no blues for united

PARIS - Manchester United and Chelsea, who faced off in the 2008 Champions League final, can put a collective foot in the second phase of this season's edition today if they add to opening-day group wins.

PARIS - Manchester United and Chelsea, who faced off in the 2008 Champions League final, can put a collective foot in the second phase of this season's edition today if they add to opening-day group wins.

But the English Premiership giants take on Germany's Wolfsburg and Cypriots Apoel Nicosia respectively after highly contrasting weekend fortunes.

Whereas United won at Stoke to cement their good run of form since a shock loss at Burnley, Chelsea lost the chance to go three points clear after losing at Wigan, a reverse that infuriated Blues skipper John Terry.

"The least we expect from every player is that we work hard and fight and we did not do that," Terry admitted to The Sun newspaper on Monday.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said: "It's important we have a good reaction against Apoel and also Liverpool next weekend."

The Blues already have three points after edging Porto, who host Atletico Madrid today, 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

United were all business in swatting Stoke to continue their largely seamless adjustment in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era.

While the Portuguese flyer chases down a win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium against Marseille in Group C, which also contains AC Milan, Sir Alex Ferguson's side can build on their 1-0 success at Turkey's Besiktas.

That win was achieved courtesy of Paul Scholes but it was fellow veteran Ryan Giggs who had Ferguson waxing lyrical after setting up both goals at Stoke.

After his summer switch to Real, Ronaldo will be expecting to add to his league goals tally of five against Marseille. He will be fired up after greeting his substitution in a weekend stroll against Tenerife with a fit of pique.

The starlet kicked out at a stray ball and did not acknowledge coach Manuel Pellegrini after leaving the fray. Pellegrini shrugged off the topic.

Group A completes today's action with Bayern Munich hosting Juventus and Bordeaux up against Maccabi Haifa of Israel. - Sapa-AFP

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