Spanish contingent boosted by goal rush

uefa.com assesses the results of all the clubs in the UEFA Champions League this week with the four Spanish sides productive in front of goal and the English contenders buoyed by a clean sweep of victories.

Thierry Henry (right) scored a hat-trick for Barcelona against Valencia
Thierry Henry (right) scored a hat-trick for Barcelona against Valencia ©Getty Images

The four Spanish sides in the UEFA Champions League may have witnessed contrasting fortunes ahead of Matchday 6 but they all showed their quality in front of goal with each scoring at least three times at the weekend. However, results were the outstanding feature from the performances of the four English representatives as all recorded victories - a notable turnaround from their outings prior to the last set of group games when all of them failed to find the net.

English resilience
FC Barcelona led the way for the Liga contingent with a 4-0 success against Valencia CF although Club Atlético de Madrid outscored them in a 5-2 win at Real Sporting de Gijón. Villarreal CF and Real Madrid CF may be more concerned with their defensive frailties, though, as the Yellow Submarine drew 3-3 against Getafe CF and the capital club were defeated 4-3 by Sevilla FC. Conceding goals was not a worry for the English contenders with Liverpool FC the only side breached in their 3-1 win at Blackburn Rovers FC. Chelsea FC struck early to beat Bolton Wanderers FC 2-0 while a single strike sufficed for both Manchester United FC and Arsenal FC.

Group A
Bolton Wanderers FC 0-2 Chelsea FC
(Anelka 9, Deco 21)
Ray Wilkins (assistant first-team coach): We really had to show every aspect of football today – we had to fight, play football and win, and we've done all three. In the dressing room before the game, the attitude of the players was first class and the spirit was very high. The game was always going to be very competitive and that's what you expect when you play Bolton. We're really thrilled. Our away results have been first class, that's eight straight wins [this season] which is a superb record.
FC Girondins de Bordeaux 2-1 Valenciennes FC
(Chamakh 35, Cavenaghi 47; Pujol 43)
Laurent Blanc: I expected better from my team but one has to learn to accept that. It's easier to do so if you win. Until now, Bordeaux have been used to dominating games without winning them. This time round, the opposite was true. It is hardly reassuring, but I'm not worried. On Tuesday, it will be a different game and a different competition.
AC Chievo Verona 0-1 AS Roma
(Menez 69)
Luciano Spalletti: We know Menez has great skills. He only needs to play more for the team, and today he did it brilliantly. He played a great match overall. We need to continue on this path as we played a great game today in every respect. The team is in very good shape and we are proving it both in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League. The players did really well to keep going until they scored, despite having missed good chances earlier in the game.

CFR 1907 Cluj - No Match
Maurizio Trombetta: My only thoughts are directed towards this very tough match against Chelsea. I am not deaf or blind − I read the newspapers and notice that a replacement is being looked for but I have read all these things before. I can only say that I am proud of having got the opportunity to coach this team in the Champions League and that's why I want to thank the club president and the owner. I want to stay as coach here because I am proud of what I have achieved.

 

Group B
Skoda Xanthi FC 1-2 Panathinaikos FC
(Souanis 57; Gilberto 22, Rukavina 83)
Henk ten Cate: I want to congratulate my players. They deserve it because of the way they played. Anorthosis will get to rest one day more than us. It's a vital match for Greek football in general, but although we also applied to play on Friday we weren't allowed to.
S.S. Lazio 0-3 FC Internazionale Milano
(Samuel 2, Diakité 45og, Ibrahimović 55)
José Mourinho: We are a strong side and these players have a fantastic spirit. The race for the Scudetto is still long and open but I can say this team have everything to go all the way. In Europe we will give our best when we have to face strong opponents and real pressure. We did not play well in the group stage but I hope we will pick a very strong side in the next round to see the real Inter.
Karlsruher SC 1-0 Werder Bremen
(Buck 84)
Thomas Schaaf: We witnessed something we have witnessed too often already this season. We played an outstanding match last week then we perform as badly as we did today. I am not pleased with our performance. Karlsruhe offered everything they had to offer. They took the route that had to be taken. They deserved to win. I will have to take a closer look at Pizarro's chance to calmly analyse it.
APOEL FC 1-0 Anorthosis Famagusta FC
(Mirosavljević 63)
Temuri Ketsbaia: Congratulations to APOEL on their win. I do not have any complaints from my players because we are just at the beginning of the season, have played five big games away, and are still close at the top. Now we have a really important game in Athens because we want to either qualify for the next round of the Champions League or go through to the UEFA Cup. My players have given so much both in Cyprus and Europe so how could I not be satisfied with them?

