Recordbreakers Totti and Xavi fail to deliver victory

European football greats Francesco Totti and Xavi Hernandez set Champions League records for oldest goalscorer and appearances on Tuesday but neither could cap that personal landmark with victory for their sides Roma and Barcelona respectively.

Totti turned 38 last weekend and he made sure he would remember it as he scored against Manchester City to level the game at 1-1 — Sergio Aguero having given the hosts the lead with a penalty — to break Ryan Gigg’s record set when he was 37 years and 289 days old.

The game finished 1-1, a result that is of more help to the Italian side than the English champions.

Bayern Munich top the group with six points from two matches, having beaten CSKA Moscow 1-0 in a match played behind closed doors after UEFA punished the Russians for unrest at a group game last season, with Roma on four and City struggling to avoid bowing out in the group stage for the third time in four years.

“When you talk about Totti, you can only say really banal things (in comparison with what he does),” said Roma coach Rudi Garcia.

“I took great pleasure from his goal today. His talent is what made the difference in front of the goalkeeper. I hope it’s the start of a fantastic story for Roma.”

Xavi, now no longer first choice after a career at Barcelona that has brought him three Champions League trophies among many other winners medals, broke compatriot Raul’s appearances record of 142 when he came on as a substitute in the second-half of their game with Paris Saint Germain.

However, the 34-year-old was unable to help turn around a gripping encounter as the French champions prevailed 3-2 at the Parc des Princes to split the group wide open.

PSG — who were only denied a semi-final spot by Barcelona on away goals two years ago — top the group on four points with Barcelona a point back while Ajax, who were held 1-1 by APOEL Nicosia, are third on two points.

“I am very satisfied. It was an extraordinary match and what I will take away from it was our collective performance,” said PSG coach Laurent Blanc, who had come in for some criticism after a stuttering start to the defence of their league crown.

“I think for those who like Paris Saint-Germain and French football it was a good evening.”

Elsewhere 2012 champions Chelsea gave manager Jose Mourinho a joyful return to his home town of Lisbon as another former resident of the Portuguese city Nemanja Matic, who played for Benfica, scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Sporting Lisbon.

With Schalke having to come from a goal down to force a 1-1 draw at home to surprise packets Maribor, who are yet to be beaten in the group stage, Chelsea have a two point lead in the group.

“Three points is three points. We lost two at home and now we have picked up three away from home,” said 51-year-old Mourinho.

“Chelsea are a young team who sometimes show a lack of efficiency in front of goal. Sporting lost but they have shown they have the qualities that can see them qualify (for the knockout stage).”

Group H may lack the star quality in terms of glamorous clubs but it looks like being a thriller as Sporting’s rivals and the club where Mourinho established himself as a top coach at Porto showed real character to come from 2-0 down and draw 2-2 with Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in Lviv.

Colombian star Jackson Martinez was their saviour, netting in the 89th minute and then converting a penalty in the third minute of time added on to take him joint top of this season’s scoring charts with three alongside team-mate Algerian international Yacine Brahimi.

They top the group by one point from Belarus champions BATE Borisov who pulled off a remarkable 2-1 home win over a hopeleslly out of form Athletic Bilbao.


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