MUNICH (AP) – It was a bad night for Manchester as United were held to an unlikely 3-3 draw while City crashed to a 2-0 defeat in Munich at the hands of a rampant Bayern Munich as the UEFA Champions League resumed across Europe.
But the biggest story of the day was that Carlos Tevez refused to take the field tonight for City in defiance of his manager, Roberto Mancini. Mancini confirmed post-game that his $320,000-a-week player would neither warm up nor enter the game.
Elsewhere on what was a frantic day of action, Napoli downed Villarreal 2-0 ; CSKA Moscow recovered but could not hold back Inter Milan in a 3-2 home loss; Lille got an away draw with Turks Trabzonspor 1-1; 2-0; Benfica strolled to a 1-0 win over Otelul in Romania and Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the goals of the tournament to date in a 3-0 demolition job of Ajax .
Play continues Wednesday with Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and AC Milan among those in action. Every Champions League game is brought to you live in HD this season across the FOX family of networks and DirecTV, with real-time in-game coverage on Twitter @FOXSoccerTrax (and @FoxSoccerTrax2 ) and on-line at FoxSoccer.com .
It was a stunning turn of events in Munich, and not because of the scoreline. Munich have now not conceded a goal in 10 games, and despite some incisive play from David Silva on the flanks for City tonight, the home team looked able to keep that trend well alive from the whistle. Simply put, it was men against boys, and Mancini's decisions will be under the microscope.
First, he attempted to play two strikers away from home in Europe, a strategy that backfired badly. Kun Aguero was never really able to settle, and Edin Dzeko was stifled a stout Bayern defense anchored on the flank by Phillip Lahm.
Second, Mancini gambled on Kolo Toure in his back line, and that proved to be a damning mistake. Despite real heroics from Joe Hart -- twice saving shots only to see the final ball from Mario Gomez go by him -- Toure was beaten badly on both goals, looking out of shape most of the night.
And then, there's Tevez.
The Argentine has been a thorn in City's side for well over a year, making escalating wage demands, throwing tantrums, and finally being stripped of his captaincy. Tonight, he effectively sabotaged his team by sitting on the substitute's bench but then refusing to join the warm-ups when called upon. The scenes grew worse when Dzeko, mysteriously pulled from the game for Nigel De Jong, had a row with both Tevez and Mancini on the sidelines.
The appearance is of a team in meltdown. City, so expensively assembled, has looked dominant thus far in England if not yet the kind of juggernaut that their arch-rivals are. But this very public collapse on Europe's biggest stage is an embarrassment of the deepest kind. It is not known yet what sanctions Tevez will receive -- Mancini told the media that the player is "finished." The irony is that Tevez is likely to get his wish: He will never again have to play in a City shirt.
Across town, but a world away, United also got a stiff slap in the face, failing to win for the first time in 13 years after going up 2-0. The scenes were shocking: After Danny Welbeck had stunned Basel with two gifted goals in the space of a minute, it looked as if United were going to roll to a win.
But as was the case with City's defending tonight, so it was with United's. The absence of Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans and Rafael proved toxic as young defender Phil Jones was tortured by Marco Streller in the second half.
Streller sparked the comeback, firing a rocket off David De Gea that the `keeper stopped well but couldn't possibly hold, leaving Fabian Frei to score with ease. Two minutes later, it was a Frei-for-all as Fabian found a wide-open Alexander to head powerfully past De Gea. And Basel might have won it: Antonio Valencia clattered down Streller with 15 to play, allowing A. Frei to score his second of the night from the spot. It was only withering late pressure -- and a superb cross from Nani to find Ashley Young all alone at the far post -- that allowed United a point.
Believe it or not, the results leave United in third place in the group on just two points. Top? Tiny Basel. Welcome to the big leagues, guys.
Elsewhere in Group C, Benfica got a goal from Bruno Alves to stroll past Otelul Galati in Romania. Benfica bossed the game, and the result was never in doubt for the slightest moment.
