PARIS: Manchester United and Juventus were among the sides to clinch a place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday, while Bayern Munich gained a measure of revenge over Paris Saint-Germain.
United, Juventus, Roma and Basel all went through with victories in their final group games, but Atletico Madrid, beaten finalists in 2014 and 2016, were eliminated.
Jose Mourinho’s United side came from behind to beat CSKA Moscow 2-1 at Old Trafford as they reach the knockout rounds for the first time since 2013-14.
Only a heavy defeat could have eliminated United in Group A, but Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford scored two minutes apart in the second half to seal victory at Old Trafford, where they are unbeaten in 40 games in all competitions now.
CSKA had taken the lead on the stroke of half-time, a shot from the Brazilian Vitinho going in off the back of Alan Dzagoev.
“I’m really happy because we don’t want to qualify with a defeat, we don’t want to qualify with a bad performance,” said Mourinho.
CSKA drop into the Europa League, while Basel reached the last 16 for the third time this decade, the Swiss champions beating Benfica 2-0 in Lisbon with goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi and Dimitri Oberlin.
Last season’s beaten finalists Juventus progressed from Group D thanks to their 2-0 win away to Olympiakos, Juan Cuadrado opening the scoring early on before Federico Bernardeschi completed the victory late on.
The Italian champions go through behind Barcelona, who rounded off their group phase by easing to a 2-0 win at home against Sporting Lisbon.
Lionel Messi was left on the bench at a sparsely populated Camp Nou as Paco Alcacer headed the hosts in front and Jeremy Mathieu then scored an own goal against his old side. Sporting drop into the Europa League.
– Chelsea drop to second –
Roma knew they would go through from Group C with a win, which they got, although they could only edge out Qarabag of Azerbaijan 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico with a Diego Perotti effort in the second half.
That turned out to be enough for Roma to win the section ahead of Chelsea, who had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Atletico.
Saul Niguez headed Atletico in front on 56 minutes at Stamford Bridge, but Eden Hazard’s ball across goal was turned into his own net by Stefan Savic to restore parity.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico, who have only been knocked out by Real Madrid in each of the last four years, reaching at least the quarter-finals every time, must now accept a spot in the Europa League. They won that trophy in 2010 and 2012.
“I am not looking anywhere but forward. This will help us for sure. These situations, apart from the frustration of not being in the next round, will help the team move forward and onto the Europa League,” Simeone told beIN Sports Spain.
– Tolisso double for Bayern –
Bayern and PSG had already secured qualification from Group B but met at the Allianz Arena with first place still up for grabs.
Having lost 3-0 in Paris in September, Bayern needed to win by four goals to leapfrog Neymar and co.
They gave themselves a chance, with Robert Lewandowski and Corentin Tolisso both heading home in the first half.
Kylian Mbappe got one back just after the break, leaving Bayern with too much to do, although Tolisso did score again to make it 3-1.
PSG will be the happier side at winning the group, although possible last-16 opponents for them are Chelsea, Juventus and Real Madrid.
“I am 50 percent happy and 50 percent disappointed,” said their coach Unai Emery.
Celtic, who lost 7-1 at PSG last time out, lost 1-0 at home to Anderlecht after a Jozo Simunovic own goal in the second half. Despite a fifth loss in six group games, they limp into the Europa League in the new year.
Liverpool are among the sides hoping to secure a place in the last 16 on Wednesday, with four more berths still up for grabs for next Monday’s draw. – AFP
Story first published: 6th December 2017