Barca, Chelsea advance as United lose

LONDON:

Barcelona and Chelsea progressed to the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, but Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United must wait to seal their spot after a last-gasp 1-0 defeat in Basel.

Barca needed only a point to reach the knockout stage and the Spanish superpower got exactly that against Juventus. A 0-0 draw at last year’s runners-up was enough to ensure top spot in Group ‘D’.

Chelsea advanced with a game to spare after beating 10-man Qarabag 4-0, securing manager Antonio Conte’s 50th victory in all competitions with the Blues.

A goalless draw at FC Basel would have been enough for United to top Group ‘A’, but the Premier League club slipped to their first group stage loss, going down to a goal conceded just a minute from time.

Already through, Paris St Germain conceded the first goal of their European campaign in the first minute before unleashing their unstoppable firepower to thrash Celtic 7-1 in Paris.

LISBON: Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Cesar (L) vies for the ball with Diogo Figueiras of Olympiakos during their Group ‘D’ match at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.—Reuters
LISBON: Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Cesar (L) vies for the ball with Diogo Figueiras of Olympiakos during their Group ‘D’ match at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.—Reuters

Juve will have to wait until the final round to try and qualify for the knockout stages. The Italian side remained second in Group ‘D’ but are only a point above Sporting Lisbon, which beat Olympiakos 3-1.

The Italian side which reached the final in two of the last three seasons next visit Olympiakos, while Sporting travel to Barca.

Five-time European champions Barca, who rested Lionel Messi until the 56th minute, went closest to breaking the deadlock when Ivan Rakitic hit the post with a free kick.

In Portugal, Bas Dost scored a goal in each half for Sporting Lisbon. Bruno Cesar added the third while Vadis Odjidja scored the consolation goal for Olympiakos.

Willian scored a goal in each half and won a pair of penalties as Chelsea thrashed Qarabag in Baku to guarantee a top-two finish in Group ‘C’.

Eden Hazard made it 1-0 from the penalty spot in the 21st minute, calmly sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. Home team captain Rashad F. Sadygov had received a straight red card for tugging back Willian just inside the area as the Chelsea forward ran onto Hazard’s pass.

Hazard then fed Willian with a back-heel pass to make it 2-0 in the 37th.

Qarabag, the first club from Azerbaijan to reach the group stage of the Champions League, had no better luck in the second half. Cesc Fabregas scored from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute and Willian added his second goal, a drive from 20 meters, five minutes from time.

BASEL: Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini (C) vies for the ball with FC Basel’s Geoffroy Serey Die (L) and Eder Balanta during their Group ‘A’ match at St Jakob Park.—AFP
BASEL: Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini (C) vies for the ball with FC Basel’s Geoffroy Serey Die (L) and Eder Balanta during their Group ‘A’ match at St Jakob Park.—AFP

“We did everything well. We should have scored more. It is easy to play with these good players,” Hazard said.

Atletico Madrid, runners-up twice in the past four years, retained an outside chance of pipping AS Roma to a place in the knockout stage as Antoine Griezmann snapped an eight-match goal drought in a 2-0 win in Spain.

The French striker broke the deadlock with a spectacular acrobatic effort on 69 minutes, before compatriot Kevin Gameiro added a late second to seal a first win of the campaign for Atletico.

However, they must beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their final game and hope Roma drop points at home to Qarabag to avoid parachuting into the Europa League.

United were deservedly beaten by a spirited Basel, leaving all the qualification places open with one game remaining.

United, who hit the woodwork twice in the first half through Marouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo, looked on course to secure the point required to punch their ticket to the last 16 in Switzerland before Michael Lang popped up with an 89th-minute winner.

“It’s like a dream. Right now I can’t believe we won against such a strong team,” Swiss international Lang told RTS. “We always thought we could win this match and in the end it was a victory like I had never seen before.”

Mourinho blamed United’s inability to convert their first-half dominance into goals after watching his side lose their perfect record in the group.

“We lost because in the first half we should be 5-0 up but we could not score one goal after being so dominant,” Mourinho said.

Still, United leads the standings with 12 points, three clear of both Basel and CSKA Moscow, who earlier won 2-0 at home to last-placed Benfica.

In the final round on December 5, Basel play at Benfica, and United host CSKA.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev recorded a first clean sheet in the group stage since 2006 — ending a staggering run of 43 matches conceding a goal — as CSKA condemned Benfica to a fifth straight loss in Group ‘A’.

Georgi Schennikov’s cool finish steered CSKA into a 13th-minute lead in Moscow before the hosts grabbed a second through an own goal from Brazilian defender Jardel.

PSG dismantled Celtic as the French giants registered their biggest win in the competition, despite falling behind when Moussa Dembele scored inside the first minute at the Parc des Princes.

A brace from Neymar soon turned the game around, before Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe added goals of their own before the interval.

Marco Verratti made it five with quarter of an hour left, before Cavani got his second and a sensational Dani Alves hit wrapped up a record-breaking night as PSG shattered the previous mark of 21 group-stage goals set last year by Borussia Dortmund.

Unai Emery’s team have now scored 24 times in five matches and conceded just once, although they must avoid a heavy reverse at Bayern Munich next month to ensure they finish top of Group ‘B’.

Robert Lewandowski and Corentin Tolisso scored in Brussels as Bayern overcame Anderlecht 2-1 to retain their 100 percent record since 72-year-old Jupp Heynckes returned for a fourth spell at the club.

COURTESY BY: https://www.dawn.com

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