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Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009

Ronaldo at the double as Real hits five past Zurich

LONDON (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo had a successful Champions League debut for Real Madrid, scoring twice Wednesday night in a 5-2 victory at Zurich.

"I never feel pressure," Ronaldo said. "I just work to score goals. I scored two and I'm really pleased for that, but the important thing is to win games."

Manchester United, his former team, won its opener 1-0 at Besiktas, and AC Milan gained a 2-1 victory in heavy rain at Olympique Marseille.

The reigning FIFA player of the year, Ronaldo scored with free kicks in the 27th and 89th minutes of the Group C match, with the second going in off goalkeeper Johnny Leoni, who tried to clear it with a punch. Real Madrid, a nine-time champion, also got goals from Raul Gonzalez in the 34th, Gonzalo Higuain in first-half injury time and Jose Maria "Guti" Gutierrez in second-half injury time.

"We must not lose concentration," Real coach Manuel Pelligrini said. "There are always things to improve on but I'm happy we scored five goals."

Xavier Margairaz converted a 64th-minute penalty kick for Zurich, which also got a goal from Silvan Aegerter's header one minute later.

"Real was for sure a little bit in fear of us. At 3-2 anything is possible," Leoni said. "If they want to win the Champions League they will have to play better."

In Istanbul, Paul Scholes scored with 13 minutes remaining for Manchester United, the 2008 champion.

"It was difficult," United captain Gary Neville said. "They create an atmosphere over here like no other country."

It was a slow start to the European season for United, which lost last season's final 2-0 to Barcelona.

"Being the first game, you always want to win that, but I was quite comfortable with the performance," United manager Alex Ferguson insisted. "I thought they did quite well most of the time, kept good possession."

In Marseille, Filippo Inzaghi scored for Milan in the 28th and 74th minutes of the Group C encounter. Gabriel Heinze headed in Marseille's goal in the 49th.

"Tonight we saw the difference between a good French league team and a very big team in Europe," Marseille defender Souleymane Diawara said.

Bayern Munich won 3-1 at Maccabi Haifa as Thomas Muller scored twice and Daniel Van Buyten once. Vincenzo Iaquinta scored for Juventus, but Jaroslav Plasil got the equalizer for visiting Bordeaux in a 1-1 tie in the other Group A match.

Chelsea beat visiting Porto 1-0 on a goal by Nicolas Anelka in Group D, and Atletico Madrid was held to a 0-0 tie at home by APOEL Nicosia. Chelsea captain John Terry went down after Bruno Alves' elbow crashed into his face while they went for a ball in the air. Terry was knocked out for 10 seconds, but recovered to finish the match.

"I went out for a little bit, but managed to come round," Terry said. "It's a little bit sore still."

On a rain-soaked Stamford Bridge pitch, Anelka struck three minutes into the second half to see off the Portuguese champions on an unimpressive night for Chelsea.

"It was a great result, we weren't at our best tonight but it was a difficult night and we got the win," midfielder Frank Lampard said. "You can't always play top, top football. The ball was skidding about, some of our passing went astray, but we've had to stay strong and win the game — and that's what we did."

Wolfsburg won 3-0 at home against CSKA Moscow in Group B with three goals by Grafite.

The Brazilian striker, who led the Bundesliga last season with 28 goals, scored in the 36th minute and doubled the lead in the 41st by converting a penalty. CSKA rallied in the second half through Alan Dzagoev in the 76th, but Grafite secured the victory in the 86th.

"It was a perfect evening — first Champions League game and first victory," Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko said.

Wolfsburg plays at Manchester United on Sept. 30 in the next round of group matches.



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