Champions League – A round up of the final games in the Group Stage & who progresses

Mbappe becomes youngest player ever to score 10 Champion League goals at only 18 years old
Post On , Friday, December 8th, 2017

A round up of the final games in the Group Stage & who progresses

Group A

Shaw made a promising return against CSKA
Shaw made a promising return against CSKA

 

Man United v CSKA

Mourinho made 6 changes for this one. They only needed a point to ensure they won the group. United started well with Rashford hitting the upright after a great through ball from Lukaku. CSKA had enough of the ball early on but did little with it, as United continued having the better chances.

Luke Shaw then started to remind Mourinho of his talents, firstly connecting well with a volley from an in swinging Valencia cross, only for the keeper to get down well and save. And then Pogba released him down the left flank and he centred the ball to an advancing Rashford but it was just too far in front of him to connect with.

It was all United in the 1st half but then CSKA scored against the run of play in the 44th minute. A beautiful through ball was played down the right which was then centred back to Dzagoev in the box and he duly slotted home.

In the 2nd half United started off strongly. Rashford ran at his man, beat him and hit a firm strike but it was at the keeper’s near post & he saved it easily.

United continued to press through Rashford & Co. and they then broke the deadlock with 2 goals in 2 minutes – in the 64th and 66th minute.

Pogba firstly played a beautiful clipped cross into Lukaku in the 6 yard box, and he did the rest. Getting in front of his marker and poking the cross home.

The 2nd goal came 2 minutes later when Mata played a ball over the top to Rashford who calmly waited for the ball to drop before slotting into the right hand corner.

And with that CSKA were out.

United played well here with some free flowing football. The players that stood out were Shaw in the 1st half, and Rashford in the 2nd half. But Mata was the man of the match. His link up play & passing was bordering on the sublime at times, along with his forward running on the ball.

 

Benfica v Basil

Mohamed Elyounoussi and Dimitri Oberlin scored headers to send Basel into the knockout phase of the Champions League, earning a 2-0 win at already-eliminated Benfica on Tuesday.

Basel knew victory at a half-empty Estadio da Luz would almost certainly be enough to qualify from Group A, barring an unlikely heavy win for CSKA Moscow away to Manchester United.

Elyounoussi headed Basel into an early lead with his first goal in the Champions League proper, the forward left all alone in the penalty area to convert a terrific cross from Michael Lang, who had scored a dramatic late winner at home to United in the previous round.

But thereafter the game was largely dominated by Benfica, Lisandro Lopez twice going close while a Haris Seferovic drive forced a fine save from Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.

Basel’s resilience protected their clean sheet and when Manuel Akanji got up highest to flick on Luca Zuffi’s free-kick, Oberlin was in position to nod home and secure the crucial victory for his side.

Group B

Mbappe becomes youngest player ever to score 10 Champion League goals at only 18 years old
Mbappe becomes youngest player ever to score 10 Champion League goals at only 18 years old

 

Bayern v PSG

Lewandowski put Bayern in front as he took the ball down inside the 6 yard box and coolly slotted it past the keeper into the bottom right hand corner. It remained all Bayern until Mbappe & Neymar linked up beautifully only for Neymar to see his shot saved by the fingertips of the Bayern keeper, Sven Ulreich. Bayern then went and scored a 2nd with a strong in swinging cross that was met with a strong header from Tolisso into the bottom corner.

In the 2nd half PSG came back into it when Cavani flicked a beautiful ball into Mbappe in the penalty box, and he somehow managed to generate enough power on the header  to  send it beyond the keeper into the corner.

Mbappe then blasted one from outside the box but Sven Ulreich saved well. Bayern then hit PSG with a swift, clinical counter attack down the left flank with Coman centring the ball back to Tolisso inside the box who finished it in clinical fashion.

Bayern keeper, Sven Ulreich, then pulled of an incredible save at the death and Bayern came out 3 – 1 winners but PSG still won the group.

