Inter hold off Spurs, Barca and Man Utd both win
Holders Inter Milan raced into a four-goal lead before eventually prevailing 4-3 over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League Wednesday, dpa reported.
In other group action, Manchester United put the news of Wayne Rooney's intention to leave Old Trafford behind them to beat Turkish side Bursaspor 1-0 and Barcelona had a brace from Lionel Messi to thank for their 2-0 win at home to FC Copenhagen.
Inter top Group A with seven points after proving too strong for Spurs at the San Siro, although a brilliant second-half hat-trick from Gareth Bale salvaged some pride for the Londoners after they went into the break trailing 4-0.
Javier Zanetti put Inter ahead inside a minute and things went downhill for Tottenham from there as goalkeeper Huerelho Gomes was sent off after seven minutes for bringing down Jonathan Biabany, who had been put through brilliantly by Wesley Sneijder.
Reserve goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini replaced Luka Modric, who was sacrificed in midfield, but Samuel Eto'o made no mistake with the resultant penalty.
Dejan Stankovic made it 3-0 on 14 minutes and then Eto'o scored his second of the night to extend their lead further with 10 minutes still to go before half-time.
Bale pulled one back with a great goal seven minutes into the second half and made it 4-2 in the 90th minute. The midfielder then finished well a minute later to complete a superb hat-trick and make it 4-3 but Inter held on for victory to put them in pole position in the group.
"There are a lot of positives to take from the second half, we kept the ball well. But we're massively disappointed to have lost the game," said Bale.
Spurs sit second on four points, two clear of Twente and Werder Bremen who played out a 1-1 draw.
Sir Alex Ferguson got a thunderous reception from United fans still digesting Rooney's decision to leave the club ahead of their Group C clash with Bursaspor, which was decided by a superb Nani strike after just seven minutes.
"It's important to win for the fans, they were good tonight and got behind the team," said Ferguson. "There was a good unity in the team."
The win sees United lead Group C on seven points from three games while Glasgow Rangers sit second in Group C on five points after playing out a 1-1 draw with Valencia.
Maurice Edu put the Scottish champions ahead at Ibrox on 34 minutes when he headed home a Vladimir Weiss corner but also headed into his own net less than a minute after the restart to gift the Spaniards an equalizer.
In Group B, Schalke put their Bundesliga woes behind them - where they are rooted in the relegation zone - as two goals from Raul and a third from Jose Manuel Jurado helped Felix Magath's side to a 3-1 win at home to Hapoel Tel-Aviv.
Itay Shechter pulled back a last-minute consolation effort for the Israeli side.
Schalke are now second in the group on six points, three behind leaders Lyon, who enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to Benfica.
Jimmy Briand put the French side in front on 20 minutes just seconds after Michel Bastos hit the woodwork with a shot from the edge of the area.
Benfica's hopes of staging a comeback all but ended two minutes before the break when Nicolas Gaitan was sent off for a second bookable offence and, in a similar sequence to Lyon's opener, Lisandro Lopez secured the win after a Briand effort came back off a post.
Barcelona top Group D on seven points thanks to a 2-0 win against Copenhagen, who remain in second spot, one point adrift. Messi opened the scoring on 19 minutes with a well placed shot but the Spanish champions had to wait until the last minute to be sure of all three points when the Argentine added his second of the game.
Panathinaikos and Rubin Kazan played out a scoreless draw in the other group game.