Home SPORTSFOOTBALLBundesliga Champions League:Bayern, Club Brugge, Napoli through, Lewandowski saves Barcelona and Salah makes history

Champions League:Bayern, Club Brugge, Napoli through, Lewandowski saves Barcelona and Salah makes history

FC Bayern, Club Brugge and Napoli all booked places in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 with two games to spare, and Inter were seconds from joining them before Robert Lewandowski's second goal of the game kept Barcelona's top-two hopes alive

by Kolkata Today

FC Bayern, Club Brugge and Napoli all booked places in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 with two games to spare, and Inter were seconds from joining them before Robert Lewandowski’s second goal of the game kept Barcelona’s top-two hopes alive. Mohamed Salah went one better, coming on to score the competition’s fastest ever hat-trick as Liverpool, Tottenham, Porto and Marseille all recorded important wins.

Group A

Rangers 1-7 Liverpool

Salah came off the bench to score the fastest ever Champions League hat-trick as the Reds ran riot in Glasgow. The home side actually took the lead when Scott Arfield finished off a fine team move, but Roberto Firmino levelled and after the break it was all Liverpool. Firmino tucked in Joe Gomez’s cross before teeing up Darwin Núñez for the third. That was Darwin’s final touch as he was replaced by Salah, who duly scored three in a shade over six minutes. Harvey Elliott added a late seventh.

Salah’s three-goal salvo came in the space of six minutes 12 seconds, beating Bafétimbi Gomis’s eight-minute hat-trick in another 7-1 win back in 2011, for Lyon at Dinamo.

Napoli 4-2 Ajax

The Italian side once again proved too strong for Ajax as two goals in the opening 16 minutes from Hirving Lozano and Giacomo Raspadori set them on course for a fourth Group A win. The visitors battled gamely, Davy Klaassen’s header halving the deficit and then, after the effervescent Khvicha Kvaratskhelia restored the cushion from the spot, Steven Bergwijn’s late penalty briefly made it 3-2. Substitute Victor Osimhen finally finished off Ajax as Napoli sealed progress.

Napoli have scored 17 goals in four games so far, already their highest ever tally in a Champions League campaign and only eight short of Paris’s 2017/18 record.

Group B

Leverkusen 0-3 Porto

Medhi Taremi slotted in two second-half penalties as Porto triumphed at Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen. The Dragons broke the deadlock after just six minutes when Galeno controlled a superb pass from keeper Diogo Costa, bore down on goal and fired into the bottom corner. At the other end, Costa saved a Karem Demirbay penalty, while Amine Adli had an equaliser chalked off for handball. After the break two Taremi spot kicks – both after fouls on Galeno – sealed it for the visitors.
Leverkusen have failed to score in six of their last nine Champions League matches.

Atletico 0-0 Club Brugge

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was the hero as Club Brugge withstood persistent pressure to qualify for the knockout stages with two games to spare. Mignolet repeatedly denied Antoine Griezmann and Ángel Correa, securing a fourth successive Group B clean sheet thanks to sensational late saves from Matheus Cunha and Álvaro Morata. Midfielder Kamal Sowah received a second yellow card with eight minutes remaining but the Blauw-Zwart held on.

Club Brugge have reached the round of 16 for the first time in ten attempts, becoming only the second Belgian club to do so after Gent in 2015/16

Group C

Plzen 2-4 Bayern

Four goals in 35 first-half minutes effectively sealed FC Bayern’s passage to the knockout stages. Sadio Mané gave the visitors an early lead and Thomas Müller soon tapped in the second. Leon Goretzka added a double, the first a sweeping finish and the second a calm chip over the goalkeeper, as Bayern took full control. Adam Vlkanova and Jan Kliment scored in the second half to lift the Plzen fans but the night belonged to Bayern.

FC Bayern stretched their unbeaten run in the Champions League group stage to a record-extending 32 games.

Barcelona 3-3 Inter

Lewandowski struck two late equalisers to keep Barcelona’s top-two hopes alive. After Edin Džeko hit the crossbar for the visitors early on, Barca went ahead through Ousmane Dembélé before the break. Nicolò Barella and Lautaro Martínez produced clinical finishes before Lewandowski drilled in with eight minutes remaining. Robin Gosens restored Inter’s lead in the 89th minute, and the Nerazzurri were seconds from joining Bayern in the last 16 when Lewandowski levelled again two minutes into added time.

Martínez’s goal was his first in the group stage since November 2020, when he found the net against Real Madrid.

Group D

Sporting CP 0-2 Marseille

Marseille took full advantage as Sporting CP ended with nine men in Lisbon. In an extraordinary first half Ricardo Esgaio was booked twice in three minutes – his second for conceding a penalty that Matteo Guendouzi swept in. Alexis Sánchez tapped in a second, and any faint home hopes of a miracle ended when Pedro Gonçalves was shown two yellow cards in a matter of seconds. Without a point after two games, Marseille are now level with their opponents.
Marseille’s first clean sheet in 19 Champions League games helped end a sequence of nine away defeats in the competition.

Tottenham 3-2 Frankfurt

Heung-Min Son scored twice in a brilliant performance as Tottenham came from behind to beat ten-man Frankfurt and move top of a congested Group D. Daichi Kamada tapped Frankfurt ahead but Son soon steered in a superb Harry Kane pass. Kane won and scored a penalty with a driving run before Son scored the goal of the game with a crashing volley. Tuta was then sent off, but in a frantic last few minutes Faride Alidou headed in a corner and Kane missed another spot kick.

Kane and Son have combined for 50 goals in all competitions for Tottenham, with Kane assisting Son 24 times, and Son returning the favour on 26 occasions.

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