UEFA Champions League Tuesday: Group Leaders Solidify Holds On First

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UEFA Champions League: Arsenal Run Wild Over Shakhtar Donetsk

Although seven Champions League matches were being played at once today, there was a short period of time in which the goals just kept coming—but they were all coming from one place: Emirates Stadium, where the Gunners just couldn’t seem to stop scoring. The home side managed three goals in just ten minutes, but quite generously allowed former Arsenal man Eduardo a consolation goal.

Ted Harwood of The Short Fuse sums up Arsenal’s match perfectly:

Arsenal dispatched Ukranian champions Shakhtar Donetsk on a cold and rainy night at the Emirates by a final score of 5-1. In the process, Arsenal broke Real Madrid’s record set in 2002 of 12 goals in the first three Champions League matches by scoring their tenth through fourteenth. The win sees Arsenal go top of Group H with nine points from nine, while Shakhtar remain in second with six.

For more coverage of the Gunners, visit SB Nation’s Arsenal blog, The Short Fuse.

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UEFA Champions League: Chelsea Give Spartak The Blues

In what many believed might be Chelsea’s most difficult match in the group stages—away at Spartak Moscow, on a ground that brings back painful memories—goals from Yuri Zhrikov and Nicholas Anelka were enough to cement a 2-0 victory over the home side, and keep the Blues three points clear atop Group F. Although Spartak created quite a few chances, spending the beginning of the second half firing shot after shot at Petr Cech, they never managed to get the ball in the Chelsea net and now have to be content with second place.

While Chelsea are not assured a spot in the knockout stages, Graham MacAree of We Ain’t Got No HIstory believes it is highly unlikely the side will fail to make it out of the group:

Nine points out of three matches, including two away from home, is obviously a very nice set of results for the Blues, and puts them top of Group F by a three point margin. Qualifying is virtually assured now: We need two points out of our next three games to ‘guarantee’ second, and five in three to reach the 14 point mark which has historically always yielded first place in the group. With home fixtures against MSK Zilina and Spartak Moscow still to come, it’s very possible that Chelsea earn top spot in the group before a tough away match at Marseilles

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For more coverage of the Blues, visit SB Nation’s Chelsea blog, We Ain’t Got No History.

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Braga 2-0 Partizan: Matheus Scores In Portugal

Luis Aguiar plays the ball in to Braga forward Matheus, who sticks out a foot to tap it into Partizan’s net. Matheus’s goal has just sealed the Portuguese side’s first ever Champions League victory and moves them up to third in Group H.

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AS Roma 1-3 FC Basel: Cabral Piles On The Misery

Basel has put the icing on the cake in in their victory over Roma at Estadio Olimpico with a third goal in the 93rd minute. Roma were pushing everyone forward in an attempt to find a winner, leaving them vulnerable on the counter-attack. Basel took advantage and broke on a Roma giveaway. Cabral, who was substituted on for Marco Streller in the second half, scored a well placed finish, assisted by Scott Chipperfield.

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Bayern Munich 3-2 CFR Cluj: Emmanuel Culio Pulls One Back

Just when we thought it was done and dusted, Juan Emmanuel Culio scores for Cluj to put the visitors within one of Bayern Munich. Culio’s rising shot hit the top of the net (possibly bouncing off Gomez on the way) and gave the visitors a bit of hope.

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Arsenal 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: Eduardo Returns To The Emirates To Score Consolation

In a fitting end to the match, former Arsenal striker Eduardo pulled one back for the visitors when he met Jodson’s cross and finished emphatically in the 82nd.

The remaining Arsenal supporters left at the Emirates gave Eduardo a nice ovation although their clean sheet was no more.

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Bayern Munich 3-1 CFR Cluj: Mario Gomez Scores First Goal By Bayern Player

Mario Gomez, on fire for Bayern, scored the side’s first goal in the match, putting them up 3-1 over hapless Cluj, who have scored three goals. Unfortunately, two of those goals ended up in their own net.

At this point, it looks like Bayern’s got this done and dusted. If Roma fail to find an equalizer, the German side will be six points clear in group E.

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Arsenal 5-0 Shakhtar Donetsk: Arsenal Firing On All Cylinders

In arguably the goal of the day, Arsenal snatched their fourth when Jack Wilshere finished a brilliant team move that featured multiple passes involving Marouane Chamakh and Tomas Rosicky.

After some brilliant passing and some 1-2’s, Wilshere finished the move by taking a touch and slotting past Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov for their fourth of the night.

