Real Madrid took a big step toward reaching the second round of the Champions League with a 2-0 home win over Group G rivals AC Milan on Tuesday night, while Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Arsenal also maintained their perfect start to Europe’s premier club competition.
Real were beaten at home by the Italian side in the group stage last season, but the Spanish league leaders are now a different proposition under new coach Jose Mourinho, who led Inter Milan to final glory in May.
The game was virtually over after only 14 minutes as Cristiano Ronaldo and Mezut Ozil scored within 60 seconds of each other.
Ronaldo followed up his weekend double against Malaga with a free-kick that went straight through the middle of a poor defensive wall, leaving unsighted goalkeeper Marco Amelia with no chance. It was his fifth goal in three matches.
The world’s most expensive player then broke down the left and passed inside to Germany midfielder Ozil, whose shot took a wicked deflection off Daniele Bonera and looped over Amelia into the net.
Milan went close to pulling a goal back in the 29th minute, but keeper Iker Casillas did well to tip Andrea Pirlo’s fierce free-kick onto the crossbar.
Real could not translate their attacking dominance into more goals, and in the 83rd minute needed captain Casillas to stop former Madrid forward Robinho from setting up a tense finale after coming on to replace Ronaldinho.
Dutch side Ajax moved level with Milan on six points after beating Auxerre 2-1 at home in a match which saw three players sent off in the second half.
Netherlands midfielder Demy de Zeeuw fired the four-time champions ahead in the seventh minute and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez made it 2-0 four minutes before halftime.
But Ajax were reduced to 10 men in the 56th minute when defender Andre Ooijer brought down Dennis Oliech, allowing and Slovenia international Valter Birsa to score from the subsequent free-kick.
However, Auxerre’s hopes of earning a first point — and perhaps a place in the Europa League — faded when Oliech received his second yellow card for handball.
Substitute Jean-Pascal Mignot did not even get on the field as he was ordered from the bench for dissent.
German champions Bayern Munich needed two-own goals from Romania’s CFR Cluj in order to come from behind and seal a 3-2 home victory in Group E.
Ricardo Cadu headed the visitors in front in the 28th minute, but the Portuguese defender deflected a shot by Toni Kroos into his own net four minutes later and teammate Cristian Panin did the same from Holger Badstuber’s effort on 37.
Germany striker Mario Gomez made it 3-1 from close range with 13 minutes to play for a Bayern side missing several key players before Argentine midfielder Emmanuel Culio scored a late consolation for Cluj, who suffered a second defeat.
Swiss side Basel made it three teams on three points with a 3-1 victory away to previously second-placed Roma.
Alexander Frei put the visitors ahead in the 12th minute after being set up by a header from strike partner Marco Streller, but Italy forward Marco Borriello leveled nine minutes later from Francesco Totti’s first-time throughball.
Ghana fullback Samuel Inkoom restored Basel’s lead just before the break with a fierce shot, while Roma’s Rodrigo Taddei hit the post after the interval before substitute Cabral sealed victory in injury-time.
Chelsea clinched a third successive victory in Group F with a 2-0 victory away to previously unbeaten Spartak Moscow in Tuesday’s opening match.
Russia international Yuri Zhirkov chose the perfect time to score his first goal for the English Premier League champions, lashing home a left-foot volley in the 24th minute after the home defense failed to properly clear a long ball forward.
Nicolas Anelka doubled the lead just before halftime after Michael Essien won the ball in midfield and set him free, with the former France striker making up for wasting a similar earlier opportunity.
French side Marseille kept alive hopes of reaching the second round, beating Slovakia’s MSK Zilina to register their first points.
Senegal defender Souleymane Diawara headed the only goal four minutes after halftime for the 1993 champions.
Arsenal top Group H after crushing main rivals Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 at home, with captain Cesc Fabregas marking his return from injury with a second-half penalty.
Alexandre Song and Samir Nasri netted in the first half before Spain midfielder Fabregas struck from the penalty spot on the hour mark.
Young midfielder Jack Wilshere and striker Marouane Chamakh made it three goals in less than 10 minutes before Croatia striker Edoardo came off the bench to score against his former club in the 82nd minute.
Portugal’s Sporting Braga won the battle of the group’s two pointless teams, winning 2-0 at home to Partizan Belgrade.
Lima’s long-range free-kick put the competition debutants ahead 10 minutes before halftime, while fellow Brazilian striker Matheus condemned the Serbian side to a third successive defeat from a counter-attack in the final minute.