UEFA Champions League – Who can progress? Napoli, Club Bruges, Bayern, Real and Manchester City all through
With two group stage matchday rounds remaining, we run through who has progressed to the last 16 and who needs what to join Napoli, Club Bruges, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Manchester City in the draw on November 7.
The fourth round of UEFA Champions League group stage fixtures was completed this week, and it means that the last two rounds of group stage fixtures are a mere formality for those five clubs, but there are still 11 places up for grabs.
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Mohamed Salah was left out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up, but more than made up for lost time after scoring the fastest-ever hat-trick in the competition’s history in a very comfortable evening for the Reds.
Rangers actually broke the deadlock to an eruption of noise in Glasgow, as Scott Arfield put the hosts in front. However, the joy was short-lived, as Roberto Firmino’s brace and a goal each from Darwin Nunez and Harvey Elliott sealed a comprehensive win. A draw away at Ajax on October 26 would seal qualification for the six-time winners, while this heavy defeat eliminated the Scottish champions.
Goals from Hirving Lozano, Giacomo Raspadori, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s penalty and Victor Osimhen’s strike ultimately proved to be the difference against the Dutch champions, who found the target through Davy Klaassen’s header and Steven Bergwijn’s spot-kick. Ajax must now beat Liverpool in their next match to stand any chance of progression, but third spot and a place in the UEFA Europa League last-16 play-offs looks like a more realistic proposition.
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was the hero in Spain, as made a series of fine saves to thwart Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa, Matheus Cunha and Alvaro Morata to secure the point needed to progress.
Brugge became only the second Belgian club to reach the last 16 after Gent’s achievement in the 2015/16 campaign.
Elsewhere, FC Porto currently occupy the coveted second qualification place in Group B after cruising to a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. Medhi Taremi scored with two second-half penalties after Galeno’s sixth-minute opener. The Germans had Amine Adli’s equaliser ruled out for handball, while Porto keeper Diogo Costa saved Karem Demirbay’s penalty.
This leaves the Portuguese champions in the driving seat for qualification, ahead of facing Brugge on October 26.
Meanwhile, Leverkusen travel to Atletico on the same day, as all three sides remain in contention to join Brugge in the knockout stages.
Leon Goretzka’s brace and a goal each from Sadio Mane and Thomas Muller did the damage, while second-half strikes from Adam Vlkanova and Jan Kliment for the hosts made the scoreline more respectable at 4-2.
The result also eliminates Plzen, who can still mathematically secure the third spot and Europa League qualification, but it looks like their European adventure will end in November.
Robert Lewandowski effectively kept Barcelona alive with two late equalisers in a scintillating encounter.
Ousmane Dembele put Xavi’s side in front, before Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez turned the match on its head. Lewandowski then scored the first of his two goals with eight minutes remaining, but Robin Gosens put Inter 3-2 in front with 89 minutes played. That result would have eliminated Barca, but Lewandowski’s stoppage-time header leaves Xavi’s men with a glimmer of hope.
Xavi’s side need to beat Bayern on October 26 to put the pressure on Inter, but Simone Inzaghi’s side know that a win at home to Plzen the same day would seal qualification due to their superior head-to-head record over Barca.
Daichi Kamada opened the scoring for Frankfurt before Son Heung-Min equalised after slotting home from Harry Kane’s pass. The England captain then scored from the penalty spot before Son added a third with a fine volley.
Faride Alidou headed in a corner to halve the deficit before Kane missed out on a chance to restore Spurs’ two-goal cushion by missing from the spot with his second penalty.
Marseille now occupy the second spot with six points following a 2-0 win away at nine-man Sporting Lisbon. Sporting lost Ricardo Esgaio through two yellow cards in the space of three minutes, the second which led to Matteo Guendouzi scoring from the penalty spot to put the French side in front.
Alexis Sanchez doubled their advantage before Pedro Goncalves was the second Sporting man to receive his marching orders after receiving two yellow cards in the space of seconds. The result sums up an incredible turnaround for Igor Tudor’s side, who have recovered outstandingly well following defeats in their first two matches.
All four sides can still qualify for the last 16, with Sporting sitting third on six points, while Frankfurt prop up the group with four.
Fikayo Tomori was shown a straight card in the 18th minute for bringing down Mason Mount in the box, and Jorginho scored with the subsequent spot-kick. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the Blues’ advantage to leave Graham Potter’s side in pole position to qualify with seven points from four games, while Milan occupy the third spot with four points.
Red Bull Salzburg occupy the second qualification berth with a 1-1 draw away at Dinamo Zagreb. Nicolas Seiwald put the visitors in front, but Robert Ljubicic levelled the score to give the hosts a well-deserved share of the spoils.
Salzburg remain unbeaten in the group stages, while Dinamo still have a chance of progression despite sitting bottom of the group with four points.
Oleksandr Zubkov headed the hosts in front before former Chelsea defender Rudiger earned Los Blancos a draw.
The results saw Shakhtar slip down into third with five points from four games, while Leipzig moved up to that coveted second spot with six points from four games. Shakhtar and Leipzig continue their tussle for the second spot when the Ukrainian champions travel to Glasgow and the Germans host Real Madrid on October 25.
Celtic’s best hopes of continuing their European adventure lie in securing the third spot and a place in the Europa League last-16 play-off. Ange Postecoglou’s team currently sit bottom of the group with one point, four adrift of Shakhtar with two games remaining.
A win would have secured Dortmund a place in the knockout stages, but Edin Terzic’s team only need a point from their remaining two fixtures to safely progress to the last-16 by virtue of their superior head-to-head record against Copenhagen and Sevilla.
The group continues on October 25 when Dortmund host Man City, while Sevilla entertain Copenhagen in what is looking like a battle to secure the third spot and a place in the Europa League.
However, Joao Mario levelled the scores with his own penalty in the second half before Mbappe had a late volley ruled out for offside.
The result leaves PSG and Benfica occupying the top two qualification berths with eight points apiece.
All four teams are still in contention to qualify, but PSG and Benfica are the heavy favourites to progress. The group continues on October 25 when PSG host Maccabi and Juventus travel to Benfica.
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