Wednesday’s Champions League

Wednesday’s Champions League results saw Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund advance from Group A and Barcelona seal top spot in Group B.

Group C is going to down the the wire with Napoli, PSG and Liverpool all in a position to qualify for the knockouts. Whilst Porto won Group D and Schalke also advanced to the Final 16.

GROUP A

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Atletico Madrid v AS Monaco

2-0 

Atletico qualified for the knockout stages with a dominant home victory over the struggling Monaco.

Koke‘s deflected shot gave the Spaniards a second-minute lead. Antoine Greizmann doubled his side’s lead with a stylish finish 22 minutes later.

Radamel Falcao missed a late penalty for Monaco after Stefan Savic was sent off for his second bookable offense of the game to concede the spot-kick. Aside from the penalty, they barley threatened Diego Simeone’s well-oiled machine.

The La Liga side currently top Group A, whilst Monaco are set to finish bottom of the group with just one point from five games.

 

Up Next:

Champions League

Brugge v Atletico – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Monaco v Dortmund – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

La Liga 

Girona v Atletico – Sunday, December 2nd (10:15am)

Ligue 1

Monaco v Montpellier – Saturday, December 1st (2pm)

 

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Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge

0-0 

Dortmund booked their place in the knockout stage with a game to spare after their goalless draw against Brugge.

The Germans, who only needed a point to advance, weren’t their free-scoring best after a spell that has seen them average more than three goals per game over their last 12 matches. They were in control for the majority of the game, but needed to be more patient against a well-organised Belgian defense, despite having roughly 75% of the possession.

Apart from a wasted Christian Pulisic effort from close range early on, the hosts had to wait until after the half hour mark for another golden opportunity through Marco Reus, who broke clear but fired wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

The Bundesliga side are still unbeaten in their domestic campaign and kept the pressure on Brugge after the break. Puslisic came close again as the hosts showed a lack of their usual clinical finishes.

The Belgians successfully managed to pile bodies in and around the box to keep the German side out and earn a point, though it did little to make for an entertaining spectacle, having not produced a single effort on target the entire game.

Dortmund are two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid. Brugge did enough to secure third place and a spot in the Europa League after Monaco’s 2-0 defeat.


Up Next:

Champions League 

Monaco v Dortmund – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Brugge v Atletico – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Bundesliga 

Dortmund v SC Freiburg – Saturday, December 2nd (9:30am)

Belgian Pro League

Brugge v Standard Liège – Sunday, December 2nd (8:30am)

 

GROUP B 

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PSV Eindhoven v FC Barcelona

1-2 

Barcelona ensured their place in the Final 16 with the victory at PSV seeing them win Group B. The Catalan side had already qualified for the knockouts but sealed the top spot with a Lionel Messi strike and a clever second by Gerard Pique.

Pique stabbed home what looked like a panned move from Messi‘s swept delivery. After the game the Spaniard said the build-up to his goal was “practiced”, a claim Messi later debunked, suggesting it was a “badly taken free-kick” which involved an element of luck.

Luuk de Jong scored a late consolation goal for PSV, who missed a host of chances. The Dutch side hit the frame four times before finding the back of the net.

It led to a nervy end to the game for Barca, especially when Denzel Dumfries had a strong injury-time penalty claim waved off.


Up Next:

Champions League

Inter Milan v PSV – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Barcelona v Spurs – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Eredivisie 

Feyenoord v PSV – Sunday, December 2nd (8:30am)

La Liga

Barcelona v Villarreal – Sunday, December 2nd (12:30pm)

 

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Tottenham Hotspur v Inter Milan

1-0 

Christian Eriksen came off the bench to score the late winner for Spurs to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive. They needed the win to retain any chance of emerging from Group B and for lengthy spells it looked like their ambitions would flounder.

Harry Winks struck the bar, whilst Jan Vertonghen headed wide as the home side pressed but it took the introduction of the Dane to make the crucial breakthrough. He was the beneficiary of some impressive work from Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli to score with 10 minutes left.

The Italians had many opportunities of their own with Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris saving from Ivan Perisic – but the Premier League side held on for the win.

The progress of the second team from Group B goes down to the wire. Spurs must now watch Inter’s result at home to PSV, whilst they travel to Barcelona. If Tottenham win or draw and Inter lose then the London team go through. If Inter win or draw then they’ll be the team to go through to the next round. New rules state that should two teams finish on equal pegging (if neither Spurs nor Inter win) then it comes down to their head-to-head results.

 

Up Next:

Champions League

Barcelona v Spurs – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Inter  v PSV – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Premier League

Arsenal v Spurs – Sunday, December 2nd (9:05am)

Serie A

Roma v Inter – Sunday, December 2nd (2:30pm)

 

GROUP C

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Napoli v Red Star Belgrade

3-1 

Napoli swept aside Red Star with one of their typically entreating performances as two goals from Dries Mertens helped them to a 3-1 victory. The win keeps the Serie A side top of Group C, with nine points from five games, whilst the Serbian champions have only four points and are eliminated after allowing 13 goals in their three away games.

