morocco forward Karim Ait-Fana had given his side an early lead, but Schalke teenager Julia Draxler equalised – who only turned 19 at the beginning of last month and became the youngest ever German scorer in Champions League history.
The game turned Schalke’s way in the 52nd minute with the score locked at 1-1 when Garry Bocaly felled Draxler in the area and Russian referee Sergey Karasev showed no hesitation in awarding a penalty and showing a red card.
Draxler had to be taken off in obvious discomfort after landing heavily on his arm and Holland striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar slammed the penalty into the bottom left hand corner to put the hosts ahead for the first time.
An 83rd-minute goal by James Rodriguez earned Porto a 1-0 home win over Paris Saint-Germain in Champions League Group A on Wednesday that ended the French side’s unbeaten start to the season.
The trip to Estadio do Dragao was PSG’s most testing assignment of the campaign to date and they had to withstand heavy pressure before Colombian international Rodriguez swept home to reward the home side’s attacking endeavour.
PSG had won their previous five matches in all competitions and seemed to be building up a head of steam, but ahead of Sunday’s trip to arch rivals and league leaders Marseille in Ligue 1, their momentum has been checked.
The result leaves Porto three points clear of PSG in the pool, while the club from the French capital have now gone 10 successive away games without a win in Europe’s elite club competition.
Former Ukraine coach Olege Blokhin got his Dinamo Kiev career off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb thanks to two first half goals – from Oleh Gusev and a Josip Pivaric own-goal.
An own goal by Tomas Hubocan consigned Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg to a cruel 3-2 defeat in their Champions League group match with AC Milan here on Wednesday.
Zenit – who have been riven by internecine discord over the wages being paid to big money signings Hulk and Axel Witsel which has led Russian national captain Igor Denisov to being dropped – had done well to level the game after being 2-0 down early on.
Defeat, though, leaves them pointless in the group while Milan’s win eases the pressure on Massimiliano Allegri after a disappointing start to the season in Serie A and sees them move onto four points after two games.
Malaga beat Zenit in the opener a fortnight ago.
“It’s a very important win for us,” Allegri said. “It was not easy to beat Zenit on their home turf. After we scored twice we had to resist very serious pressure. Our goalkeeper played very well.
“I consider Zenit to be a club which is in the vanguard of European football from any point of view.”
Cash-strapped Malaga maintained their excellent debut in Europe’s premier competition with a second 3-0 win – this time over Belgian’s Anderlecht.
Two goals from Portuguese midfielder Eliseu and a Joaquin penalty saw the Spaniards control the second half and head to the top of Group C.
Cristiano Ronaldo was in treble form as Real Madrid tuned up for this weekend’s Clasico with a stylish 4-1 win at Ajax here on Wednesday to maintain their perfect start to the fledgling Champions League campaign.
Ronaldo, who had bagged the late winner in the Spanish champions’ opening Group D win over Manchester City, was joined on the score-sheet by Karim Benzema, with Ajax’s lone strike coming from Niklas Moisander.
The scoreline would have been even more lopsided but for a series of fine saves by Ajax’s goalkeeper, Kenneth Vermeer.
Watch Ronaldo’s first Champions League hat-trick, the 18th of his career, below:
YouTube credit: UEFAGame
Mario Balotelli’s last-minute penalty secured Manchester City a 1-1 Champions League draw with Borussia Dortmund that they scarcely deserved here on Wednesday.
A goal from Marco Reus looked to be enough to secure victory for Jurgen Klopp’s team and leave a major dent in City’s hopes of progressing from Group D and into the knock-out phase.
But with just two minutes left Neven Subotic was penalised for handball and Balotelli converted from the spot to earn City a point that could prove crucial.
They now face a double-header against Ajax before hosting Real Madrid and then travelling to Dortmund for their final match.
But on this evidence Dortmund must be strong favourites to progress along with Real.
Klopp was delighted with his side’s vibrant display.
“I have congratulated the team,” said Klopp. ”They produced a great game and it was fun to watch.”