Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Valencia all maintained their 100% records with their third straight wins as the Champions League group phase reached the halfway stage on Wednesday. Chelsea handed European champions Barcelona a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in Group A where Didier Drogba scored an outstanding individual goal after 47 minutes.
Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Valencia all maintained their 100% records with their third straight wins as the Champions League group phase reached the halfway stage on Wednesday.
Chelsea handed European champions Barcelona a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in Group A where Didier Drogba scored an outstanding individual goal after 47 minutes, while Bayern Munich beat Sporting 1-0 in Lisbon in Group B.
Bastian Schweinsteiger scored a superb long-range goal for Bayern after 19 minutes but was sent off early in the second half for a second yellow card.
Valencia beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 in Group D thanks to two first-half goals by David Villa.
The Stamford Bridge result was Barcelona’s first defeat in 16 matches in the competition since losing to Chelsea in March 2005 and although they should still advance they have only four points from their opening three games.
That leaves them level with Werder Bremen after the Germans beat debutants Levski Sofia, the first Bulgarian club to take part in the competition proper, 2-0.
Werder won with goals from Brazilians Naldo and Diego—and kept a clean sheet at home for the first time in 13 Champions League matches.
Liverpool, the 2005 European champions, stayed top of Group C with a 1-0 win in Bordeaux where Peter Crouch headed the only goal after 58 minutes to take their tally to seven points, the same as second-placed PSV Eindhoven, who came from behind to win 2-1 at Galatasaray with goals from Jan Kromkamp and Arouna Kone.
Sasa Ilic had put Galatasaray ahead after 19 minutes but Galatasaray coach Eric Gerets, who won the European Cup with PSV in 1988, could only watch as his team ran out of steam in the second half.
Although no team is yet certain of their place in the last 16, it is hard to see any of the group leaders failing to advance now.
In contrast, the immediate future in the competition looks bleak for Levski Sofia, whose defeat in Bremen was their third in Group A, while Bordeaux have only one point in Group C, the same as Galatasaray.
Shakhtar and Olympiakos Piraeus also look out of the running in Group D after Shakhtar’s defeat to Valencia and the Greeks’ 1-0 home defeat by AS Roma left them on a point apiece.
One team to revive their fortunes were Italian champions Inter Milan, who scored their first goals and picked up their first points in Group B with a 2-1 home win over Spartak Moscow as Julio Cruz scored both goals in the opening nine minutes.
While the result ended Inter’s poor start to the competition it extended Spartak’s run to 20 successive matches without a Champions League victory and was their 21st successive game in which they have conceded a goal—a Champions League record.
Inter still trail Bayern (nine points) and Sporting Lisbon (four), with three points but their prospects are far brighter after this victory.
The first qualifiers for the knockout round should be known after Matchday Four of Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
On Tuesday there were wins for Olympique Lyon, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Celtic, CSKA Moscow and AC Milan, who would all make certain of their places in the final 16 with another victory next time around. - Reuters