Minutes later the Gunners made it five when scorer Chamakh and Nasri again were involved in the build up when Shakhtar’s defense assumed the linesman would blow for offside on Chamakh and all but gave up on the play.

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Arsenal 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk: Cesc Fabregas Secures Three Points For Arsenal

Johan Djourou won a penalty for the Gunners when he was dragged down by Luiz Adriano in the box in the 59th.

Fabregas stepped up and blasted the penalty home to secure the points for Arsenal while like Chelsea, their passage through to the knockout stages have all but been secured.

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Ajax 2-1 Auxerre: Ajax Red Card Leaves Side Scrambling

Ajax defender Andre Ooijer hauls down Dennis Oliech on the edge of the area and is rewarded with a straight red. Midfielder Valter Birsa steps up to take the free kick, sending a beautiful curling ball into the net.

With thirty minutes left to play, ten-man Ajax need to watch themselves lest Auxerre find the equalizer, or worse, the winner.

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Olympique Marseille 1-0 MSK Zilina: Breakthrough For Marseille As Both Teams Search For First Point In Group Stage

Soulyemane Diawara opened the scoring for the home side with a header that Zilina keeper Martin Dubravka should have handled. As both teams search for that elusive point in Group F, a win for either side could prove massive in catching Spartak Moscow who was beaten earlier today by Chelsea, but remain on 6 points.

Diawara’s header to open the scoring came just after the break in the 48th minute.

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Arsenal 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk: Samir Nasri Grabs Arsenal's Second Just Before Half

Arsenal are comfortably up 2-0 at the Emirates thanks to Samir Nasri. When Alex Song’s cross into the box took a deflection, Nasri seemingly plucked the wayward ball out of the air with his right foot before settling it with a touch and finishing it with his left.

A decent bit of skill from the French midfielder as Arsenal enter the half up by two goals without having to over extend themselves for the lead.

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Ajax 2-0 Auxerre: Luis Suarez Puts Ajax Firmly In Control

Ajax are now comfortably two goals ahead on Auxerre thanks to a goal from Luis Suarez. Ajax broke on the counter-attack and the final ball was played by Mounir El Hamdaoui. His through ball to the right side of the penalty area was picked up by Suarez who calmly finished past Oliver Sorin. The goal was the first for Suarez in the Champions League group stages this season and his 11th in all competitive matches.

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Bayern Munich 2-1 CFR Cluj: Two Own Goals By Cluj Give Hosts Bayern Munich The Lead

After such a surprising start at the Allianz Arena by CFR Cluj, the club handed the lead to Bayern Munich through two own goals. This time it’s Cristian Panin in the 32nd minute.

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Braga 1-0 Partizan: Lima Scores First Braga Goal Of Group Stages

Brazlian forward Lima scores Braga’s first goal of the group stages off a stunning free kick, giving the Portuguese side something to cheer about.

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Bayern Munich 1-1 CFR Cluj: Cadu Giveth And Cadu Taketh Away

Just four minutes after scoring to put his side ahead, Ricardo Cadu has recorded an own goal in the 32nd minute to give Bayern Munich an equalizer. Attacking midfielder Toni Kroos took a right-footed shot from the right hand side of the box and his shot deflected off Cadu, going by Cluj keeper Eduard Stancioiu at the far post to tie the score at 1-1.

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Bayern Munich 0-1 CFR Cluj: Romanians Take Surprise Lead in Munich

Captain Ricardo Cadu takes advantage of a free kick by Roberto De Zerbi and dives to head it in, giving Cluj the lead over Bayern Munich.

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Roma 1-1 Basel: Goals By Alexander Frei and Marco Borriello

Basel took the lead through a goal by striker Alexander Frei, but the Swiss could barely enjoy their time ahead before hosts Roma answered with a goal of their own from Marco Borriello.

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Arsenal 1-0 Shakhtar Donetsk:Gunners Take Lead Through Alex Song

A goalkeeping error by Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov leads to the first goal for the home team, when Pyatov dropped the ball and allowed Alex Song to get his foot on it. Song’s kick was blocked by a defender but rebounded right back off Song and into the net.

