Champions League round-up
Man City continue to make hard work of life in the Champions League, while Arsenal were also undone on a night to forget for English hopefuls in Europe.
Last Updated: 25/10/12 10:11am
Manchester City continue to make hard work of life in the UEFA Champions League, while Arsenal were also undone on a Wednesday to forget for English hopefuls in Europe.
Elsewhere on a busy night of continental competition, Real Madrid came unstuck in Germany, AC Milan left Spanish soil empty-handed and there were wins for Paris St Germain, Zenit St Petersburg and Porto.
Manchester City have now taken just one point from their opening three fixtures in Group D, with a 3-1 defeat away at Ajax leaving them with a mountain to climb if they are to reach the knockout stage.
Roberto Mancini's side took time to settle in Amsterdam, with the highly-rated Christian Eriksen worrying Joe Hart with a couple of well-struck early drives which flashed narrowly wide of the target.
It was, however, City who broke the deadlock on 22 minutes when James Milner rolled a perfectly-timed pass into Samir Nasri and he curled the ball back across Kenneth Vermeer.
The Blues' lead lasted until moments before the interval, when Ricardo van Rhijn crossed for Siem de Jong to drive low into the bottom corner, giving Hart no chance.
Ajax then edged in front on 57 minutes, with City's zonal marking system from set-pieces letting them down as Niklas Moisander was left all alone to meet an Eriksen corner with a thumping header.
Things then went from bad to worse for Mancini's men on 68 minutes as Eriksen strolled through a statuesque defence and left Hart wrong-footed with a shot which took a wicked deflection off Gael Clichy.
The last thing City needed was for Borussia Dortmund to see off Real Madrid, leaving them with a five-point gap to close, but that is precisely what happened as the Bundesliga champions ran out 2-1 winners on home soil.
The prolific Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring 36 minutes into a meeting between Group D's top two, with the Polish hit-man benefitting from some sloppy defending from Pepe to lash past Iker Casillas.
Dortmund were unable to hang onto that advantage for long, though, and Cristiano Ronaldo restored parity within two minutes as he beat the offside trap and calmly lobbed the ball over the onrushing Roman Weidenfeller.
Casillas was then punished for a poor punch on 64 minutes as Marcel Schmelzer returned the ball with interest and claimed all three points.
Arsenal knew a home date with Schalke would provide them with a stern European examination, and that proved to be the case as they lost 2-0 - their first defeat at Emirates Stadium in a Champions League group game.
The visitors, buoyed by a weekend victory over arch-rivals Dortmund in the Bundesliga, created the better of the opportunities throughout, with Ibrahim Afellay unfortunate to be cautioned for a dive in the opening exchanges after appearing to be caught by Vito Mannone inside the box.
Arsenal found themselves in the unusual position of being pegged back in front of their own supporters, with Jefferson Farfan posing plenty of problems down Schalke's right.
A goal was coming for the visitors and it duly arrived on 76 minutes as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar slipped between Arsenal's centre-halves and calmly tucked past Mannone.
Arsene Wenger's side were then carved open again 10 minutes later as a flowing counter-attack allowed Farfan to cross for Afellay to roll into an empty net.
The Gunners surrendered top spot in Group B to their midweek opponents on the back of a disappointing setback, but will be pleased to hear that Olympiakos, who have a history of struggling on their travels in Europe, stunned Montpellier 2-1.
Gaetan Charbonnier displayed great technique to convert a crisp half-volley four minutes into the second half for the reigning French champions, but they were pegged back on 73 minutes through Greece international Vassilis Torosidis.
Olympiakos then nicked the points in stoppage time, with Kostas Mitroglou stealing the spoils with only their second effort on target.
Porto maintained their 100 per cent record in Group A after prevailing 3-2 over Dynamo Kiev in a thrilling encounter at Estadio do Dragao.
A tie which swung one way and then the other saw the hosts take the lead 15 minutes in when Silvestre Varela rifled an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
Oleg Gusev nodded in an equaliser six minutes later, only to see Porto restore their lead on 36 minutes as Jackson Martinez displayed good strength before prodding home.
A fantastic first touch, followed by a thunderous volley from Ideye Brown levelled matters again on 72 minutes, but Martinez had the final word six minutes later were he tapped in a Lucho centre.
Paris St Germain proved too strong for Dinamo Zagreb as they ran out 2-0 winners in Croatia.
The mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the French side on their way as he slid in to open the scoring on 32 minutes and Jeremy Menez ended the game as a contest two minutes before halt-time with a shot which squirmed through Ivan Kelava.
Malaga have taken nine points from their three fixtures so far after seeing off AC Milan 1-0.
The Rossoneri were guilty of spurning a number of chances in the first half, but must have thought that luck was on their side when Joaquin skied a penalty high into the stands.
The tricky winger made amends, though, on 64 minutes as he slipped into space and rolled the ball into the net off the inside of the post.
Elsewhere in Group C, in Wednesday's early kick-off, Zenit St Petersburg emerged victorious in a rain-soaked encounter with Anderlecht.
Aleksandr Kerzhakoz grabbed the only goal of the game from the penalty spot on 72 minutes, with the Russia international holding his nerve to send the goalkeeper the wrong way.