Home SPORTSFOOTBALLBundesliga Champions League:Mane shines;Bayern beat Barcelona while Liverpool, Inter, Porto all advance

Champions League:Mane shines;Bayern beat Barcelona while Liverpool, Inter, Porto all advance

Liverpool, Inter and Porto marched into the round of 16 in impressive style

by Kolkata Today

Liverpool, Inter and Porto marched into the round of 16 in impressive style as early UEFA Champions League exits were confirmed for Ajax, Barcelona and Atlético de Madrid.

Group A

Napoli 3-0 Rangers

Giovanni Simeone scored twice in a blistering opening 16 minutes as a much-changed Napoli swept aside Rangers to stay top of Group A with a 12th straight win in all competitions. Simeone ran away from Ben Davies to thump in a low shot before meeting Mário Rui’s wonderful cross with a powerful header. Rangers improved after the break, with Alfredo Morelos missing a great chance at the far post, but allowed Leo Østigård a free header for a late third.

Napoli are the first Italian team to score 20 goals or more in a Champions League group.

Ajax 0-3 Liverpool

Liverpool rode out plenty of early Ajax pressure to emerge as comfortable victors and round of 16 qualifiers. Steven Berghuis hit a post after three minutes and Dušan Tadić was also denied, yet Liverpool were ahead at half-time. Jordan Henderson’s outside-of-the-boot cross got the finish it deserved – Mohamed Salah’s dink oozed class. Darwin Núñez struck a post but did get on the mark early in the second half with a show of strength and guile to head in from a corner. Harvey Elliott smashed into the roof of the net to make it three.

This was Liverpool’s150th Champions League match, group stage to final. They are the tenth club to reach that landmark, the fourth from England.

Group B

Club Brugge 0-4 Porto

The visitors, beaten 4-0 by Club Brugge on Matchday 2, gave their Belgian hosts a taste of their own medicine. Mehdi Taremi scored two and set up another for Stephen Eustáquio, while there was a first Champions League goal for Evanilson as Porto ran riot against a team that had not conceded in the group stage before tonight. The Dragons were also indebted to Diogo Costa, who saved Hans Vanaken’s penalty with the score 1-0 and then, when it was retaken because of encroachment, dived the other way to deny Noa Lang.

Diogo Costa has saved penalties in each of Porto’s last three Group B games, keeping clean sheets in all of them.

Atletico 2-2 Leverkusen

Porto’s win earlier in the evening ended Leverkusen’s last-16 hopes and left Atleti needing a win to keep alive their aspirations. It was the cue for a thriller in Madrid. Twice the visitors led after slips by home attackers, with Moussa Diaby and Callum Hudson-Odoi both on target, but Atleti battled back to parity each time through Yannick Carrasco and substitute Rodrigo de Paul. In an astonishing climax, Diego Simeone’s men were awarded a penalty by VAR after the full-time whistle which Carrasco took and Lukas Hradecky saved before Saúl Ñíguez headed the rebound against the bar.

This is only the third time in 13 seasons Atlético have failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Group C

Inter 4-0 Plzen

This was some performance from Inter to book their last-16 berth. Jindřich Staněk had already pulled off a fine double save when Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed the hosts in front after 35 minutes, and it was one-way traffic thereafter. The indefatigable Federico Dimarco laid the ball on a plate for Edin Džeko to make it 2-0, and the 36-year-old added his second and Inter’s third with a consummate finish midway through the second half. The returning Romelu Lukaku iced the cake with a vintage fourth.
Key stat: Džeko has scored 11 goals in just seven European games against Plzen.


Barcelona 0-3 Bayern

FC Bayern will finish top of their Champions League group for a fifth successive season after a clinical victory in Barcelona, whose place in the UEFA Europa League knockout stages had been confirmed by Inter’s earlier triumph. Sadio Mané opened the scoring with a dinked finish over Marc-André ter Stegen in the tenth minute, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting drilled in shortly after the half-hour. Benjamin Pavard slotted in a last-gasp third to give Serge Gnabry a hat-trick of assists.

FC Bayern have won their last six Champions League matches against Barcelona, keeping clean sheets in the last four.

Group D

Tottenham 1-1 Sporting CP

Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages are on a knife-edge after a costly draw. Former Tottenham man Marcus Edwards gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half but the home side responded emphatically after the break, levelling through Rodrigo Bentancur nine minutes from time. Antonio Conte’s charges pushed desperately for a winner and they thought they had found it in the 95th minute when Harry Kane netted, only to be ruled offside.

Edwards is only the fourth Englishman to score against a Premier League team in the Champions League for a non-English club.

Frankfurt 2-1 Marseille

Eintracht Frankfurt kept alive their hopes of progressing from Group D with a narrow victory. Daichi Kamada set the competition debutants on their way with an early strike following Jesper Lindstrøm’s clever dummy, but it was soon cancelled out by Matteo Guendouzi’s smart back-post volley. Randal Kolo Muani restored Frankfurt’s lead moments later and the hosts survived a second-half onslaught to leave the section with all to play going into Matchday 6.
Eintracht Frankfurt not only recorded their first Champions League home win, they also scored on their own ground for the first time in this competition.

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