PSG looked a bit loose defensively and around the midfield, and did not do enough to close down the Bayern players quick enough when they were on the ball.

They will need to be more solid and compact if they are to realise their ambitions of winning a first ever Champions League.

Incredibly, Mpabbe is the youngest player ever to score 10 Champions League goals. He is still only 18 years old!

 

Celtic v Anderlecht

Anderlecht needed 3 goals to get through to the Europa League here. They had their chances in the 1st half, but their tame efforts were easily saved by the Celtic keeper. In the 2nd half they did manage to score through an own goal from Jozo Simunovic, and bowed out of the competition with a 1 – 0 win.

Celtic weren’t great on the night. It’s really hard to see them getting far in the Europa League. It’s a damning indictment of how much the Scottish League has declined in quality in recent years when you see the Scottish Champions struggle against any sort of opposition in Europe.

Brendan Rogers for me too is to tactically naïve. How he can expect his players to go toe to toe and play football against the likes of PSG is beyond me. For them to get beaten 5 – 0 at Parkhead is one thing, but then to get thrashed 7 – 1 in the return leg is unforgiveable. Did he not learn anything from their first encounter?

 

Group C

Roma beat Qarabag to go through as Group Winners
Roma beat Qarabag to go through as Group Winners

 

Roma v Qarabag

Diego Perotti’s lone goal proved enough for Roma to see off Qarabag and book a place in the last 16 as Group C winners.

Roma advanced to the Champions League knockout stages as Group C winners following a narrow 1-0 victory over Qarabag at Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.

Roma looked at ease over the early exchanges and were content to steadily constrict the availability of time and space.

Openings did begin to appear closer to the half-hour as Dino Ndlovu tried a curler on a Qarabag counter-attack, while Stephan El Shaarawy’s indecision meant onrushing goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic went unpunished for being second to a loose ball outside the area.

El Shaarawy and Richard Almeida next traded harmless shots over the bar, before an unmarked Kostas Manolas was put off a header by the nearby presence of Dzeko.

And, moments after Dzeko fired well wide from the edge of the box, the home side were further frustrated in their attempts to make a first-half breakthrough as Sehic managed to parry Radja Nainggolan’s powerful low drive.

However, within eight minutes of the restart, the Giallorossi were ahead. Dzeko’s close-range effort on the turn was well blocked by Sehic, but the rebound popped kindly into the air for Perotti to nod in the all-important opener.

Sehic prevented the margin from doubling by next turning Nainggolan’s low shot around the left post.

While Atletico’s concession of an equaliser at Stamford Bridge meant their passage into the next round looked even safer, Roma were increasingly keen to sew up top spot by adding a cushion in the shape of a second goal.

Instead, they almost coughed up an equaliser with just under 10 minutes remaining, only for Michel to head straight at Alisson from point-blank range.

 

Chelsea v Atletico

The first real chance of this contest fell to Torres for Atletico but he spurned it. Chelsea then dominated until the opening goal, with Alvaro Morata going close and Hazard almost weaving through the visiting defence.

They were then left to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal as Atletico went ahead through a header from Saul Niguez. He escaped the attentions of Tiemoue Bakayoko to plant home a header from Fernando Torres’ near-post flick-on after 56 minutes.

Chelsea piled forward and with a quarter of an hour left equalised through an own goal at the near post.Stefan Savic turning in Eden Hazard’s cross into his own net as the pressure told.

Chelsea had plenty of chances to leap-frog back over Roma in the group with Morata and substitutes Willian and Michy Batshuayi all missing glorious chances in a frenetic final 15 minutes.

But due to Chelsea failing to beat Atletico, and Roma winning at Qarabag it meant that Roma topped the group due to their better head to head record.

Not many would have put Roma winning this group of death. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte claimed afterwards that whoever his team draw “won’t be happy to play us”. But I’m not so sure many teams will fear them.  Hazard apart, they don’t pose much of a threat at the moment.