 

Group C
FC Basel 1893 3-1 FC Aarau
(Ergić 3, Perović 49, Frei 67; Rogerio 44)
Christian Gross: It was anything but a certain win with three key players missing. Frei and Ergić did well in the centre and I thought Carlitos was outstanding in the second half after I had told him at the interval what I thought about him losing the ball during the first half. This makes me confident at the end of a long autumn full of football.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 FC Karpaty Lviv
(Gladkiy 67)
Mircea Lucescu: We could have won 5-0 but our players were too casual with their opportunities. We have only one game ahead of us this year - against Barcelona - and we are preparing very seriously. Maybe some of our players are thinking about their vacations but we have to keep up our level of performance.
FC Barcelona 4-0 Valencia CF
(Henry 20 28 79, Alves 46)
Josep Guardiola: We're scoring a lot of goals while not conceding many. There are always things we can improve on. We feel solid and we have very determined players but it's only 7 December and there is still a long way to go. Things are good now but bad moments will come too and I hope that when they do the fans will support us because we play for them, not for ourselves.
CF Estrela da Amadora 1-3 Sporting Clube de Portugal
(Anselmo 6; Izmailov 9, Liedson 51, Vukčević 77)
Paolo Bento: We had a few problems with their direct style of play during the first half. The scoreline was fair at the interval but we were better in the second half and controlled the game after scoring again.

 

Group D
PSV Eindhoven 4-2 FC Groningen
(Bakkal 55 57, Lazović 62 69; Berg 31, Lovre 45)
Huub Stevens: I don't know what was in their half-time tea! When you only start playing at 2-0 down you can get into a lot of trouble; luckily we didn't, as Groningen could have led 3-0 by the break. We took a risk with Nordin Amrabat as he's only supposed to be a back-up but because Danny Koevermans was missing, he came into the squad. He and Otman Bakkal gave a fantastic answer and took the others along in their slipstream.
Real Sporting de Gijón 2-5 Club Atlético de Madrid
(Bilić 3, Barral 63; Agüero 6 44, Forlán 54 80, Maxi Rodríguez 73)
Javier Aguirre: The game was open, joyous, and one that was enjoyed by the fans. A team like Sporting bring a lot of happiness to this league and their supporters should be very proud of them. We have to improve a lot at the back, in particular from dead-ball situations. Our intention is to make sure Club Atlético de Madrid is among the best teams in Europe every year and not just once every few seasons.
Olympique de Marseille 2-1 OGC Nice
(Echouafni 13og, Niang 45pen; Bamogo 48)
Erik Gerets: We deserved the win. We dominated for almost all the first half, and created a lot of chances. The team were clearly enjoying themselves. Tactically, we played as we had planned to play and the players carried out my instructions fully, which is always satisfying. In the second half, with Mamadou Niang off and the players getting tired, it was tougher and we were on the back foot too much.
Blackburn Rovers FC 1-3 Liverpool FC
(Santa Cruz 86; Alonso 69, Benayoun 79, Gerrard 90)
Rafael Benítez: We know Blackburn are a difficult team but we tried to keep possession and keep passing the ball. We didn't have many chances but in these kind of games, when the other team is fighting relegation, you know it will be physical and difficult but we were in control. We know we have some good midfielders, today we saw that and hopefully we will see it more in the future.

 

Group E
Manchester United FC 1-0 Sunderland AFC
(Vidić 90)
Sir Alex Ferguson: The way Sunderland were playing was no threat so we were able to leave Rio Ferdinand at the back on his own and it paid dividends. They had ten men behind the ball but we didn't have a lot of chances; it was difficult to break them down and it's unfortunate for them that we got the late goal. The fixture list has been horrendous for us but we've come through it well and we're in touching distance.
Villarreal CF 3-3 Getafe CF
(Pirès 55, Eguren 83, Rossi 86; Granero 10, Gavilán 18, Casquero 29)
Manuel Pellegrini: It wasn't just Getafe who had chances in the first half, we had our moments too. In the second half we converted three of the many opportunities we created and could have ended up winning the game. The point we got could be seen as positive when you consider we were 3-0 down but for the sacrifices we made it feels like a poor return.
Hibernian FC 2-0 Celtic FC
(Rankin 55, Nish 69)
Gordon Strachan: If you can come here and restrict Hibs to basically no chances and a speculative shot from 45 yards then you've done a lot right. We had loads of chances to finish them off but we wanted to walk the ball into the back of the net. It's not often you feel comfortable here but for an hour I felt comfortable.
Randers FC 1-2 Aalborg BK
(Pedersen 57; Saganowski 36, Risgård 71)
Allan Kuhn: The fact that we can win at Randers – an extremely difficult away ground – emphasises our class and strength at the moment. We have a real winning mentality in the team; everyone believes in our ability to win. And then we have a player, Kasper Risgård, who can really smell a goal. There is nothing unusual about him scoring any more!

