MANCHESTER ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson (C) South Africa 2010 Chief Executive Danny Jordaan (L) and Harold Mayne Nicholls - Leader of the FIFA Inspection team (R visit Old Trafford during the FIFA Inspection Visit for the England 2018 World Cup Bid on August 25 2010 in Manchester England. (Photo by Jason Cairnduff-Pool/Getty Images)

UEFA Champions League Wednesday: Javier Hernandez, Manchester United Steal Three From Mestalla

Manchester United's three points from Valencia reaffirmed their status as Group C's favorites.

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UEFA Champions League: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar Goal Seals Schalke's 2-0 Win Over Benfica

Back from the dead, we can call Schalke, their 2-0 win over Benfica putting them in second place in Champions League's Group B.

The victory was sealed in the 85th minute when substitute Jermaine Jones's cross was headed home be Klass-Jan Huntelaar, giving Schalke their two goal cushion.

The win furthers a resurgence for Schalke which, having failed to win in first five Bundesliga and Champions League matches, have picked-up seven points in their last three games.


UEFA Champions League: Late Gareth Bale Goal Gives Tottenham 4-1 Win Over Twente

Tottenham Hotspur moved to four points and second place in Group A after defeating Dutch champions FC Twente 4-1, with left midfielder Gareth Bale scoring the match's final goal in the 85th minute.

Bale, who had already drawn on of Spurs' three penalty kicks, scored from the left-side of the area beating goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov for Tottenham's final goal.

The match was the first Champions League game held at White Hart Lane.


UEFA Champions League: Substitute Javier Hernandez Give Manchester United Late Lead At Valencia

While we have spend much of the season wondering if Manchester United's renown late-match acumen had disappeared, the Red Devils and Javier Hernández provided a counter point in the 86th minute in Valencia.

The Mexican international, making his second Champions League appearance, took a pass from fellow substitute Frederico Macheda, putting a left-footed finish past César Sánchez for the match's first goal.

Manchester United is playing today's match without Wayne Rooney or Paul Scholes yet look set to hand Valencia their first loss of the season.


UEFA Champions League: Samuel Eto'o Hat-Trick Has Inter Milan Up 4-0 On Werder Bremen

Samuel Eto'o this goal of the day has put Internazionale up 4-0 on Werder Bremen in route to a result that will leave the holders on top of Group A.

Eto'o, who scored twice in the first half, took a through ball from Wesley Sneijder, evaded goalkeeper Tim Wiese for an empty-net finish, bringing his Champions League goal total for this season to four.

Inter is on track to move to four points and, on goal difference, sit on top of their group.


UEFA Champions League: Jefferson Farfan, Schalke Break-Through Against Benfica, Lead 1-0

Schalke 04 has gone up on Portuguese champions Benfica, with Peruvian attacker Jefferson Farfan's 73rd minute goal giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.

Schalke game into his match on not points, having lost at Lyon, while Benfica led Group B with three.

Farfan slammed home a shot at the far post, beating goalkeeper Roberto, for the German club's first goal of this year's competition.


UEFA Champions League: Second Roman Pavlyuchenko Penalty Kick Puts 10-Man Spurs Up 3-1 On Twente

For the third time today, Spurs have been awarded a penalty kick, with Roman Pavlyuchenko's second conversion giving Spurs a 3-1 lead on visiting Twente.

The penalty was awarded only three minutes after Spurs were reduced to 10-men, attacker Rafael van der Vaart being sent off after seeing a second yellow card.


UEFA Champions League: Tottenham's Rafael Van Der Vaart Dismissed

Rafael van der Vaart has seen a second yellow card at White Hart Lane, leaving Spurs with ten men against FC Twente.

Van der Vaart scored Tottenham's first goal, two minutes into the second half, after missing a penalty kick late in the first.

The dismissal means the Spurs attacker will miss Tottenham's match with Internazionale on the tournament's third match day.


UEFA Champions League: Nacer Chadli Pulls Twente Within One Of Spurs, 2-1

Only six minutes after Twente had gone down two goals at White Hart Lane, Nacer Chadli converted from chaos in front of Heurelho Gomes's net, pulling the Dutch champions back to 2-1 with Spurs.

Chadli's goal is the third within the second half's first 11 minutes, with Rafael van der Vaart and Roman Pavlyuchenko scoring within five minutes of the second kick-off.

Both teams came into today's match with one point, part of a four-way tie in Champions League's Group A.


UEFA Champions League: Two Goals Out Of Intermission Give Tottenhem Hotspur 2-0 Lead On Twente

Rafael van der Vaart's missed penalty kick before halftime may not come back to haunt Spurs, with two goals within the second half's first five minutes giving the Spurs a commanding 2-0 lead over Twente.  Making up for the miss, it was van der Vaart who scored the first.

