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Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009

Owen hits hat trick against Wolfsburg

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Michael Owen scored a hat trick Wednesday to give injury-depleted Manchester United a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg and top spot in Group B of the Champions League.

Owen scored in the 44th, 83rd and 90th minutes to help United top the group with 13 points.

Edin Dzeko drew Wolfsburg level at 1-1 in the 56th, but the German club was eliminated after CSKA Moscow's 2-1 win at Besiktas.

CSKA was second in the group with 10 points, three more than Wolfsburg and six in front of Besiktas.

Owen used United's first real opportunity to put his team ahead. Nani crossed from the left, and Owen was left unmarked for an easy header.

Dzeko also scored with a header off a perfect cross from Marcel Schaefer, knocking in the ball at the near post.

Owen notched his second in the 83rd, after substitute Gabriel Obertan shook off two defenders and found the former England striker at the far post with a pinpoint cross.

With Wolfsburg throwing everything into attack, Owen chipped the ball over goalkeeper Diego Benaglio after a counterattack.

"Me getting three goals will probably grab the headlines, but it was a great team performance," Owen said. "I was playing deep with us having so many players out and we were trying to protect the back four."

With 14 regular first-team players absent through injury, United's only true defender was Patrice Evra and Wolfsburg tried to take advantage of the untested formation early in the game.

Michael Carrick, a midfielder playing center back, fouled Makoto Hasebe early in the match but Wolfsburg did not get a penalty.

"We should have gotten the call," Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh said. "I am very disappointed but my players gave it everything but we were not rewarded."

Wolfsburg's Andrea Barzagli headed over the crossbar in the 18th minute after a corner from Zvjezdan Misimovic, who then did the same a few minutes later when he had been left unmarked.

Hasebe had a good effort in the 42nd but goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak tipped it over the bar.

Madrid marches on

LONDON (AP) Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich clinched their places in the next round of the Champions League on Tuesday.

The trio, European champions a total 20 times between them, advanced after their final group matches.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to help record nine-time European champion Madrid win 3-1 at Marseille and take Group C from Milan, which needed a penalty by Ronaldinho to equalize for a 1-1 draw at FC Zurich.

Bayern advanced behind already-qualified Bordeaux in Group A with a 4-1 win at Juventus that eliminated the Italian side.

Ronaldo put Madrid ahead in the fifth minute with a 30-meter free kick before Marseille playmaker Lucho Gonzalez leveled from close range in the 11th.

Madrid defender Raul Albiol scored in the 60th and Ronaldo rounded off the scoring 10 minutes before the end following a mistake by Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

Madrid finished with 13 points, four more than Milan, which trailed until the 64th minute in Switzerland.

Zurich dominated much of the first half and led through Milan Gajic's 29th-minute free kick from 25 meters.

Milan was in real danger of missing out on the next round but Zurich defender Alain Rochat was sent of for a foul on Marco Borriello and Ronaldinho scored the resulting penalty.

Juventus looked to be on course for the next round when David Trezeguet put the Italian side ahead in the 19th, but Bayern got back in the match with a 30th-minute penalty by Joerg Butt — the goalkeeper's third in the Champions League.



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