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Real and Malaga make it perfect week for Spain

Mourinho declares Spanish champions are ‘back’ after fourth successive win

Image Credit: AFP
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema (top) celebrates after scoringagainst Ajax on Wednesday
Gulf News

Paris: Real Madrid and Malaga coasted to their second successive victories in the Champions League on Wednesday and rounded off a perfect four wins from four games for Spanish sides in this week’s matches.

Real hammered their by now traditional whipping boys Ajax 4-1 in Amsterdam — which included somewhat surprisingly Cristiano Ronaldo’s first ever Champions League hat-trick — while Malaga continued their impressive start to their maiden campaign with a 3-0 away win at Anderlecht.

Both Barcelona and Valencia had won their games on Tuesday with the latter side the only one not to have the full complement of six points from the two games.

Elsewhere two young players who would dream of having half the success Ronaldo has enjoyed made their own first historic mark for their clubs.

Italian Stephan El Shaarawy became AC Milan’s youngest ever Champions League scorer just weeks before he celebrates his 20th birthday with a superb individual goal in the Italian side’s fortunate 3-2 away win over ailing Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg.

Julian Draxler only turned 19 in September and he celebrated by scoring for Schalke 04 to become the youngest ever German scorer in the competition.

However, Montpellier striker Souleymane Camara put a dampener on the evening by scoring a 90th minute goal to force an unlikely 2-2 draw with the French side having been reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute.

Schalke’s disappointment was mirrored by Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund who outclassed Manchester City but found Joe Hart an obstacle to adding to a 1-0 lead and a late penalty by Mario Balotelli saw the hosts undeservedly share the spoils.

While Montpellier garnered their first point of the campaign the side they edged for the Ligue 1 title last season Paris Saint Germain failed to build on their opening win as they lost for the first time this season 1-0 away at Porto.

Real’s fifth successive win against Ajax in the past three seasons in the Champions League group stage had the Spanish champions coach Jose Mourinho in exultant mood.

“Real are back, it is the Real that beat Barcelona last season,” said Mourinho, whose side travel to Barcelona on Sunday for their first meeting of the season.

“It is the first time this season that the team has won three or four consecutive games, it is important for our objectives and our confidence.

“We must carry on like the way we are playing. We can’t win every game but when individual qualities transform themselves into collective qualities it is only normal the results follow.”

Both Schalke and Dortmund reflected on the three points they felt they deserved but instead had to make do with a point apiece.

“We played with too much fear,” was a typically frank admission by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who scored Schalke’s second goal.

Montpellier boss Rene Girard, though, felt that Schalke had got what they deserved.

“This team (Schalke) has disrespected us, starting with the coach.

“And when you don’t show respect, things like this happen.”

Dortmund’s goalscorer Marco Reus said that it was a bitter pill to swallow seeing Balotelli put away the City penalty late in the game.

“When you play like that you want to take away three points,” he said.

“That is very bitter, when you concede a penalty in the last minute. I don’t know if it should have been a penalty. We deserved to win the game.”

City manager Roberto Mancini admitted the point was not deserved and warned of consequences for the players.

“We didn’t play well. We need to run and fight for every ball. We need to fight. It’s not enough to have just a good quality.

“I know the problem and I will solve very quickly. If we don’t improve it will be difficult (to qualify) but this point could be important.”