 

Group D

Can Messi & Suarez re-ignite Barca's sparkle in the Knock-out Stages
Can Messi & Suarez re-ignite Barca’s sparkle in the Knock-out Stages

 

Barcelona v Sporting Lisbon

Former Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu scored an own goal against his old club as Sporting Lisbon’s hopes of advancing from Group D ended.

Sporting needed to win and hope Juventus slipped up away at Olympiakos.

Barca had drawn their previous two Champions League games 0-0 but Paco Alcacer’s glancing header and Mathieu’s misdirected clearance secured victory.

Lionel Messi started on the bench for the second successive Champions League for Barca.

Messi came on moments after Alcacer’s 59th-minute goal put the hosts ahead.

Earlier, Luis Suarez was denied by Rui Patricio’s leg after getting the better of former Liverpool team-mate Sebastian Coates.

Sporting’s best chance fell to Dutch striker Bas Dost, whose first-time shot from close range was brilliantly kept out by Jasper Cillessen.

“We try to do things as well as we can,” said Barca boss Ernesto Valverde afterwards. “Sometimes we play wonderfully and sometimes less so.”

Barcelona will be seeded when the draw for the knockout stage takes place next Monday at Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

 

OLYMPIACOS 0 JUVENTUS 2

Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi found the net as an understrength Juventus clinched a place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 win away at Olympiacos.

Despite being without injured stalwarts Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini, Massimiliano Allegri’s side coped comfortably in Piraeus to reach the knockout stages for a fourth successive season.

While they needed two second-half goals to win the reverse fixture in Turin, Cuadrado’s close-range finish in the 15th minute set them on course to complete the double over their Greek opponents.

Wojciech Szczesny, standing in for Buffon, who was ruled out with a calf complaint, was required to make two smart saves to preserve a clean sheet, though El Fardou Ben Nabouhane hit the crossbar as full-time approached as Juventus lived on the edge.

But late substitute Bernardeschi capped a solid display by curling home a fine finish in the 89th minute, ensuring it was Sporting who dropped into the Europa League.

While Juventus finish behind Barcelona in Group D, the Serie A champions – beaten 4-1 by Real Madrid in last season’s final – will be one of the second seeds to avoid in the draw for the next round.

 

Group E

Coutinho hits a hat-trick
Coutinho hits a hat-trick

 

Liverpool v Spartak Moscow

Klopp’s side were close to qualifying last month, but Guido Pizarro poked home in the third minute of added time as Sevilla came from 3-0 down to snatch a dramatic draw.

There was no second-half collapse this time as the Reds produced another attacking masterclass to ensure they progress in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.

Spartak had held the Reds to a draw in Moscow but were blown away on Merseyside as Klopp once again unleashed Coutinho, Salah, Firmino and Mane from the start.

The quartet had scored 12 of their team’s 16 goals in five previous group games – and they were once again in ruthless mood.

Philippe Coutinho scored a hat-trick as Liverpool became the fifth English club to qualify for the last 16 of this season’s Champions League with a thumping victory over Spartak Moscow at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s Group E leaders came into the game knowing they needed to avoid defeat to be sure of reaching the knockout stage for the first time since 2008-09 – and Coutinho gave them the lead with a fourth-minute penalty after Mohamed Salah was fouled by Georgi Dzhikiya.

They doubled their advantage after a superb move 11 minutes later, Coutinho tapping home from Roberto Firmino’s pass.

Firmino netted himself to make it 3-0 at half-time, and Sadio Mane’s sublime volley extended the lead.

Coutinho completed his first hat-trick for the club with a deflected shot, and Mane added the sixth before Salah completed the rout.

Liverpool’s victory means this is the first time five English teams have qualified for the Champions League last 16 in the same season.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham will join the Reds in Monday’s draw at Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

Asked if his side would be a threat in the last 16, Klopp said: “If we perform like this, if we are that clinical, then yes.

“If we perform like this then it is obviously a threat, 100%.”

