Last season’s losing finalists Manchester United opened their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win away to Besiktas, while Wolfsburg beat CSKA Moscow 3-1 in Tuesday night’s other Group B clash.
United made the daunting trip to Istanbul without England defender Rio Ferdinand, who is believed to have a groin problem following his comeback last weekend, and started with only one striker in Wayne Rooney. Once again they missed the creativity of the departed Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice on his European debut for Real Madrid in Zurich on the same night, and needed a 77th minute winner from Paul Scholes to take the points. The veteran midfielder, who will miss this weekend’s Manchester derby due to his red card in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Tottenham, headed home after Nani’s shot was only parried by Besiktas goalkeeper Hakan Arikan. Summer signing Michael Owen should have doubled the lead, but the substitute poked wide from close range. United manager Alex Ferguson revealed after the match that his players had been targeted with a laser light by at least one of the Turkish side’s fans.
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“It was in the first half, although thankfully the police did something about it,” he said. “They managed to get the culprit, which is good because I noticed it particularly on Jonny Evans. It seemed to be on him all the time.” Ferguson refused to criticize Rooney for throwing his boots down in disgust after being substituted. “It was always part of our thoughts to bring Wayne off,” Ferguson said. “He had been playing as the lone striker for an hour, which is why he was always going to come off. “He is never pleased to come off. He has so much energy he wants to play all the time.” German champions Wolfsburg shrugged off their poor Bundesliga form to crush Juande Ramos’ CSKA Moscow at the Volkswagen Arena, with striker Grafite scoring a hat-trick. The Brazilian netted the opener in clinical style in the 35th minute as he slotted through the legs of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev after being set clear by Zvjezdan Misimovic. He made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 40th minute after being tugged back in the box by CSKA defender Deividas Semberas. Alan Dzagoev conjured a goal out of nothing to reduce the deficit in the 77th minute, but Grafite settled the match 10 minutes later when he received the ball from Marcel Schafer, turned Alexei Berezutsky and slotted into the net. In Group A, Juventus were held 1-1 at home by French champions Bordeaux, while Bayern Munich continued their recent revival with a 3-0 win away to Israeli side Maccabi Haifa. Vincenzo Iaquinta gave Juventus the lead in the 63rd minute when he beat goalkeeper Ulrich Rame at the near post with a low shot after being found on the righthand side of the penalty area by Fabio Cannavaro. Bordeaux leveled somewhat against the run of play in the 75th minute as Jaroslav Plasil bundled a flicked header from Fernando Menegazzo over the line from close range despite appeals for offside from the Turin crowd. Claudio Marchisio should have given Juve victory with two minutes left but hit the crossbar, and the Bianconeri had to settle for a draw. Young forward Thomas Muller has now scored four goals for Bayern in the last two matches after netting another brace in Israel. Muller, who turned 20 at the weekend after scoring twice as a substitute in the 5-1 drubbing of Borussia Dortmund, started up front in a three-pronged attack alongside Ivica Olic and Arjen Robben as summer signing Mario Gomez missed out. Olic had a first-half header ruled out for offside, but defender Daniel van Buyten broke the deadlock in the 64th minute after Maccabi failed to deal with Anatoliy Tymoschuk’s high cross. Olic had another header cleared off the line before Muller sealed the match with his late double — first firing home from the edge of the penalty area after being found by Andreas Ottl, then converting a cross at the near post from Gomez, who had come on to replace Franck Ribery.