The result wasn’t enough to guarantee Napoli a place in the round of 16 though as PSG beat Liverpool 2-1, leaving the French side on eight points and Liverpool on 6. This is the closest group this season. Napoli visit Liverpool in their final match where they need to avoid losing by two or more goals, or by a 1-0 scoreline, to qualify without having to depend on PSG’s result.

The hosts were quickly into their elegant stride and nearly grabbed an early lead when Kalidou Koulibaly sent Jose Callejon away down the right and his low shot was back-heeled towards goal by Mertens but was blocked by goalie Milan Borjan. It didn’t take them long to go ahead after that, though it was a much simpler move, Marek Hamsik tapped in a corner cross from Nikola Makismovic after just 11 minutes.

Koulibaly saw his header tipped over the bar after a move started and finished by the Senegalese defender before Mertens doubled their lead following another flowing attack. Hamsik set up the third seven minutes after the break with an incisive ball to Mertens whose superb first touch took the Belgian away from his marker before chipping the ball over the helpless Borjan.

Five minutes later El Fardou Ben Nabouhane scored a consolation goal for Red Star after a crazy piece of skill from Marko Marin opened up the Napoli defense with a wonderful reverse pass.


Up Next:

Champions League

Liverpool v Napoli – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Red Star v PSG – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Serie A

Atalanta v Napoli – Monday, December 3rd (2:30pm)

Serbian SuperLiga

Red Star v Voždovac – Sunday, December 2nd (12pm)

 

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Paris Saint-German v Liverpool

2-1 

The Reds face an uphill battle to reach the knockout stage after suffering a dream-crushing 2-1 defeat against PSG. As things stand Liverpool are third in Group C and need to beat first-place Napoli at Anfield to progress.

The visitors were outplayed for large periods of the game in Paris. James Milner‘s penalty just before the break was their only shot on target for the entire game. By that point they’d already fallen a couple of goals behind as Juan Bernat found the net after Virgil van Dijk‘s poor clearance. Neymar then doubled their lead by starting and finishing a swift team counter-attack.

PSG had a second half goal disallowed for offside against Marquinhos, who also had a header kept out by Alisson.

 

Up Next:

Champions League

Red Star v PSG – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Liverpool v Napoli – Tuesday, December 11th (3pm)

Ligue 1

Bordeaux v PSG – Sunday, December 2nd (3pm)

Premier League

Liverpool v Everton – Sunday, December 2nd (11:15am)

 

GROUP D

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Lokomotiv Moscow v Galatasaray

2-0  

A goal in each half for the Russian hosts was enough for them to earn a 2-0 win over Galatasaray, ending the Turkish side’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages, sending both Porto and Schalke through.

The visitors needed a victory to put pressure on the group’s top two but fell behind just before halftime to a goal from PSG loanee Grzegorz Krychowiak. Nine minutes after the break Lokomotiv added their second through Vladislav Ignatyev, seeing out the victory to give themselves hope of finishing third and moving into the Europa League with a game to go.

The Turks still sit third, ahead of their clash with Porto. Lokomotiv’s win, however, means the top two are through to the Final 16.


Up Next:

Champions League

Schalke v Lokomotiv – Tuesday, December 11th (12:55pm)

Galatasaray v Porto – Tuesday, December 11th (12:55pm)

Russian Premier League

Spartak Moskva v Lokomotiv – Sunday, December 2nd (11am)

Süper Lig 

Beşiktaş v Galatasaray – Sunday, December 2nd (12pm) 

 

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FC Porto v Schalke 

3-1 

Porto needed two second-half goals to see off Schalke. The victory assured qualification to the knockouts. With Schalke also through, it was more a formality affair in the larger scheme of things.

The game started slow, with neither side managing to open each other up. The match was marred with hard-tackling and little in the way of quality passing, both goalkeepers were left with nothing much to do. That was the case until close to the half hour mark when Porto threatened to take the lead but solid defensive work from the Germans saw them clear the shot off the line. That was the nearest either team came to breaking the ice, with the first half ending goalless and leaving Porto frustrated with their lack of initiative.

At the start of the second half, Hector Herrera picked up a loose ball from a rebounded shot and fired straight into the defense. The deadlock was finally broken after 52 minutes, Eder Militao rose high and sent his header into the bottom corner.

Schalke looked for an immediate response, but former Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas stopped Yevhen Konoplyanka‘s close range shot. Porto then made it 2-0 as Jesus Corona finished a nice move inside the box. The Portuguese champions were far from done, Yacine Brahimi rattled the crossbar.

Schalke were hopeful they could get back in the game after they were handed a late penalty which Nabil Bentaleb calmly slotted home as their consolation. It was a little too late though and Marega rounded off the match in injury time, as he turned his marker for a chip into an empty net to help seal top place and see his side win Group D.


Up Next:

Champions League

Galatasaray v Porto – Tuesday, December 11th (12:55pm)

Schalke v Moscow – Tuesday, December 11th (12:55pm)

Primeira Liga

Boavista v Porto – Sunday, December 2nd (3pm)

Bundesliga

Hoffenheim v Schalke – Saturday, December 1st (12:30pm)

 

ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN

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