Ronaldo sets Champions League appearance record; wins for Zenit, Atalanta

Manchester: Cristiano Ronaldo is making more history in the Champions League.

The Portugal striker started for Manchester United against Villarreal on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) for his record 178th appearance in the competition. Ronaldo had been sharing the appearance record with Iker Casillas, his former teammate at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo played his first game in the Champions League in 2003 during his first spell at United.

He has scored 135 goals in the competition, another record. The most recent goal was in United’s 2-1 loss at Young Boys two weeks ago.

Ronaldo has won the Champions League title five times.

Zenit St Petersburg notched the first win of their Champions League Group H campaign with a 4-0 victory over Swedish side Malmo FF, who had Anel Ahmedhodzic sent off as they slumped to their second defeat in a row in the competition.

The Russian side, who lost 1-0 at holders Chelsea in their opening game, took the lead in the ninth minute when Brazilians Douglas Santos and Claudinho combined for the latter to fire home a superb first-time finish.

Cristiano Ronaldo (right) prepares for his record-breaking 178th appearance in the Champions League.Credit:AP

Malmo captain Andreas Christiansen had a glorious chance to net Malmo’s first goal in the group stage 10 minutes later, but he blazed his effort over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

The Swedes found themselves two down four minutes after the break as Yaroslav Rakitskyy twisted and turned before crossing for Daler Kuzyaev to send a looping header beyond the dive of Johan Dahlin and into the net.

Any slim hopes Malmo had of making a comeback were dashed four minutes later when centre-back Ahmedhodzic was shown a straight red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity with a deliberate handball.

Champions League matchday 2 results

  • Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Inter Milan 0
  • Ajax 2 Besiktas 0
  • Real Madrid 1 Sheriff 2
  • AC Milan 1 Atletico Madrid 2
  • Borussia Dortmund 1 Sporting Lisbon 0
  • Paris Saint-Germain 2 Manchester City 0
  • Porto 1 Liverpool 5
  • RB Leipzig 1 Club Brugge 2
  • Atalanta 1 Young Boys 0
  • Zenit 4 Malmo 0

Zenit’s Aleksei Sutormin scored in the 80th and Wendel added another in stoppage time to make it two consecutive defeats for bottom side Malmo and move Zenit level on three points with Juventus and Chelsea who meet in Turin later on Thursday.

Atalanta maintained their good start after an opportunist goal from Italy forward Matteo Pessina midway through the second half helped them to a 1-0 home win over Swiss side Young Boys.

Atalanta dominated throughout and Young Boys goalkeeper David von Ballmoos pulled off several fine saves before Pessina slid in at the near post to stab home a low Duvan Zapata cross in the 68th minute.

The home side had a 17th-minute goal ruled out for offside after a VAR check, when Young Boys defender Sandro Lauper turned the ball into his own net, but was let off the hook as Rafael Toloi mistimed his run in the build up.

Zenit St Petersburg players toast their huge Champions League win over Malmo in Russia.Credit:AP

Pessina was guilty of a shocking miss when he failed to bundle the ball home from three metres in the 43rd minute and Von Ballmoos kept out efforts by Zapata and Davide Zappacosta before he was finally beaten.

The keeper denied the home side a second goal when he reacted superbly to thwart substitute Luis Muriel in the 88th minute and Atalanta, who earned a 2-2 draw at Villarreal in their opening match, held on comfortably in the closing stages.

AP, Reuters

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