In Group A's other match, Napoli ran a shocked Villarreal off the pitch with a dominant display. Marek Hamsik got the winner after only 15 minutes when he smashed home a superb near-post ball from Ezequiel Lavezzi to stun the Yellow Submarine. Two minutes later, Gonzalo Rodriguez hauled down Lavezzi, allowing Edinson Cavani to score from the spot.
Villarreal looked overawed by the occasion, and even the inclusion of Giuseppe Rossi, a surprise starter after his injury report, couldn't spark the Spaniards. Only Nilmar was able to gain a couple chances, but even when he was allowed through by a defensive miscue by Cavani, he gave `keeper Morgan De Sanctis no trouble. It was a fitting end for a week in which Napoli were both praised and buried by a rapacious Italian press. They now have shown they have real European ambitions.
In Group B, Inter Milan and Trabzonspor share the lead after Lille once again threw away a potentially winning performance while CSKA Moscow paid full price for a key injury and a far too timid first half on their home stadium's artificial turf.
Inter, giving new boss Claudio Ranieri his second straight win, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in 23 minutes but needed a late Mauro Zarate goal to prevail in what turned out to be a thrilling, 3-2 encounter. CSKA badly missed regular goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, lost to a knee injury that will sideline him for six months. Off today's performance, that may well be the reason why the fancied Russian side fails to get out of the group stage.
Akinfeev's replacement, Vladimir Gabulov, handed Inter its first goal when he fisted a corner kick off a teammate and into the path of a waiting Lucio in the sixth minute. Giampaolo Pazzini, who couldn't find a starting job under the previous Inter administration, made it 2-0 when he literally ran into a perfect cross from Yuto Nagatomo, whose swerve into the inside right channel wrong-footed the Moscow defense and left Pazzini all the space needed to lay on the goal.
The Russian Army side simply was too slow for the first half, allowing Inter to cover space wihtout worry, but the match changed instantly in injury time when a Walter Samuel foul gave Alan Dzagoev a 24-yard free kick which he slammed through the wall and past Julio Cesar.
Buoyed by that unlikely lifeline, CSKA came out refreshed and tied the match in the 72nd minute when Vagner Love made space along the 18-yard line before quickly turning to beat the Inter `keeper, both Lucio and Javier Zanetti left for dead by the Brazilian's move. That didn't last two minutes, however, as whatever magic Ranieri has brought to bear paid off again for the Italians. Zarate, who had replaced the injured Pazzini early in the second half, popped up on the top of the box to collect an Esteban Cambiasso cross and shoot past a rooted Gabulov. That was game, set and match.
In Turkey, Lille called the tune for much of the night, but as they had done against CSKA in the opening match, the French side ultimately figured out how to toss away three points.
Playing expansive, controlled football, Lille was far better. They should have gotten more than just a 31st minute Moussa Sow goal, one set up by an exquisite pass from Eden Hazard out of midfield. That Lille could not get another despite all kinds of opportunities proved fatal when Mathieu Debuchy reached out to knock down a cross in the 78th minute, literally handing Trabzonspor a penalty. Gustavo Colman powered the award into the top corner, giving the Turks had a point they maybe didn't merit on the night.
There was little doubt about the Group D matches where both Real Madrid and Lyon were far superior to limited opposition.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema scored for Real against an Ajax team which gave the Madrid side far too much space to control midfield and conceded a pair of goals to attacks that covered nearly all of the field.
Ronaldo's goal came off a 90-meter counter that involved six passes, the final one from Benzema in one of the goals of the round; Kaka snapped home a pretty 18-yard drive after another Real counter that started no more than 25 yards from its own goal; Benzema literally pranced past defenders who stood rooted as he killed off the match just four minutes into the second half.
Though Lyon never was troubled by the minnows from Dinamo Zagreb, their supporters cannot be happy about seeing only two goals despite the French side's dominance. Batefimbi Gomis and Bakary Kone did put the ball in the net, but Lyon should have put the game in the ice box by halftime. Instead they played the final 45 minutes without being able to add to their account.