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Wed 22 Oct 2008 03:15 AM

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Man Utd down Celtic while Arsenal defeat Turks

English clubs taste success in Champions League, scoring eight goals between them.

Dimitar Berbatov helped himself to a poacher's double as Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 win over Celtic leaving the Scottish champions on the verge of Champions League elimination while Arsenal ended Istanbul side Fenerbahce's 15-match unbeaten run at home in a 5-2 victory.

Wayne Rooney's ninth goal in seven matches for club and country completed what was an almost embarrassingly comfortable victory for the defending champions.

The knock that forced Cristiano Ronaldo off ten minutes from the end ensured it was not an altogether positive evening for United but Sir Alex Ferguson's side now know a victory in Glasgow in a fortnight's time will be enough to put them through to the knockout stages with two matches to spare.

For Celtic, with just one point from their opening three matches, the chances of survival now look slim after what was their tenth consecutive away defeat in the competition.

Celtic boss Gordon Strachan, who described Rooney as "unplayable" in his current form, admitted his side had been well beaten.

"Berbatov's two goals were offside but I am not going to sit here and scream about them," he said. "I am a football man and I know when I am beaten, well beaten, so does my team."

Ferguson said the win was evidence of the added dimension that Berbatov has brought to his team. "It was fantastic, a marvellous performance again," the Scot said of the Bulgarian's display.

"He is bringing that composure to the final third of the field. Hopefully the combination is developing with not only Wayne but also Carlos (Tevez)."

Ferguson's pre-match suggestion that Ronaldo was in need of a rest did not prevent him from naming the Portugal winger in a starting XI that also featured his international teammate, Nani.

With Scott McDonald their only fit first-team forward, Celtic had little option but to opt for a policy of containment with the Australian deployed as a lone striker ahead of a five-man midfield.

The ease with which Ronaldo, Berbatov and Rooney were able to escape their markers in the opening exchanges suggested the Scottish champions would struggle to execute their chosen tactics however, and United might have claimed a second-minute lead had an unmarked Anderson connected with Nani's inviting cross from the right.

Yet for all the artistry on display in front of him, it was the United goalkeeper, Edwin van der Sar, who had the first saves to make.

Having turned away Aidan McGeady's low drive from the edge of the area, the Dutchman produced an even better effort to touch Gary Caldwell's first-time effort over the bar.

In between those two incidents there was an indicator of Rooney's current confidence in the acrobatic volley with which he met a Nani cross, only a block from Glenn Loovens denying him a spectacular goal.

Ronaldo was left equally frustrated when his 28th-minute strike whistled inches wide of Artur Boruc's left-hand post, but within two minutes United went ahead from a corner on the right.

Caldwell failed to clear Nani's delivery decisively and, after O'Shea had prodded the ball back into the six-yard box, Berbatov produced a deft flick with his back to goal to beat Boruc from a position that may have been fractionally offside.

That was the cue for United to turn the screw and Celtic's Polish goalkeeper did well to gather Rooney's 30-yard drive at full length.

United did have further reason to be grateful to van der Sar when O'Shea sliced a Nakamura freekick towards his own net, but the defending champions should have doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time.

Darren Fletcher looked composed as he gathered Rooney's chip and sidestepped Mark Wilson but his strike, which ended high into the stands, was anything but.

That miss was rendered insignificant five minutes into the second half when Boruc palmed one of Ronaldo's dipping freekicks back into the centre of his goalmouth instead of helping around the post. Berbatov eagerly accepted the invitation to claim his fifth United goal with a tap-in.

It should have been 3-0 minutes later, when Rooney had what television replays suggested was a legitimate goal ruled out for offside.

Another opportunity went begging when, with the goal unguarded following Boruc's rash dive at the feet of Berbatov, Rooney clipped a half-volley over the bar.

Substitute Carlos Tevez also went close before Rooney finally found the net by collecting the Argentinian's pass and drilling a low drive into the bottom corner from 18 yards out.

Meanwhile, Arsenal produced a counter-attacking masterclass to shatter Fenerbahce's long unbeaten home record with a 5-2 victory.

The Gunners made a mockery of the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium's intimidating reputation as they handed Fenerbahce their first European home defeat for nearly three years.

It was 15 matches since Fenerbahce had last been beaten in front of their fiercely-passionate fans and Inter Milan and Chelsea were among the illustrious names dispatched in the Turkish capital last season.

But Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott put Arsene Wenger's side in control with two goals in a minute early in the first half. Mikael Silvestre's own goal reduced the deficit, but Abou Diaby and Alexandre Song made 4-1.

Daniel Guiza's late strike was no consolation for Fenerbahce as Aaron Ramsey completed the rout in stoppage time.

The win keeps Arsenal top of Group G with seven points and firmly on course for the second round, while Fenerbahce are on the brink of elimination.

Wenger said: "It was a good game because Fenerbahce were dangerous as well and Almunia had a great game. He saved a few one against ones.

"Overall I believe our ability, pace and technique was superior and that made a big difference.

"We had a very young team. They were an average of 22 years old and it was good to see."

Walcott added: "It's a difficult place to come to because the fans get behind them, but everyone got their jobs right and it's just a brilliant performance.

"Everyone is just flying. We are playing brilliant football and scoring plenty of goals from all sorts of positions.

"We got people coming off the bench and scoring. It just shows how strong our squad is."

Injuries to William Gallas, Kolo Toure and Bacary Sagna deprived Wenger of three of his regular back-four and the Arsenal manager decided to use a five-man midfield with the aim of soaking by Fenerbahce's pressure before hitting them on the break. His plan worked to perfection.

Fenerbahce started brightly and it took a fine block from Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia to deny Ugur Boral. But, with the hosts committing men forward, Arsenal were perfectly placed to silence the raucous Fenerbahce faithful.

In the 10th minute, Cesc Fabregas slipped a clever pass through to Adebayor, who beat the offside trap and narrowly avoided running into Walcott before slipping his shot past Volkan Demirel.

Fernerbahce were stunned by that sucker punch and Arsenal rammed home the advantage a minute later. Once again it was Arsenal's pace on the counter that did the damage.

Fabregas's pass picked out Walcott and the England winger surged clear of the defence, rounded Demirel and finished from close range.

Samir Nasri should have completely killed the tie moments later, but the France midfielder's shot was pushed away by Demirel.

Fenerbahce had to find a immediate response to have any chance of staying in the competition and they did just that in the 19th minute.

Not for the first time this season, Arsenal's weakness at set-pieces was exposed as Alex's free-kick reached Guiza and the Fenerbahce striker's volley was turned into his own net by Silvestre.

But Arsenal were picking apart Luis Aragones's side whenever they went forward and Diaby restored their two-goal lead with a superb strike in the 22nd minute.

Aided by woeful defending, Diaby's strength and skill allowed him to work space for a low shot that nestled in the far corner of Demirel's net.

Guiza had a goal disallowed for offside, then wasted two chances just before half-time. He shot wide after outsprinting the Arsenal defence, then allowed Almunia to smother another effort.

Wenger could have been forgiven for telling his players to sit on their lead, but they continued to launch lightning raids after the break.

Nasri won a free-kick from another incisive incursion in the 49th minute and the fourth goal followed. Fenerbahce failed to deal with Fabregas's floated free-kick and Song was on hand to lash home his first European goal for the Gunners.

Fenerbahce got a goal back in the 78th minute when Guiza timed his run perfectly and deftly chipped over Almunia.

There was still time for Welsh teenager Ramsey to come off the bench and lash in the fifth from the edge of the penalty area in the 94th minute.

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