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Snap Judgments: Quick reaction to Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League action

Oct 3, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema celebrate a goal during their Champions League Group D soccer match against Ajax Amsterdam at the Amsterdam Arena stadium Reuters

If Tuesday was defined by road success, Wednesday was about late goals. They turned matches in Gelsenkirchen, Manchester, Porto and St. Petersburg, and while we haven’t had time to catch up on all eight matches, we do have time for some snap judgments:

Group A

Porto 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain - James Rodriguez’s 83rd minute goal gives Porto a just result. Aside from a couple of moments of danger from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Portuguese champions were consistently the better side. Poor finishing let this match stay even until its final moments, but Porto’s Colombian dynamo made sure the hosts got three huge points. They sit on top of Group A perfect through two rounds.

Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb - New coach Oleg Blohkin’s Champions League debut with Dynamo saw his team up two after 33 minutes. Ultimately, the win is just holding serve. Dinamo’s expected to finish bottom of this group. Today, we saw why.

Group B

Arsenal 3-1 Olympiacos - As expected, Arsenal dominated the ball, but a goal from Kosta Mitroglou in first half stoppage time made this more interesting than Arsène Wenger would have liked. Lukas Podolski’s early second half winner (and Aaron Ramsey’s insurance tally) keeps the Gunners at the top of Group B ahead of their home-and-home with Schalke.

Schalke 2-2 Montpellier - Like Arsenal, Schalke made it more difficult than they would have liked, falling behind in the 13th minute. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s second half penalty conversion was set to put Schalke along side Arsenal with six points, but a 90th minute goal from Souleymane Camara grabbed a point for Montpellier. It’s a disappointing result for Schalke, but safely in second place (three points up on Montpellier), they’re still in a strong position to go advance.

Group C

Zenit St. Petersburg 2-3 Milan - Two very fortunate goals (in off Zenit players) get a struggling Milan full points in Russia. Zenit only played well for 30 minutes in the middle of the match. With no points through two rounds, they’ll rue not giving a better effort while going down two in the first 16 minutes.

Anderlecht 0-3 Málaga - We talked up Málaga as the better side, but a three-goal win is surprising. Anderlecht only put one shot on target as the Andalusians got another two-goal performance, this one from Eliseu. Málaga has six points, a +6 goal difference, and are going to be difficult to keep from the knockout rounds.

Group D

Manchester City 1-1 Borussia Dortmund - Borussia Dortmund were clearly the better side, but when Neven Subotic capped a poor day with a hand ball in the 89th minute, City had their route into the match. Mario Balotelli converted, City got their point, and left few who will remember how much the Germans’ superior play. We’ll drill down on this one later.

Ajax 1-4 Real Madrid - It took Real Madrid 42 minutes to break through, and when Ajax pulled back a goal early in the second, it looked like we might have a game. Ultimately, El Real got the result we expected. They’re perfect on top of Group D, and Cristiano has back-to-back hat tricks. We’ll assume he’s happy now.

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