Chelsea have won their opening Champions League Phase 2, Group D game against Feyenoord of Holland 3-1 at Stamford Bridge tonight with ease. Celestine Babayaro, Chelsea's left-back, got the opening goal - his second of the season - after sustained periods of Chelsea pressure and what must have been close to an unprecedented amount of corners for one half of a game. That gave Chelsea the half-time lead they deserved despite the heroics of the Feyenoord 'keeper. They went on to score two further goals in the second half, both through Tor-Andre Flo, the second of which was set up by a defence splitting backheal from Gianfranco Zola. Feyenoord did manage to pull a late goal back – totally against the run of play – when Cruz took advantage of a Marcel Desailly poor first touch on 90 minutes.
In the other game in Group D Lazio have beaten Marseille 2-0. The goals came from Stankovic and Conceicao. In Group C Real Madrid defeated Dynamo Kiev 2-1 – Morientes and Raul putting Madrid ahead and Rebrov scoring a late penalty for the Russians. Rosenborg and Bayern Munich finished 1-1, Skammelsrud getting the Rosenborg goal after Jancker had put the Germans ahead.
There was disappointment last night for Manchester United in the competition. Their trip to Florence proved fruitless as Fiorentina beat the defending champions by 2 goals to nil but its Valencia who top the group after a 3-0 win over Bordeaux. A poor back-pass from Roy Keane gave Gabriel Batistuta the opportunity to open the scoring with a clinical finish after 24 minutes in the Stadio Comunale Artemio Franchi. Then in the 51st minute, Henning Berg lost possession to Batistuta and the Argentine hitman set up his compatriot Abel Balbo for Fiorentina's second goal.
Jaap Stam refused to blame Keane and Berg for what was United's heaviest defeat in the Champions League since 1994. It was exactly five years to the night since United crashed 3-1 in Gothenburg, which was the last time they lost by two goals.
Fiorentina, who have won just one Serie A match in two months, deserved their victory and their performance was a vast improvement on their two displays against Arsenal in the first phase. Fiorentina are now second in Group B behind Valencia, on three points, but coach Giovanni Trapattoni claims it is far too early to start dreaming of a place in the quarter-finals. “It is going to be very difficult for us in Manchester, Valencia and in Bordeaux,” he said.
Manchester United's European Championship odds have now been lengthened from 11-2 to 7-1 by William Hill who make Barcelona 5-2 favourites and also offer 100-30 Lazio, 8-1 Chelsea, 9-1 Real Madrid, 11-1 Bayern Munich, 12-1 Valencia, 14-1 Fiorentina.