A well-built play by Spurs saw a far-post chipped pass from midfielder Tom Huddlestone headed-down by forward Peter Crouch. Rafael van der Vaart then ran onto the ball, giving Spurs a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.

Three minutes later, Roman Pavlyuchenko was chosen to take Spurs' second penalty kick, awarded when Gareth Bale was pulled down. The Russian's conversion gave Spurs a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.


UEFA Champions League: Panathinaikos's Gilberto Silva Sees Red Against Copenhagen

In what's turning into a nightmare day for the Greek champions, midfielder Gilberto Silva accumulated his second yellow card three minutes into the second half against Copenhagen, leaving his team with ten mean after being dismissed.

Panathinaikos was down 0-2 at the time of the dismissal, staring at the point-less start through two Champions League matches.

A win by Copenhagen would put the Danish club in first place of Group D.


UEFA Champions League: Martin Vingaard Brace Take Copenhagen Into Halftime Up 2-0 At Panathinaikos

Copenhagen has been strong in Denmark, and after beaten Rubin Kazan 1-0 on match day one, FCK looked in position to vie for Group D's second place. Now up 2-0 after Martin Vingaar's goal, Copenhagen by sit first in Group D at the end of the day.

Vingaar's goal came in the 37th minute, a free kick beating Alexandros Tzorvas to his right for FCK's second goal.

With it, the Danish champions are en route to first place in Group D, with Barcelona sitting no four points, having been drawing in Kazan earlier today.


UEFA Champions League: Michel Bastos Brace Has Lyon Up 2-0 at Hapoel Tel Aviv

It may have required some luck to get there, but Michel Bastos's 36th minute shot found the back of Vincent Enyeama's net, giving the visiting Lyonnais a 0-2 lead over Hapoel in Tel Aviv.

Bastos finish came off a corner from Yoann Gourcuff, the Brazilian getting onto a ball after an attempted clearance. Bastos's shot went off of Romain Rocchi and into the net, Bastos's second goal of the match.


UEFA Champions League: Wesley Sneijder Goal Puts Inter Milan Up 3-0 On Werder Bremen

Internazionale has shaken-off their weekend struggles with three goals in 34 minutes against Werder Bremen, Wesley Sneijder's tally giving the holders a 3-0 lead. Sneijder beat Tim Wiese after running onto a through ball from Samuel Eto'o, picking-up an assist to go with his two goals.

Inter's three goals are more than they scored in two matches against Werder in 2008-09, when the teams were also grouped together in Champions League. Then, Inter failed to get a win over Werder.


UEFA Champions League: Dame N'Doye Strikes Again For Copenhagen, Gives Dane 1-0 Lead At Panathinaikos

Danish champions Copenhagen have taken a 1-0 lead in Greece after Dame N'Doye's second goal of the competition, putting his team in front of Greek champions Panathinaikos.

N'Doye lofted his shot over goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas, putting Copenhagen up 1-0 after 28 minutes.

Now in the 37th minute, the match remains 0-1.

With a win, Copenhagen would be alone atop Group D with six points, leaving Pana at the bottom with none.


UEFA Champions League: Early Samuel Eto'o Brace Has Inter Milan Up 2-0 On Werder Bremen

Half an hour into Inter Milan's match with Werder at the San Siro, Samuel Eto'o has his second and third goals of the competition, putting the defending champions up 2-0.

In the 21st minute, Eto'o found himself alone on goalkeeper Tim Wiese, beating him for a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, the Cameroonian forward was on the end of a long pass from central defender Lucio. Eto'o brought the ball down and finished for Inter's 2-0 lead.

Both clubs came into the match on one point, part of a four-way tie atop Group A.


UEFA Champions League: Steven Naismith Puts Rangers Up 1-0 Over Bursaspor

Rangers are headed toward a fantastic Champions League start, though 20 minutes into their match against Turkish champions Bursaspor may be too early to make any definitive proclamations. However, after Steven Naismith's 18th minute goal in Glasgow, the Scottish champions are up 1-0 and staring at four points from their first two matches.

Naismith got on the end of a Kirk Broadfoot header before goalkeeper Dimitar Ivankov could get to the ball, giving Rangers their first goal of the competition.

Rangers sit on one point in Group C, having drawn at Manchester United on match day one. Bursaspor lost in Turkey to Valencia.


UEFA Champions League: Third Penalty Kick Of The Day Puts Lyon Up 1-0 On Hapoel Tel Aviv

After two penalty kick goals in the early match, Lyon's Michel Bastos has converted the third penalty kick of the day, giving OL an early, 1-0 lead over Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Hapoel Walid Badier was call for a foul on attack Jimmy Briand, resulting in the Brazilian's spot kick, beating Vincent Enyeama for the match's first goal.

