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Uefa Champions League

Uefa Champions League: Bayern Munich among four advancing to knockout stage

Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain also book their places in last-16

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 8:45am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 8:45am

Four teams, including five-time winner Bayern Munich, sealed early places in the Champions League knockout rounds on Tuesday.

Barcelona, shockingly, were not among them despite Lionel Messi’s goal taking a first-half lead at Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s team turned a memorable game on its head to win 3-1, and end the English side’s run of being outclassed by its coach’s former club in recent years.

“Now, we realise we won against the best team [in the world],” Guardiola said. “For the future generations, they are going to realize, ‘Wow these guys are able to beat the best team.’”

Bayern and Atletico Madrid both advanced from Group D, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain booked their tickets from Group A to the round of 16.

Arsenal took an adventurous route in Bulgaria, trailing Ludogorets Razgrad by two early goals before Mesut Ozil’s sublime solo goal in the 88th minute clinched a 3-2 win.

Here is how Tuesday’s action unfolded:

GROUP A

Arsenal and PSG are tied on 10 points and each could win the group – and seeded status in the round of 16 draw – with victory when they play in London on November 23.

Both needed late goals to secure three points on Tuesday.

PSG dominated at Basel but a 2-1 win was only sealed in the 90th by defender Thomas Meunier’s volleyed shot from outside the penalty area into the top right corner of the net. The Swiss side were down to 10 men at the time, following an 84th-minute red card for midfielder Geoffroy Serey Die.

Basel’s leveller in the 76th was also a stunner. Substitute Luca Zuffi’s dipping shot from 35 meters out deceived goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

PSG had led in the 43rd when Blaise Matuidi diverted Meunier’s shot across the goalmouth with a deft flick off his right heel.

Arsenal advanced from its group for a 17th consecutive season under coach Arsene Wenger.

Down 2-0 after 15 minutes, the game was soon level through goals by Granit Xhaka and Olivier Giroud.

Ozil then perhaps bettered his hat trick in a 6-0 rout of Ludogorets last month. He collected a through ball, lifted it over goalkeeper Milan Borjan, and then glided past two defenders before calmly slotting into an empty net.

GROUP B

In a tight group, Napoli and Benfica are on seven points with unbeaten Besiktas on six.

Penalties were key to Besiktas and Napoli drawing 1-1 in Istanbul, and Benfica beating visiting Dynamo Kiev 1-0.

Besiktas led in the 79th when Ricardo Queresma scored from the spot, and Napoli talisman Marek Hamsik’s arching shot from distance leveled three minutes later.

There were reports that a Napoli fan was stabbed before the match in an Istanbul metro station after a clash between supporters.

Eduardo Salvio put Benfica ahead with a powerfully hit spot-kick in first-half stoppage time, and Dynamo were denied an equaliser when goalkeeper Ederson saved a penalty from Junior Moraes.

GROUP C

Manchester City had lost all five Champions League games against Barcelona since 2012 – including a 4-0 mauling at Camp Nou two weeks ago.

Messi’s 90th goal in Europe’s top club competition in the 21st minute, finishing a clinical counter-attack, suggested a repeat.

However, inspired by Kevin De Bruyne, Guardiola’s team fought back first through Ilkay Gundogan in the 39th.

De Bruyne fired in a free kick in the 51st, and then sent a stunning through-ball for the third, slammed in by Gundogan from close range in the 74th.

Celtic did City a favour by levelling late in a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach. Moussa Dembele’s penalty in the 76th cancelled out Lars Stindl’s opener in the 32nd.

“It was always going to be about learning for us this year,” admitted Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.

Celtic had been beaten 2-0 at home by Gladbach two weeks ago in Glasgow and Rodgers added: “To come here when they were clearly the better team two weeks ago, I felt we were the better side tonight and should have won the game.

“I’m very proud of the team tonight. I thought they were excellent.”

Barcelona lead with nine points, two clear of Man City. Borussia have four, trailing City by three points before they meet in Germany on November 23. Celtic have only an outside chance on two points.

GROUP D

Atletico, beaten finalist in two of the past three seasons, are the only club with four wins.

Antoine Griezmann’s stoppage time goal, adding to his acrobatic opener in the 28th, clinched a 2-1 win against Russian newcomer Rostov. Sardar Azmoun’s leveler in the 30th was the first goal conceded by Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak in this season’s competition.

Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski scored twice in a comeback 2-1 win in Eindhoven, where PSV led through defender Santiago Arias in the 14th.

Lewandowski already struck a post and the crossbar with headers before he scored with a 34th-minute penalty. The Poland star finished off a cross by David Alaba in the 74th, and later had another shot hit the bar.

Rostov and PSV have a point each, and Bayern have nine, trailing Atletico by three.

Bayern host Atletico in the last game next month, and whoever finishes runner-up will likely be the most dangerous unseeded team in the round of 16 draw.

“[Rostov] are a similar team to us: they defend and counter-attack well. They made it very difficult, but the most important thing was the three points and in the end we are happy,” Griezmann said.

“We are on top, but there are two games left and we have to try to finish top of the group.”

PRIZE MONEY

Teams advancing Tuesday ensured an extra 5.5 million (HK$47 million) payment from Uefa for playing in the round of 16.

Uefa pays a basic fee of 12 million (HK$102 million) to clubs in the group stage, and adds 1.5 million (HK$12.86 million) for each win and 500,000 euros (HK$4.2 million) for a draw.

The 32 group-stage teams share a Uefa prize fund of more than 1.3 billion euros (HK$11.14 billion).

Earlier Tuesday, UEFA said Manchester City got the biggest payday last season — collecting 83.8 million (HK$718 million) despite reaching only the semi-finals. City’s total was boosted by a share of valuable British television rights.