Roberto Carlos saves face for shaky Real

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Real Madrid made a shaky start to their Champions' League defence when they had to come from two goals down to snatch a point at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday night.

Real Madrid made a shaky start to their Champions' League defence when they had to come from two goals down to snatch a point at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday night.

The defending European champions were given a fright, especially in the first half as their hosts virtually overran them.

Vicente Del Bosque's Real Madrid side fielded world record £38.5m signing Luis Figo but fell behind after 38 minutes to a Sa Pinto header. Four minutes later Sporting struck again when Andre Cruz converted a free-kick.

Roberto Carlos sparked Real into life with a trademark set piece of his own five minutes after the interval and 20 minutes from time Rui Jorge's own goal, deflecting a Raul shot, made it 2-2. Real could have snatched a winner but Figo's late effort went just wide.

"From our bench we thought we could decide things in the game's final moments," Del Bosque said. "But the result stands and it was a fair outcome."

The Russian champions, Spartak Moscow, beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0, with goals from Yegor Titov and Artyom Bezrodnyi, to go to the top of group A.

Claudio Lopez, signed from Valencia, loped through to give Lazio an immediate return on their £19m investment with the opener after 27 minutes against surprise qualifiers Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine. Czech international, Pavel Nedved, scored a second on the break and then set up Simone Inzaghi to make the group B game safe in the second half.

"This was the most beautiful match. We have done a good job and I am happy with the result," said Lazio's coach, Sven Goran Eriksson.

The Lazio defender Sinisa Mihajlovic will be out for a month after surgery yesterday to repair a fractured cheekbone suffered during Tuesday night's win, when he was elbowed by the Ukrainian forward Serhiy Atelkin as they battled for a header. Mihajlovic will miss Lazio's next two Champions' League matches and the opening game of the regular season in October.

In Group C, last year's beaten finalists Valencia secured a 3-2 win over the Greek side Olympiakos with goals by Ruben Baraja and Diego Alonso.

And the French side Lyon, making their debut in the competition, eased past Heerenveen with a 3-1 win.

Galatasaray threw away a two-goal lead against the French league champions, Monaco, in an eventful group D match in Turkey. Monaco eventually lost 3-2 with both sides ending up with 10 men.

Strikes by the Brazilian Mario Jardel and the veteran Romanian Gheorghe Hagi for Galatasaray were cancelled out by Monaco's Shabani Nonda and Marco Simone, from the penalty spot, in the second half.

Hagi was then sent off for elbowing, quickly followed by Monaco's Ousmane Dabo for a dangerous challenge. The defender Capone headed the winner for Galatasaray with 10 minutes left.

"The Champions' League is a test of character for teams and players and tonight's match showed this," said Galatasaray coach, Mircea Lucescu.

Ghent yesterday sacked their Dutch coach, Henk Houwaart, the day after the team crashed 6-0 at home to Ajax in a Uefa Cup first-round, first-leg match, Belga news agency reported. The cloub's assistant trainer, Herman Vermeulen, will take temporary control of affairs.

Houwaart took over at Ghent this summer after the Norwegian Trond Sollied moved to Club Bruges. Houwaart is the first managerial casualty in Belgium since the domestic season began five weeks ago.

Comments