MADRID: Tonight Real Madrid against Manchester United, Jose Mourinho against Sir Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo against Robin Van Persie provide the main course for this week’s Champions League second round banquet.
But Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, in both winning their first legs away from home last night to Celtic and Valencia respectively, provided tasty hors d’oeuvres.
In Glasgow Juventus proved ruthless in despatching Celtic 3-0, the Scots’ first home defeat to Italian opposition since 1969.
Efe Ambrose, who only arrived back in Glasgow only on Tuesday morning after African Nations Cup-winning duty with Nigeria, was the scapegoat. He was caught out for both Alessandro Matri’s third-minute opener and Mirko Vucinic’s concluding goal on 83 minutes.
Before Claudio Marchisio scored a second for Juventus, Ambrose also wasted Celtic’s best chance when he a popped a weak ‘free’ header straight at keeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Celtic, perhaps, made the mistake of believing their own publicity after the group win over Barcelona and thus Juventus extended their own unbeaten run in European matches to 17.
Ibrahimovic sent off
In southern Spain Paris Saint-Germain conceded a late goal and had Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off in stoppage time in a 2-1 win at Valencia but should still be confident of completing the qualifying job in two weeks’ time.
PSG, with new signing David Beckham watching from the stands, took the lead in the 10th minute through Ezequiel Lavezzi with Argentina team mate Javier Pastore adding a second two minutes before halftime.
Valencia improved after the break but did not pull back even the one goal until centre back Adil Rami volleyed home in the 90th minute. There was still time for the reckless Ibrahimovic to be shown a straight red card for a double lunge at defender Andres Guardado.
# # # #