 

Group F
FC Steaua Bucureşti 1-4 Romania A (friendly)
(Arthuro 29; Bucur 48 51 75, Bicfalvi 65)
Dorinel Munteanu: It would be fantastic to finish the group stage with a win. I know how tough it will be and how difficult it is to reach third place but I am confident that we can do it, especially because the players are totally committed to playing in the UEFA Cup. I don't think that my fate as head coach depends on this match. For the moment I am not thinking about winter transfers – my mind is only at the match against Fiorentina. However, I can guarantee that next year Steaua will play a totally different, high quality game.
FC Bayern München 2-1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
(Lahm 60, Toni 90; Ibišević 49)
Jürgen Klinsmann: It was a hard fought game from both sides. It's great, of course, that we were able to win the match in the end. Hoffenheim are the best team we have played in the Bundesliga this season. But we had enough chances to score the second earlier in the game.
FC Nantes 2-1 Olympique Lyonnais
(Klasnić 60pen 89; Piquionne 43)
Claude Puel: We had a team that was capable of winning this match and we proved it for much of the game. That's why it's such a shame to have let three points slip through our grasp. We have to have a much better hold on the game to see it through to the finish. We have proved that we can cope with the absence of these two players [Juninho Pernambucano and Karim Benzema]. It's the media who hype up the situation, but we take no notice of that.
Torino FC 1-4 ACF Fiorentina
(Rosina 77pen; Mutu 3, Gilardino 43 84, Kuzmanović 75)
Cesare Prandelli: We were lucky to score after just three minutes and everything changed as we gained confidence and enthusiasm. We want to keep playing better and better because we have a huge margin for improvement. Mutu is very important for us, probably the start of our season would have been better if he had always been healthy.

 

Group G
Vitória FC 0-3 FC Porto
(Alves 65, Guarín 67, Lucho González 80)
Jesualdo Ferreira: We started off well but as the first half progressed we lost our composure despite managing to create a few chances. In the second half, we were much better and the players showed that they are very fit. We won a very difficult match but made it look easy. The team is becoming more confident. The Portuguese league is our main objective but now we face Arsenal and we want to win to secure top spot in the group.
Denizlispor 0-1 Fenerbahçe SK
(Emre 60)
Luis Aragonés: We played badly in the first half during which the game was balanced. We began the second half with a good rhythm and even before Emre and Deivid came on, we had started looking for a goal. Emre's goal came just at the right time. After the goal, we had three or four chances we could have converted.
FC Illychivets Mariupil 3-4 FC Dynamo Kyiv
(Krivoshenko 63 pen, Ivaschenko 79, Mikhalik 86 og; Bangoura 16, Milevskiy 23, Aliyev 39, Ghioane 75)
Yuri Semin: With the score at 3-0, the boys lost concentration and Illychivets created quite a few chances. We're very pleased with the win because the three points mean we finish the first half of the season in top spot. That's very important for us. Now, we must start preparing for the Fenerbahçe game.
Arsenal FC 1-0 Wigan Athletic FC
(Adebayor 16)
Arsène Wenger: It became nervy because we didn't score the second goal. Wigan defended very well but I must praise my team because they played with great focus. We had some chances and hit the post twice but I'm happy. We've won against Dynamo, Chelsea and now Wigan and the fluidity is coming back. The biggest thing today was that we felt nervous because any mistake would cost us the points and we're in a position where we can't afford that.

 

Group H
US Lecce 1-2 Juventus
(Cacia 84; Giovinco 56, Amauri 89)
Claudio Ranieri: It was a very important victory because we knew it was a difficult game. Lecce scored a great goal to equalise but our team never give up and managed to score again before the final whistle. Giovinco played a great game, not only for his goal but because he was always dangerous for the Lecce defence. I'm very satisfied with the performances of our youngsters.
FC Zenit St. Petersburg - No Match
Dick Advocaat: I discussed the Madrid match with my assistant Cornelius Pot recently. It is very pleasant to finish our season with a match against such opponents. That is the index of our achievements for the last two-and-a-half years. We come to this game in fine mood. I think every player of our team wants to prove himself in this game. To play at such a stadium and against such opponents - you hardly can desire anything else.
Real Madrid CF 3-4 Sevilla FC
(Raúl 19, Higuaín 67, Gago 69; Adriano 3, Romaric 22, Kanouté 38, Renato 85)
Bernd Schuster: My players gave their all; we just needed a little luck. I don't think we made any tactical errors. Their first two goals came from crosses we should have dealt with but didn't mark properly; that hurt us. At least we showed we are capable of mounting a comeback, though, and we had chances to win.
Frosinone Calcio 0-1 FC BATE Borisov (friendly)
(Sivakov 7)
Viktor Goncharenko: Our opponents turned out to be a disciplined and a focused team. They were solid without taking unnecessary risk. I am satisfied with our overall performance. Besides our goal we had at least two more clear goalscoring opportunities wasted by Kryvets and Nekhaychik. The main thing, however, was that we kept ourselves in good form before the Juventus game.

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