GENEVA (AP) ― Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic warmed up for their World Cup playoffs meeting with big games for Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Ronaldo had two goals in Madrid’s 2-1 home victory over Juventus in the marquee matchup of the day, and Ibrahimovic scored four times ― including an unstoppable long-range strike ― to help PSG outclass Anderlecht 5-0 in Brussels.
Defending champion Bayern Munich routed Viktoria Plzen 5-0, and Bayer Leverkusen topped Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0.
|Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung-min (right) and Donetsk’s Fernando challenge for the ball on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)|
Madrid, PSG and Bayern all lead their groups with three straight wins, and Manchester United has a one-point lead over Leverkusen after edging Real Sociedad 1-0.
Manchester City also won, 2-1 at CSKA Moscow, though the main talking point was racist abuse targeted by Russian fans at City’s black players and reported by City’s Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure.
The incident happened during a weeklong UEFA campaign to highlight its fight against racism and CSKA faces a partial stadium closure for a future home match.
Galatasaray beat Copenhagen 3-1, with Wesley Sneijder and Dider Drogba adding to Wednesday’s star-studded list of scorers, and Benfica leveled late in a 1-1 draw with Olympiakos.
Three weeks ahead of a scheduled first-leg clash in the Portugal vs. Sweden playoff, Ronaldo now leads Ibrahimovic 7-6 atop the Champions League scoring table after three matches.
Ronaldo took only four minutes to strike against Juventus, rounding goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to score from a tight angle after taking a clever reverse pass from Angel Di Maria.
Juventus was level in the 22nd when Spanish forward Fernando Llorente pounced on the loose ball after Iker Casillas dived low to push out Paul Pogba’s far-post header.
Ronaldo got the winning goal in the 29th from the penalty spot after Giorgio Chiellini wrestled Sergi Ramos to the ground as a free-kick cross came in.
Chiellini was red-carded in the 48th when he raced alongside Ronaldo and caught the Madrid forward’s face with a raised arm.
Ibrahimovic fell one goal short of Lionel Messi’s Champions League record of five in a match, yet was no less memorable.
A 17th minute tap-in was followed by a nonchalant back-heel in the 22nd, a long-range screamer in the 36th and a dipping volley in the 62nd.
The French champion’s fourth was scored by Uruguay star Edinson Cavani who, not for the first time this season, was somewhat left in the shadows.
Bayern outgunned Czech champion Plzen, as expected, with Ribery opening the scoring from the penalty spot. David Alaba made it 2-0 at the break, and a second-half stroll was completed by Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and substitute Mario Goetze.
Man City was frustrated soon after arriving in Moscow by the poor condition of the green-painted pitch, and left angered by home fans’ treatment of its black players.
“For me as an African player it is always sad to hear something like that and we need to do something about it,” said Toure, who said he informed referee Ovidiu Hategan of the abuse during the match.
Sergio Aguero eased the visitors’ mood with two goals in the first half, carrying City clear of CSKA into second place behind Bayern.
Manchester United took just 69 seconds to score against Sociedad, when Inigo Martinez clumsily booted the ball into his own net after a shot by Wayne Rooney came back off the post.
United created ample chances to extend itsr lead, though the Spanish visitors struck the frame of David De Gea’s goal in both halves.
Stefan Kiessling scored two valid goals for Leverkusen in his first game since being credited with an infamous “ghost goal” through the sidenetting in a Bundesliga match. Simon Rolfes, with a penalty early in the second half, and Sidney Sam also scored.