Lyon comes into the match with three points in UEFA Champions League's Group B, defeating Schalke on the first match day. Hapoel has no points, having lost at Benfica.


UEFA Champions League: Barcelona, Rubin Exchange Penalty Kicks In Kazan, End 1-1

Rubin Kazan is undefeated in three matches against Barcelona over the last year after drawing the Spanish champions 1-1 in Russia on Wednesday. A first half goal by Cristian Noboa was pulled-back in the second half by David Villa.

Both of the match's tallies can from the spot. Noboa's was awarded when Daniel Alves was judged to have fouled Vitali Kaleshin. The Ecuadorian midfielder converted in the 30th minute to give the defending Russian champions a 1-0 lead.

Villa's kick was given when Andrew Iniesta was adjudicated to have been fouled by Lasha Salukvadze. Barcelona's 60th minute goal tied the match and provided for the final scoreline.

Midway through the second half, Lionel Messi came on for Javier Mascherano, the attacker's first appearance for Barcelona since being injured against Atlético Madrid two weekends ago.

With the draw, Barcelona sits atop Group D with four points, though Switzerland's Basel can assume the group lead with a victory.

Rubin's point was their first in this year's Champions League, moving them into third place.


UEFA Champions League: David Villa Penalty Kick Pulls Barcelona Even With Rubin Kazan

Barcelona has equalized in Kazan, with David Villa's penalty kick canceling-out Cristian Noboa's first half conversion to leave the match tied at one after the 60th minute.

The penalty was awarded after Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta was taken down by Lasha Salukvadze.

The match remains drawn 1-1 in the 64th minute.

Barcelona currently leads Champions League's Group D with three points. Rubin lost their first match in group play.


UEFA Champions League: Cristian Noboa Penalty Kick Has Rubin Up On Barcelona, 1-0

Rubin Kazan’s success against Barcelona has continued early today, with the Russian club taking a first half lead on the Spanish champions through midfielder Christian Noboa’s penalty kick conversion.

Rubin took four points from two group stage matches against Barcelona last season, winning at the Nou Camp.

Today, Rubin were given a 30th minute penalty kick after Barcelona defender Daniel Alves fouled Vitali Kaleshin. Noboa’s conversion allowed Rubin to take the lead despite having ceded the bulk of the match’s possession to the visitors.


UEFA Champions League Wednesday, Previews And Pick: Weakened Manchester United Trips Into Valencia

Yesterday we saw a series in marqueé clubs in action across a number of decent (not great) matches. Today, we get our marqueé match, though the rest of the day's fixtures are likely to be overshadowed.

Manchester United, drawn at home by Rangers on match day one, goes to the Mestalla to take-on upstart Valencia. After losing Davids VIlla and Silva (and Carlos Marchena) this summer, Los Che surprisingly occupy the top spot in Spain's Primera Division after a convincing weekend victory earned while resting players.

Conversely, United played a full team this weekend. They were grawn at Bolton and (again) allowed multiple goals. In their eight competitive matches (I'm generously counting the Carling Cup), United's only won four, with their only road victory coming at Scunthorpe United. Having traditionally struggled in Spain, United may be happy with (and set-up for a draw.

Elsewhere, Barcelona returns to Kazan to face a weaker Rubin team than the one that took four points from last year's Blaugrana. The holders, Internazionale, welcome Werder Brememb to a Guiseppe Meazza while Dutch champions Twente are the first Champions League visitors to White Hart Lane.

The rest of the fixtures fail to compel. At least, by Champions League standards.

Group A

Where we left off: Twos all around as each of the group's four teams scored and allowed two goals, each earning one point after greats in Enschede and Bremen.

Where we stand now: Each club should believe they can get out of group. Twente was the underdog, but after taking a point from the holders (and seeing how Spurs and Werder have played), the Dutch champions should dare to dream. While none of the other teams should adjust expectations, Werder failing to get full points at home to Spurs puts them in a small hole.

Today's matches:

  • Tottenham Hotspur (England, 1 point) versus FC Twente (Netherlands, 1 point) - Twente is coming off a draw with league-leading Ajax, Theo Janssen bagging another brace. A depleted Spurs defense allowed only one goal to relegation-embattled West Ham United but failed to get on the scoresheet. Pushing Gareth Bale back into midfield (with the return of Benoit Assou-Ekotto) will help.
  • Internazionale (Italy, 1 point) versus Werder Bremen (Germany, 1 point) - Despite sitting first, fans and media seem worried about Inter after their weekend loss to Roma. Their draw at Twente contributes to the crisis of confidence, and against a Werder team who gave the Nerazzurri trouble in group stage two years ago (taking four points), the papers may find more persecution material after Wednesday's match. Both teams have significant injury absences, with Inter missing Diego Milito, Thiago Motta and Javier Zanetti while Werder's without Naldo, Clemens Fritz, Torsten Frings and Claudio Pizzaro.
  • Group B

    Where we left off: Lyon and Benfica cruised to wins in a group that looks to be one of the weakest in recent Champions League memory.