 

 

MARIBOR 1 SEVILLA 1

 A Jasmin Handanovic error allowed Sevilla to leave Maribor with a 1-1 draw, as the Spaniards reached the Champions League last 16.

Sevilla will join Group E winners Liverpool in progressing to the Champions League knockout phase despite an underwhelming 1-1 draw at Maribor, in which substitute Ganso spared the visitors’ blushes.

The Spanish side knew that a draw would be enough to guarantee their passage ahead of Spartak Moscow, but they produced a largely toothless display that will not strike much fear into the other teams who have progressed.

Possession was not a problem as Sevilla dominated the ball for most of the match, but they looked devoid of ideas in the final third and rarely threatened to cancel out Marcos Tavares’ well-taken 10th-minute opener.

Although they made a slight improvement after the break, clear chances remained at a premium for Sevilla, predominantly down to Maribor’s excellent rearguard action.

Maribor were ultimately let down by a goalkeeping howler from Jasmin Handanovic, however, with second-half substitute Ganso taking full advantage.

 

 

Group F

Shakhtar beat City and secure 2nd Spot
Shakhtar beat City and secure 2nd Spot

 

Shakhtar Donetsk v Man City

Manchester City lost for the first time in 29 matches as Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk won to join City in the last 16 of the Champions League.

A much-changed City, who had already secured top spot in Group F, fell behind when Brazilian Bernard curled a shot past Ederson from 15 yards.

Shakhtar doubled their lead as Ismaily capitalised on an Ederson error and tapped the ball into an empty net.

Sergio Aguero scored an injury-time penalty after Gabriel Jesus had been fouled by Bohdan Butko, but City could not extend their unbeaten record in 2017-18.

City had been hoping to become the first British club to win all six of their group matches in one Champions League season, but instead suffered their first defeat since Arsenal beat them 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final on 23 April.

 

FEYENOORD 2 NAPOLI 1

 Having been knocked off top spot in Serie A last week, Napoli’s Champions League ambitions were thwarted at Feyenoord.

Napoli’s Champions League campaign came to an end after Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Feyenoord as Maurizio Sarri was left to reflect on a damaging start to December.

Having surrendered top spot in Serie A following last week’s 1-0 reverse to Juventus, Napoli’s European adventure was taken on an unwanted detour to the Europa League, with Shakhtar Donetsk’s shock victory over Group F winners Manchester City ensuring the result in Netherlands was inconsequential.

The visitors needed a win at De Kuip and a favour from City, but got neither as the final month of 2017 shaped up to be one to forget for the Stadio San Paolo club.

Deprived of the services of the injured Lorenzo Insigne, Napoli made a superb start and Piotr Zielinski soon broke the deadlock from close range.

Feyenoord, 14 points off top spot in the Eredivisie and aiming to avoid the humiliation of finishing the group phase without a point, looked to be on the ropes as Napoli spurned a number of opportunities, but the hosts found a leveller through Nicolai Jorgensen before the break.

With the odds stacked against them in their bid to qualify, Napoli remained the better side throughout a second half that saw Tonny Vilhena dismissed, but somehow contrived to lose to the 10 men as substitute Jeremiah St Juste headed in the winner at the death.

 

Group G

 

Besiktas - The Surprise team of the tournament so far
Besiktas – The Surprise team of the tournament so far

 

RB LEIPZIG 1 BESIKTAS 2

Group G winners Besiktas scored late to beat RB Leipzig in their final group game as the hosts dropped into the Europa League.

Anderson Talisca scored a late winner for Besiktas as the Group G winners won 2-1 at 10-man RB Leipzig, the result sending Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side into the Europa League.

Leipzig needed to better Porto’s result against Monaco to stand any chance of Champions League progression, but it was not going to plan from the moment Alvaro Negredo gave the visitors an early lead from the penalty spot.

