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Friday, Nov. 27, 2009

Besiktas halts Man United's home win streak in CL

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United's 23-match unbeaten Champions League home run ended in a 1-0 loss to Besiktas on Wednesday night, sending the battle for top spot in Group B down to the final match.

Rodrigo Tello scored in the 20th minute to keeping alive the Turkish club's hopes of progressing against an under-strength United, which had already qualified for the knockout stage.

Tello's 30-meter shot took a slight deflection off United defender Rafael Da Silva and dipped and bounced beyond goalkeeper Ben Foster to give Besiktas its first win in the group.

"The whole world knows how big a team United is at Old Trafford, so we are very pleased," Besiktas coach Mustafa Denizli said. "We came here with only one aim, and that was to win as we want to continue our journey in Europe.

"It is a very good night for Besiktas and Turkish football in general. I believe in this team but we need to win our next game in the group as well."

United hadn't lost at Old Trafford since AC Milan triumphed in February 2005 en route to the final, but manager Alex Ferguson wasn't making any excuses.

"We were a bit anxious but it's not a bad thing — they're young and you expect them to make mistakes," Ferguson said. "It was a stellar performance in terms of the flow of the game.

"We've shown some really good things tonight and that's encouraging but at the end of the day we just didn't get the result we needed."

Leading the attack were 18-year-old forwards Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda, who was denied a stoppage-time equalizer by Rustu Recber's fine save.

United still has a three-point lead over Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow, which beat the German club 2-1 in Moscow.

United, which will secure top spot with a draw at Wolfsburg on Dec. 8, leads the group with 10 points. Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow each have seven points. Besiktas has four.

In other Champions League action, AC Milan moved closer to the second round with a 1-1 tie against Marseille, Bordeaux defeated visiting Juventus 2-0 to put the Italian club in danger of elimination and Chelsea won 1-0 at Porto on Nicolas Anelka's goal in the 69th minute to clinch first place in its group.

Cristiano Ronaldo entered as a 70th-minute substitute as Real Madrid beat visiting Zurich 1-0 on Gonzalo Higuain's goal in the 21st. The winger, sidelined by an injured ankle, hadn't appeared in a match since Portugal's World Cup qualifier on Oct. 10 and hadn't played for his Spanish club since Sept. 30.

In Milan, Marco Borriello put the home team ahead in the 10th minute, but Lucho Gonzalez tied the score in the 16th.

Real Madrid (3-1-1) leads Group C with 10 points, followed by AC Milan (2-1-2) with eight, Marseille (2-2-1) with seven and Zurich (1-4) with three.

Bordeaux (4-0-1) clinched first place in Group A on goals by Fernando Menegazzo in the 54th minute and Marouane Chamakh in second-half injury time.

Juventus (2-1-2) is second with eight points, one ahead of Bayern Munich (2-2-1), which closes at Juventus on Dec. 8.

Bayern Munich defeated visiting Maccabi Haifa 1-0 on Ivica Olic's goal off a rebound in the 62nd minute.

Chelsea (4-0-1) and Porto (3-2) had already clinched berths in Group D. In a match between eliminated teams, Atletico Madrid (0-2-3) gained a 1-1 tie at APOEL Nicosia (0-3-2).

Suspect clubs named

NYON , Switzerland (AP) Five clubs in Albania, Latvia, Slovenia and Hungary are suspected in European soccer's biggest match-fixing investigation.

The European soccer governing body identified the clubs Wednesday as KF Tirana (Albania), KS Vllaznia (Albania), FC Dinaburg (Latvia), NK IB Llubljana (Slovenia) and Honved (Hungary). They allegedly fixed seven qualifying round games in the Champions League and Europa League between July 16 and Aug. 6.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino described match-fixing as a "cancer we need to eradicate." He said the seven matches were among 40 in continental club competitions previously identified as being under suspicion.

About 200 matches are being investigated in a criminal probe led from Bochum, Germany.

Infantino said UEFA opened its own investigation into the activities of three referees and one official connected to UEFA.



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