    Where we stand now: Lyon's continued struggles in Ligue 1 hint this may be Benfica's group for the tacking, though the Eagles also look a step-off last year's pace, having already lost three times in Liga. Still, Schalke and Hapoel have given us little reason to think they'll threaten these two weakened favorites.

    Today's matches:

  • Schalke 04 (Germany, 0 points) versus Benfica (Portugal, 3 points) - Schalke has finally started to show some life in the Bundesliga, taking four points from their last two matches. Benfica's won two-in-a-row in league but have failed to replace the dynamism lost with Ángel Di Maria's move east. Playmaking midfielder Pablo Aimar is set to miss the match, mitigating Benfica's ability to exploit a Schalke defense that has allowed 12 goals in six league matches.
  • Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel, 0 points) versus Lyon (France, 3 points) - Lyon's in 18th in France and have not won since bringing Yoann Gourcuff in from Bordeaux. Perhaps worse, they don't look promising, either. Whereas you could justify bad results if the team is showing signs of their potential, Lyon looks like a team with the potential to spend the whole season wondering why Gourcuff isn't the player he was two years ago. In other words, they could prove last year's Bordeaux, just with worse defenders.
  • Group C

    Where we left off:  Manchester United was being drawn at home by Rangers while Valencia debunked the notion of Turkey being a tough road trip, destroying Bursaspor.

    Where we stand now: Valencia continues to sit atop the Primera. Manchester United continues to beguile. If you evaluated today's snapshot of these clubs, Valencia would be the group favorites. For Valencia, United's trip to the Mestalla's coming at just the right time.

    Today's matches:

  • Valencia (Spain, 3 points) versus Manchester United (England, 1 point) - Is there reason to believe United's defending will be better today than it's been all season? Perhaps, considering Ferguson's shown a willingness to play for draws on the road in Champions League. However, given the leaking defense and Valencia's start, United goes to Valencia as underdogs. In addition, United will be without Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes and Antonio Valencia, while Los Che will miss Ever Banega.
  • Rangers (Scotland, 1 point) versus Bursaspor (Turkey, 0 points) - Rangers won't approach this match the same way they did the trip to Old Trafford, and given Bursaspor's performance against Valencia, there's no need for such reverence. Turkey's teams have performed poorly in Europe since Fenerbahçe made the Champions League quarters three years ago. Though Bursa is perfect in league and has only allowed one goal, they're within reach for Rangers.
  • Group D

    Where we left off: Barcelona used Panathinaikos as methodone after getting strung-out by Hercules, winning 5-1 at the Nou Camp. Copenhagen got a late goal against (formerly favored to go through) Rubin Kazan in Denmark, illustrating the gap between Barcelona and Group D's other clubs.

    Where we stand now: All of the Hercules-fostered doubts about Barcelona have been squelched. Copenhagen's form in league, where they're running away from the rest of Denmark, speaks to a club that could challenge for second, while Rubin and Pana sit second in their respective leagues.

    Today's matches:

  • Panathinaikos (Greece, 0 points) versus Copenhagen (Denmark, 3 points) - Panathinaikos has already lost twice in Greece, allowing four goals through as many matches, both measures sharp downturns from last year. Granted, the form Pana showed last season would be a high standard to replicate. However, their current form hints they could be vulnerable, and while Copenhagen wasn't especially strong against Rubin, the Danish club needs only a point in today's match to take control of the race for second. In addition, Pana will be without Sidney Govou, who picked up a thigh injury Sunday.
  • Rubin Kazan (Russia, 0 points) versus Barcelona (Spain, 3 points) - Given the lack of challengers in this group, Barcelona can afford to cruise through group play. While Pep Guardiola has named his first choice players in the starting lineup, it's really uncalled for. It would be better for the team to pace itself, but what do I know? The spot on my mantle for my Champions League trophy is adorned in dust, not hardware. Regardless, Barcelona will put it's best foot forward - sans the injured Lionel Messi - in the day's early start.
  • Time (EST) Group Home Visiting Pick
    12:30 p.m. D Rubin Kazan Barcelona 3-1, Barcelona
    2:45 p.m. A Internazionale Werder Bremen 2-1, Inter
    Tottenham Hotspur FC Twente 2-1, Spurs
    B Hapoel Tel Aviv Olympique Lyonnais 1-1
    Schalke 04 Benfica 2-2
    C Valencia Manchester United 3-1, Valencia
    Rangers Bursaspor 1-1
    D Panathinaikos Copenhagen 1-0, Pana
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