The hosts peppered the Besiktas goal but were frustrated by the outstanding Tolga Zengin in goal. Captain Willi Orban hit the post while Timo Werner and Jean-Kevin Augustin both had goals chalked off for offside on a frustrating night for the hosts, who also had Stefan Ilsanker sent off.

Naby Keita briefly restored hope after firing a low shot past Zengin with just three minutes remaining before Talisca hit back in the last minute to seal an impressive away victory.

Leipzig head into the Europa League while Besiktas finish top with an impressive tally of 14 points and will head into Monday’s draw still unbeaten in the tournament.

 

PORTO 5 MONACO 2

Vincent Aboubakar’s double helped Porto secure second place in Champions League Group G with a rampant win over Monaco.

Vincent Aboubakar scored twice as Porto eased into the Champions League last 16 by thrashing Monaco 5-2 in a game that saw both sides reduced to 10 men.

Sergio Conceicao’s men needed a win to guarantee second spot in Group G ahead of RB Leipzig and a place in the first knockout round – where they fell at the hands of Juventus a year ago – and they made light work of a poor Monaco side at Estadio do Dragao.

Aboubakar took advantage of the Ligue 1 champions’ pedestrian defending to score twice inside the opening 33 minutes before Felipe and Rachid Ghezzal were sent off following a clash in the centre circle.

Yacine Brahimi extended Porto’s lead before half time and when Kamil Glik pulled one back for Leonardo Jardim’s beleaguered troops with a penalty just after the hour mark, Porto ruthlessly powered forward to restore their three-goal cushion through Alex Telles.

Second-half substitute Radamel Falcao then scored against his former club but there was to be no Monaco fightback as Tiquinho Soares wrapped up a result that leaves Monaco out of the competition with four defeats and two draws from six games, ending a miserable campaign from last season’s semi-finalists.

Porto, meanwhile, will hope for a favourable draw as they aim to go one better than 2016-17 and reach the quarter-finals.

Group H

Breaking more records yet again
Breaking more records yet again

Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in all of his team’s Champions League group matches in a season as the holders beat Borussia Dortmund.

Ronaldo bent in a fine strike from the edge of the area to score his ninth goal in the competition this season.

He has now scored 114 goals in the Champions League and is 17 ahead of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.

Real have a 50% chance of facing a Premier League side in the last 16.

Zinedine Zidane’s side – already guaranteed to be runners-up behind Tottenham – could face Roma, Besiktas, Paris St-Germain, Manchester City, Manchester United or Liverpool when the draw is made on Monday.

Dortmund enter the Europa League despite collecting just two points from their six games.

After Borja Mayoral scored Real’s opener and Ronaldo netted, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – heavily linked with Real – scored either side of half-time to bring the scores level but Lucas Vazquez hit a late winner for the Spanish side.

 

Spurs v APOEL

Fernando Llorente scored his first Tottenham goal in his 17th appearance for the club as Mauricio Pochettino’s side rounded off their Champions League Group H campaign with a routine victory against Apoel.

Spurs had already secured first place in the group before Wednesday’s game and Pochettino opted to give some of his fringe players a start & rest some of his key players for this game. Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier and Hugo Lloris were all absent.

Llorente, a summer signing from Swansea, was one of those to come in and he opened his Tottenham account midway through the first half, turning smartly inside the box before hooking the ball into the net.

It was a deserved goal for Spurs after a dominant start to the match, with Georges-Kevin N’Koudou having had an early effort cleared off the line.

Son Heung-min added a second before the break, curling in from the edge of the box after playing a one-two with Llorente.

Cypriots Apoel, who needed to avoid defeat to have a chance of claiming a Europa League spot ahead of Borussia Dortmund, offered very little throughout.

Praxitelis Vouros had the visitors’ best chance early in the second half when his deflected strike flew just wide of the far post.

Instead, Spurs added a third late on through N’Koudou’s deflected finish.

Tottenham finished with the highest points tally in this season’s Champions League group stage with 16, and have now the draw and Last 16 in their sights.

 

This article was brought to you from Playnbrag

 

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