Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (right) celebrates after scoring against Anderlecht during their Champions League match at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels.
Manchester, England: An early own goal by Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez gave Manchester United a 1-0 victory in their Champions League encounter at Old Trafford yesterday and sent the English club top of Group A.
Wayne Rooney did all the hard work to create the second-minute opener and watched as his shot crashed off the far post and into the path of Martinez who inexplicably directed the ball into his own net.
United failed to capitalise on their Rooney-inspired dominance, giving Sociedad confidence they could still get something from the game but despite twice hitting the woodwork the La Liga side left empty handed.
Victory gives United seven points from three matches, while Sociedad have yet to pick up a point and look highly unlikely to progress from the group.
United had aimed to create a noisy atmosphere at Old Trafford by trying out a new ‘singing section’ of the stadium but they did not need it as their flying start raised the decibels from the off.
Rooney’s skill in weaving his way past several defenders fully deserved a goal and while his blistering shot crashed against the far post, an apparently panic-stricken Martinez was on hand to turn the rebound into his own net.
Watched by former manager Alex Ferguson, who has grabbed all the headlines in the build-up to this match following the release of his autobiography, David Moyes’ men did as much as they could to try to turn the spotlight back on them.
Rooney went for the spectacular with an overhead kick that would have been like the goal of the season he scored against Manchester City in 2011 but it flew well off target, while Javier Hernandez had a header disallowed for offside.
The visitors finally tested United keeper David De Gea half an hour into the game when Ryan Giggs was dispossessed by Haris Seferovic near the halfway line and the Sociedad striker charged forward and his shot from 25 metres out was tipped over the bar.
Sensing an opportunity, with United having failed to stretch their lead despite their early dominance, Sociedad went close again just before halftime when Antoine Griezmann smashed a free kick over the wall and against the post.
United, whose teamsheet had featured the surprise omission of striker Robin van Persie who Moyes later said was struggling with some knocks, started the second half with Phil Jones forcing a save from Claudio Bravo to keep his header out.
The hosts then hit the far post with a low Antonio Valencia effort shortly after Sociedad had left De Gea raising his eyebrows in surprise that a cross from Alberto de la Bella had rattled his bar.
United, only too aware that a one-goal lead is too slender having conceded in the 89th minute at home to Southampton in the Premier League at the weekend to draw 1-1, endured a nail-biting end to the match as yet more decent chances went begging in the match.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four times - including a breathtaking 25-metre half-volley that capped a 19-minute hat-trick - as Paris St Germain humbled Anderlecht 5-0 in their Group C match.
The Sweden international struck after 17, 22 and 36 minutes - the eighth quickest treble in Champions League history - and added PSG’s fifth just past the hour to lead the French champions to victory at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani was also on the scoresheet in the second half as Laurent Blanc’s team moved to nine points from three games, top of the group and within sight of the knockout stages.
Cristiano Ronaldo continued his blistering start to Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign when he struck twice in a 2-1 win at home to 10-man Juventus that put Real firmly in charge of Group B.
The Portuguese forward’s double took his goal tally in Europe’s elite club competition to seven in three appearances this season, his first coming when he rounded Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and finished superbly from a tight angle in the fourth minute at the Bernabeu.
Spain forward Fernando Llorente levelled for the visitors in the 22nd minute before the referee ruled Giorgio Chiellini had impeded Sergio Ramos in the penalty area at a freekick and Ronaldo put away the 29th-minute spot kick.
Italy centre back Chiellini had a night to forget as he was shown a straight red card three minutes into the second half when he checked Ronaldo’s run down the right with a flailing arm and Juve hardly threatened Real’s goal for the rest of the game.
Real top the group with a perfect nine points with three games to play, with Galatasaray in second on four points after they thumped bottom-placed FC Copenhagen 3-1 in Istanbul.
Juve are third on two points and the Italian champions are in real danger of failing to make the last 16 with their next game at home to Real. AGENCIES