Soccer Digest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2012, 2:47am


First-half blitz gives BATE maiden win as Lille suffer

A remarkable three-goal salvo in the first half gave Belarus' BATE Borisov a first-ever Champions League win, 3-1 at Lille, leaving the French club facing a huge task to rescue their campaign. Aleksandr Volodko, Vitali Rodionov and Edgar Olekhnovich all found the net for the visitors, who had failed to win in 12 previous attempts in the group stage. AFP


Bayern must improve, says Heynckes despite victory

Bayern Munich will need to improve significantly if they are to stage another successful run in the Champions League after their opening 2-1 victory over Valencia. Coach Jupp Heynckes and his players were happy to banish the nightmares of losing last season's final to Chelsea in Munich but agreed their display against the Spanish team was far from their best. "There is still room for improvement for the entire team," said Heynckes after watching his players dominate throughout but failing to shut out the game early on. "The final phase was unsatisfactory. When you lead 2-0 you cannot let your guard down and it is equally annoying that we did not take advantage of the penalty." Reuters



Henrik Mkhitaryan fires Shakhtar Donetsk to victory over Nordsjaelland

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu hailed a job well done as a double from Armenian midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan gave his team a 2-0 win over Danish debutants Nordsjaelland. Mkhitaryan's double, one in each half, took his tally this season to 11 goals in 14 games in the Ukrainian league and Champions League. "Tonight, we did everything according to the plan which we worked out before the match," Lucescu said. "In the first [half], the play was almost even until Nordsjaelland players ran out of gas. After that, we took control and scored. I'm really pleased with the performance of my defence, which didn't allow our visitors to create any serious chances." AFP



Lennon praises rookies as Celtic draw with Benfica

Celtic manager Neil Lennon said he was proud of his rookie players after they opened their campaign with a goalless draw against Benfica at Parkhead. The Hoops had 10 players making their Champions League debuts, with only captain Scott Brown having played in the group stage before. "We played with real zest and no fear against a class side, so it's a decent start for us. It could have been better, it could have been worse," Lennon said. "We are learning as we go along. The players have sampled it now and they've had a feel of it. There were 10 players making their debuts against a very experienced side, so I'm very proud of the team." AFP