Antonio Valencia struck a late winner as Manchester United maintained their 100 per cent record in Champions League Group B with a 1-0 victory at CSKA Moscow.
Chances had been at a premium on the artificial surface of the Luzhniki Stadium — scene of United’s final victory over Chelsea in 2008 — but United finished strongly and deserved their win. Valencia, who celebrated his first United goal last weekend, doubled his tally for the club five minutes from time, moments after rattling the crossbar with a fierce drive. The Ecuador winger latched onto a downward header from Dimitar Berbatov to lash home the winner from a tight angle. Nani had earlier gone close with a firm header from a Gary Neville cross while a bouncing 35-yard effort from Paul Scholes in the first half forced goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to save.
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United, who are now well on course for a place in the knockout stages with a maximum nine points and can now look forward to Sunday’s Premier League trip to troubled rivals Liverpool in high spirits. Meanwhile, Wolfsburg are second in the group with four points, despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Turkish side Besiktas, who picked up their first points of the competition. Edin Dzeko was the chief culprit, missing at least three glorious chances to break the deadlock for the German champions, who had the Bosnian’s strike partner Grafite sent off in the 74th-minute for lashing out at Ibrahim Kas as the pair jostled as they waited for a corner. It was a good night for English football, as Chelsea put themselves on the brink of qualification for the knock-out stages with a thumping 4-0 Group D home victory over struggling Spanish side Atletico Madrid. The London side now have nine points from three games and have yet to concede a goal in European action this season. Salomon Kalou, in for Didier Drogba who was serving the final match of his three-match European ban, opened the scoring four minutes before the break. Frank Lampard’s pass to Ashley Cole was dummied brilliantly by Michael Ballack and when the England left-back delivered his cross into the six-yard box, Kalou pounced to fire into the roof of the net. And, Ivory Coast striker Kalou also supplied the second goal when he rose highest to head home a corner from Lampard. Lampard ended his recent goal drought by scoring only his second of the season in the 69th minute, a typical 20-yard low drive which beat goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo at his near post. Chelsea finished off the night with a late fourth when Luis Perea headed Florent Malouda’s free-kick into his own net. Porto tightened their grip on second place in the group, but they made life more difficult than it needed to be in a 2-1 home win over APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus. Two goals from striker Hulk, the second a penalty early in the second half, secured three points for the Portuguese champions who had fallen behind against the run of play. Porto threatened to win convincingly but rarely did their finishing match their build-up play, and when Mariano Gonzalez was sent off with 15 minutes remaining it could have been costly. However, Porto clung to their lead and now have six points from three matches, plus a re-match against their opponents to come. APOEL took a shock 21st minute lead when Nuno Morais delivered a hopeful cross from the left and defender Alvaro Perreira stuck out a boot to turn the ball past his own goalkeeper Helton. The hosts levelled 12 minutes later when Falcao seized on a loose ball after some wretched APOEL defending and fed a simple pass to Hulk, who stroked the ball left-footed into the bottom right corner. Porto were then gifted a penalty in the second minute of the second half when a cross from the left bounced before brushing Marios Elia’s arm — and Hulk calmly slotted home. But Porto suffered a nervy last 15 minutes when Gonzalez was dramatically sent off for appearing to elbow APOEL’s Marinos Satsias.