Higuain seals it for Madrid

REAL MADRID’S bid to win a 10th European Cup began with a comfortable 2-0 win over Ajax at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Coach Jose Mourinho won the Champions League with Inter Milan at the Bernabeu in May and his European bow with Real was a success with an own goal and a Gonzalo Higuain strike sealing a comfortable group victory.

An own goal from 21-year-old defender Vurnon Anita gave Mourinho his first European goal as Real coach on 31 minutes and Higuain scored on 73 minutes with his first goal of the campaign.

It was another clean sheet for Real who have yet to concede a goal in their three games under Mourinho.

In the other big game in Group G, Barcelona cast-off Zlatan Ibrahimovic got off the mark for AC Milan with a brace to beat Auxerre 2-0 at San Siro.

The €24 million signing, who missed a penalty on his debut away to Cesena on Saturday, started to pay back his big fee as he netted twice in the second half in a game that had been evenly poised until then.

Auxerre had frustrated the hosts until the mid-point of the second period and in fact come closer to scoring, but Milan’s superior class told in the end.

In netting, Ibrahimovic matched Hernan Crespo’s record of having scored for five different clubs in the Champions League.

Last year’s finalists Bayern Munich made a flying start with late goals from German World Cup strikers Tomas Muller and Miroslav Klose in a 2-0 Group E win over Roma.

The German champions, who lost to Inter in last season’s final, went ahead when Muller slammed a stunning low volley past Roma keeper Julio Sergio from the edge of the box on 79 minutes. Substitute Klose ensured Bayern all three points when he flicked home Holger Badstuber’s free-kick seven minutes from time.

Also in Group E, Cluj beat FC Basel 2-1. Ionut Rada and Lacina Traore put the Romanians on course with goals in the first 12 minutes. Valentin Stocker pulled one back in first-half stoppage time for the Swiss.

In Chelsea’s Group F, a Cesar Azpilicueta own goal gave Spartak Moscow a 1-0 win at Marseille.

Spain’s Azpilicueta, signed from Osasuna for €7.5 million, deflected a Dmitri Kombarov cross into his own net with nine minutes left.

Aiden McGeady started for Spartak and picked up a yellow card in the second half before being withdrawn with seven minutes to go.

In Arsenal’s Group H, Croatia defender Darijo Srna curled in an excellent free-kick from 25 yards to give Shakhtar Donetsk a 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrade.


Lifestyle

Well first and foremost, it depends what type of cold you have, as Prudence Wade discovers.Should you exercise when you’ve got a cold?

Make like a Masterchef contestant with this sophisticated dessert.How to make Marcus Wareing’s milk chocolate, raspberry and thyme tart

Waste not, want not – this one’s all about using things up.How to make Marcus Wareing’s panzanella

With fresh produce in abundance, this Balkan state is becoming a top destination for foodies. Jonjo Maudsley gets stuck in.Get beyond Belgrade to taste the authentic side of Serbia

More From The Irish Examiner