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Real Madrid 2-0 A.C. Milan: Los Merengues Score Two In One Minute Through Özil and Ronaldo

Mesut Özil and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored a goal each in less than 60 seconds to put Real Madrid 2-0 up on A.C. Milan. The first goal was scored by Ronaldo in the 13th minue from a free kick. Milan's wall did not hold together and Ronaldo's free kick went straight through a cluster of four Milan players and into the back of the net. Less than 30 seconds after the ensuing kickoff, Cristiano Ronaldo put a cross across the box from the left hand side to the feet of Mesut Özil. He took a right-footed shot first time that deflected off the head of Daniele Bonera into the back of the net to put Real up 2-0 in the 14th minute.

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Ajax 1-0 Auxerre: Demy De Zeeuw Scores To Give Ajax Lead

In Amsterdam, Ajax midfielder Demy de Zeeuw has scored to give the home side an early lead over visitors Auxerre in Group G. With Real Madrid currently leading AC Milan, Ajax could grab second with a big enough win.

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Spartak Moscow 0-2 Chelsea, Final: Chelsea Take Commanding Lead In Group F

Another clean sheet for Petr Cech and now three wins out of three for Chelsea as they can almost taste qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League. Chelsea now sit on 9 points in Group F after their victory in Moscow while fellow group participants Zilina and Olympique Marseille also play on Tuesday in a match both sides will be looking to earn their first points in.

The story of the day was Chelsea’s ability to create and subsequently take their chances while Spartak’s ability to create in attack was only matched in their inability to finish multiple second half shots. The space in front of Cech’s goal was incredibly active yet the shots ringing in rarely troubled the Chelsea keeper.

Michael Essien’s runs through midfield proved difficult for Barreto Ibson and Aleksandr Sheshukov to handle while the wing play of Spartak Moscow’s Aiden McGeady and Dmitri Kombarov was effective in creating chances only for Moscow to spurn.

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Spartak Moscow 0-2 Chelsea: Spartak's Attack Ignited Through McGeady, Kombarov While Breakthrough Proves Elusive

Spartak Moscow’s strategy entering into the second half was simple: attack Chelsea, get shots on goal and challenge Petr Cech. Through wide men Aiden McGeady and Dmitri Kombarov, Spartak placed shot after shot upon Cech’s goal forcing the Chelsea keeper to make numerous saves in the opening 15 minutes of the last 45.

While Chelsea sit back to defend in numbers, they remain dangerous on the counter. With twenty minutes left in the contest, Chelsea remain exactly where they want to be, and that’s up 0-2 away in the Champions League.

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Spartak Moscow 0-2 Chelsea: English Champions Go Two Up Through Anelka

Nicolas Anelka latched onto a brilliant through ball from Michael Essien who had surged his way through the Moscow midfield to play provider for the Frenchman. Anelka collected and was able to slot home past Andriy Dikan for Chelsea’s second of the night.

Moscow’s Aiden McGeady was once able to get behind Chelsea’s Ashley Cole on the right side of midfield, yet his cross into the box only found the aware Petr Cech.

In an highly involved and free flowing contest, Chelsea enter the interval up two.

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Spartak Moscow 0-1 Chelsea: Zhirkov Returns To Russia, Scores Blinder

Spartak Moscow 0-1 Chelsea, In a highly entertaining opening 25 minutes, Chelsea midfielder Yuri Zhirkov opened the scoring with a brilliant long range volley.

Both sides enjoyed early chances in the opening moments, but it was the former CSKA Moscow man who found the break through in the 23rd minute. Zhirkov produced one to remember when his left footed strike found the back of Andriy Dikan’s net.

Brazilian striker Ari had the best half chance or two for the home side who continue to attack Chelsea.

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UEFA Champions League Tuesday: Chelsea Travel To Spartak Moscow Before Real Madrid Meet AC Milan In Spain

UEFA Champions League action kicks off today at 12:30pm Eastern, with group F leaders Chelsea taking on Spartak Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium. Both teams are undefeated in Champions League play, but home side Spartak is hoping Chelsea's injuries will disadvantage the squad and allow Spartak to claim the top spot in the group. For projected lineups, predictions and key battles, check out the match preview.

The rest of the day's matches take place at 2:45pm Eastern, and four set group leaders against the second place clubs. Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk travels to London to face Arsenal in Group H, Romanians CFR Cluj visit Germany and Bayern Munich, and the tastiest match of all, pitting the Italian side AC Milan against Real Madrid in Spain. José Mourinho is desperate to guide his new club to a Champions League title, while Milan are looking to repeat last year's performance by not allowing Real a win. We have lineups, key battles and predictions in the match preview.

For thoughts on the rest of the day's matches, in which the third and fourth place teams all meet in hopes of moving up in their groups, read the Tuesday preview.

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