Mourinho's Real walk while Arsenal,Chelsea blaze through qualifiers
Jose Mourinho enjoyed a winning start to his first Champions League campaign at Real Madrid as his side beat Ajax 2-0 on Wednesday, while Arsenal and Chelsea both strolled to emphatic wins.sports Updated: Sep 16, 2010 20:40 IST
Jose Mourinho enjoyed a winning start to his first Champions League campaign at Real Madrid as his side beat Ajax 2-0 on Wednesday, while Arsenal and Chelsea both strolled to emphatic wins.
Mourinho was brought to the Bernabeu with the brief of delivering Real's 10th European crown and his team emerged with all three points from their Group G opener despite making heavy work of four-time champions Ajax.
The Spanish giants penned Martin Jol's team inside their own penalty area right from the kick-off, with Gonzalo Higuain curling a long-range strike against the crossbar and Angel di Maria shooting over when well-placed.
The breakthrough arrived in fortuitous fashion in the 31st minute when Higuain challenged Vurnon Anita for Xabi Alonso's corner and forced the Ajax defender to put through his goal.
Real put Ajax under increased pressure in the second period and after Cristiano Ronaldo had spurned a series of chances, Higuain made the game safe with a close-range volley 17 minutes from the end.
"We played very well, pressured them well and didn't let them play how they like to," said Mourinho. "One day some poor team is going to pay for all these chances that we are missing."
The result gives Real a share of the Group G lead with AC Milan, who saw off an obdurate challenge from Auxerre to win 2-0 at San Siro.
The French side had a number of first-half chances, with Dennis Oliech heading against the crossbar and Steeven Langil blazing over the bar from a good position.
Milan's class finally told in the second period, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic touching home from close range after Kevin-Prince Boateng had flicked on Ronaldinho's cross and then adroitly placing the ball into the bottom-right corner from the Brazilian's lay-off.
Ibrahimovic's first goals for the club enabled him to join former Milan favourite Hernan Crespo as the only players to have scored for five different clubs in the competition.
London's Wembley Stadium will host this season's Champions League final and London-based sides Arsenal and Chelsea both made stunning starts.
Chelsea opened their Group F account with a 4-1 victory at Slovakians MSK Zilina, while Arsenal slipped through the gears in characteristically stylish fashion in a 6-0 demolition of Portuguese competition debutants Braga.
A ninth-minute Cesc Fabregas penalty set Arsenal on their way at the Emirates and Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin both found the target before Fabregas completed his brace in the 53rd minute.
Substitute Carlos Vela added two well-taken goals in the second half to give Arsene Wenger's side a perfect start in Group H.
"It was good training because in the Premier League and the Champions League we will have games where we will not have it easy," said Fabregas.
In the other group fixture, a 71st-minute free-kick by Darijo Srna was enough for Shakhtar Donetsk to see off Partizan Belgrade in Ukraine.
Strikes from Michael Essien and a Nicolas Anelka brace put Chelsea 3-0 up after half an hour at Zilina before Daniel Sturridge completed the rout three minutes into the second half. Tomas Oravec claimed a consolation for the hosts.
"The first half was fantastic," said Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti.
"We played very well on the counter-attack. We had a lot of chances. It was a fantastic performance."
In the other Group F game, French champions Marseille fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Spartak Moscow thanks to an unfortunate 81st-minute own goal from Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta.
A stunning, outside-of-the-foot strike from German World Cup star Thomas Mueller enabled last season's beaten finalists Bayern Munich to break the deadlock in the 79th minute of their Group E encounter with Roma.
Miroslav Klose claimed Bayern's second in a 2-0 win, while Romanians CFR Cluj edged Basel 2-1 in the second group game of the evening.