Winners, losers and Carlos Tevez
Champions League Match Day 2 roundup
The second Match Day of the Champions League provided Shakespearian drama. Unfortunately, most of it was from a sulking Manchester City striker. Defending champion Barcelona, meanwhile, is off and running, routing an overawed BATE 5-0, while 2011 finalist Manchester United was held to yet another draw. Here's a look back at this week's action in soccer's most prestigious club competition.
Most spoiled player: Carlos Tevez, Manchester City
If only Graeme Souness were in charge of Manchester City, he would have dragged Carlos Tevez onto the pitch or kicked him all the way to the dressing room when he refused to enter as a substitute against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Souness, the fiery former Liverpool boss, called Tevez -- reportedly making upwards of 200,000 pounds a week -- a "disgrace." "He epitomizes what most people think is wrong with modern football," Souness told Sky Sports.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy suggested an alternative plan of action: He'd have left the Argentine on the tarmac in Germany.
Tevez, in a statement, only made things worse by claiming he didn't refuse to come on and that the incident was simply a "misunderstanding."
Let the coddled Tevez, who hasn't learned English in the five years he's been in England, train with the kids and force him to clean some boots once his two-week club suspension finishes. That's a start. Tevez's teammate, Edin Dzeko, is the runner-up. He threw his toys out of the pram when substituted. Dzeko can only blame himself. After missing a golden chance in the first half, shooting straight at Manuel Neuer, he was barely noticeable -- except when he flopped on top of Bayern fullback Philipp Lahm in a scene reminiscent of a Discovery Channel documentary.
All of a sudden, Mario Balotelli is looking like a saint.
But the bigger issue for City, of course, will be manager Roberto Mancini's ability to restore order and remind all his players who's in charge. With one point in two games and four to play in Group A, City still has a chance to qualify for the knockout stage, though realistically it's second place that's up for grabs, with Bayern Munich firmly in control at the top with maximum points.
Best game: Manchester United vs. Basel
Who would have thought it? Even without Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Nemanja Vidic, among others, Manchester United was supposed to cruise against tiny Basel. And when United took a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes Tuesday courtesy of Danny Welbeck, everything was going to plan. But the Swiss champion rallied, scoring the next three goals -- getting some help from the still-unconvincing David De Gea on its opener -- and hanging on for a 3-3 draw to end United's 20-game winning streak at Old Trafford.
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Give much of the credit to Basel's young manager, former Bayern Munich midfielder Thorsten Fink. He went to Manchester with an attacking philosophy and didn't alter his approach when United grabbed the two-goal advantage. Basel enjoyed the same amount of possession and matched United in shots. "We have a coach who plays very offensively, and he said before the game that we go to Manchester to win," Basel captain Marco Streller told UEFA.com. "For a night we are heroes in Switzerland."
United's defense, on the other hand, was at sixes and sevens too often. Phil Jones -- who has been the brightest of the team's young players this season -- had his worse match so far. He was caught too high up the pitch on Basel's second goal and failed to clear his line, which led to Basel's third tally.
As things stand, Basel tops Group C with four points, while United has two. Imagine if the Swiss side qualifies for the next round.
Top player: Diego Alves, Valencia
The Valencia keeper stole the show Wednesday, the major reason his team earned a 1-1 draw against Chelsea. He made four stunning saves early in the second half, two to deny Fernando Torres; his best was pushing away Torres' powerful header from inside the box. Alves later blocked Torres' fierce volley, held firm to thwart Ramires and reacted quickly to prevent an own goal.
"I know that if I pull off saves my teammates get confidence, and it inspires them," Alves told UEFA.com.
A backup in La Liga thus far, how can Alves not get the start when Valencia hosts Granada this weekend?
Best goal: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
There are fine individual efforts, and then there are outstanding team goals. Ronaldo's strike against Ajax on Tuesday fits into the latter category. Defender Sergio Ramos broke up play in his own box, and then it went like this: Ramos to Mesut Ozil to Ronaldo to a rejuvenated Kaka, back to Ronaldo, back to Ozil, wide on the right to Karim Benzema and finished off in the box by a charging Ronaldo. Call it a classic counterattack. And it's become one of Real Madrid's greatest strengths.
Honorable mentions go to Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis, who netted by chipping Dinamo Zagreb keeper Ivan Kelava from 20 yards, and Barcelona's Lionel Messi. With virtually no back swing, Messi sent his left-footer into the top corner.
Most disappointing team: Borussia Dortmund
Last season in the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund didn't concede three goals in a single game. Indeed, its defense, led by Neven Subotic, was rock solid, breached a mere 22 times in 34 outings. Hard to believe, then, that this was the same team that shipped three goals against Marseille in a loss on Wednesday. It was a comedy of errors. A Subotic slip contributed heavily to the first goal, Mats Hummels' poor clearing header set up the second, and Lukasz Piszczek was stripped of possession in his own box seconds before Dortmund gave away a penalty that was converted for the third.
"The goals were all so darned odd," Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp told the club's website. "We can offer some explanations, but there are no excuses."
The score flattered the home team since Dortmund dominated in stretches, but it was unable to put away its opportunities. "I doubt we would have scored if we had played for another three hours," Subotic added on the club website.
No lead is safe with: Lille
Through two games, French champ Lille should have six points in Group B. Instead, it's only two. Not content with surrendering a two-goal lead late against CSKA Moscow -- at home, mind you -- on the opening Match Day, Lille had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Trabzonspor on Tuesday, undone by a penalty in the 75th minute. Otherwise, Lille looked comfortable for most of the evening. "We lost two points, and it's a pity because this was probably a key game," Lille manager Rudi Garcia told UEFA.com.
Worst substitution: Salomon Kalou, Chelsea
In a slightly odd move, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas brought on Kalou, a forward, in place of midfielder Frank Lampard with Chelsea clinging to a 1-0 lead in the 83rd minute. So what happened? Kalou's hand ball in the box allowed Valencia's Roberto Soldado to level from the spot in the 87th minute. "I think it was the right choice [the substitution] bearing in mind what we were looking at, which was the fact that Valencia were coming out on the left side and doing a lot of two-against-ones against [Jose] Bosingwa," Villas-Boas told reporters. "I'm not going to criticize [Kalou]."
Biggest howler: Aleksandr Gutor, BATE
Who's the last person you want to give an open net to? Probably Messi. But BATE keeper Gutor did just that Wednesday when he fumbled a tame cross. Messi was there to pounce with his head from 5 yards. Messi hardly celebrated. Classy as usual.
Tevez should take note.
London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter here.
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