Manchester clubs restore stroke of dignity after Champions League victories

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Wednesday night saw another action packed night of European football with goals in abundance, a flurry of own goals, red cards and penalties, as both Manchester sides did what Arsenal and Chelsea failed to do the night before.

The two London outfits succumbed to defeats against Olympiacos and FC Porto respectively, whilst Manchester City and United both turned over their respective opponents two goals to one.

Louis van Gaal's team faced a Wolfsburg side who infamously conceded five goals in nine minutes just over a week ago against Bayern Munich - or Robert Lewandowski, rather. 


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The visitor's came to Old Trafford in shaky form but shocked the United faithful with an early goal, Antonio Valencia playing Daniel Caligiuri onside in the fourth minute and the striker calmly slotting the ball past a helpless David de Gea.

Juan Mata went on to win and score a penalty for the home side 30 minutes later as he continued his fine goalscoring form, sending both teams into half-time on level pegging.

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The Red Devils began the second half with more intent as Mata produced a piece of magic to leave Chris Smalling with space to duly finish in the 53rd minute, putting Van Gaal's side ahead.

Overall, United can feel pleased with their night - they gained three much-needed points in their group, leaving all four teams equal going into the third round of fixtures in the group.

The Citizens, on the other hand, travelled to Germany to face a Borussia Monchengladbach side struggling in the Bundesliga so far this year.

Like United, City also felt instant pressure from the Germans, who threatened early and if not for the heroics of keeper Joe Hart, the English side might have been three goals down before half-time.

England's no.1 pulled off a superb save from a Raffael penalty before denying Hermann and another clear chance for Raffael.

Fans, though, will be once again scratching their heads at the purpose of the fifth official after yet more suspect decisions - the referee seemingly had no help from his assistant when he arguably got two penalty claims wrong for the German's and then missed Demichelis' shot which was clearly a yard over the line.

Fortunately for City, however, summer signing Nicolas Otamendi thumped the ball past Yann Sommer, courtesy of a deflection, just past the hour mark. The equaliser gave Manuel Pellegrini's men the impetus they needed to seek victory, with Aguero fouled in the box in the dying embers of the game.

The Argentine, to City fans' delight, duly dispatched a cool penalty past Sommer to secure all three points.

It's no secret that English clubs seem to have lost the grip that they once had on European football, and with the prospect of losing a Champions League spot to Serie A looming, the Premier League will be looking to the north to carry the flag, whilst London's representatives continue to struggle.

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UEFA Champions League
Premier League
Manchester United
Manchester City

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