Updated: December 2, 2020 8:58:59 AM
Former champions Liverpool and Porto eased to the knockout stages of the Champions League, while record-time 13-time champions Real Madrid will face a 2-0 defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk in Tuesday’s games.
Zinedine Zidane’s side would have gone ahead with the win, but he has defended poorly throughout the season and was undone with a counter-goal in the second half. Instead of making progress, Madrid finished third in Group B behind the Ukrainian side and Borussia Michગngladbach.
Thanks to a second-half goal from midfielder Curtis Jones, six-time champions Liverpool at Anfield beat four-time winners Ajax 1-0 to overcome injury problems.
Two-time winners Porto have already held qualified Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at home, although City have secured the top spot.
It’s not a play in the two groups, but plenty in Madrid as Gladbach lost the chance to advance after beating three-time champions Inter Milan 3-2 at home to win.
Atletico Madrid did not perform well, with Bayern Munich drawing 1-1 at home, although the defending champions were already weakened by the qualifiers.
Munich rested long-time striker Robert Lavandowski and standout goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, but performed well enough to prevent the Spaniard from winning.
Atletico’s in-form striker Joao Felix faced little competition from Neuer without failing him, and he overtook the byline midway through the first half at the cross of Marcus L’Lorents.
But Pete forward Thomas Muller equalized in the 86th from the penalty spot.
In another Group A game, striker Margim Berisha knocked twice, while Salzburg moved to third place with a 1-1 win over Lokmotiv Moscow, preventing the Russian team from advancing to the 16th round.
Salzburg will upset the odds and qualify if they beat Atletico at home next week, but Diego Simeone’s Atletico just need a draw.
Madrid is proud
Madrid have advanced to the knockout stages of all 24 of their previous group-stage campaigns but things are looking tense. Madrid have scored nine goals in five games for their worst defensive record at this stage, losing twice to Shakhtar’s side, which leaked 10 goals in two defeats against Gladbach.
Brazil’s forward Dentinho took advantage in the 57th minute after a counter-attack between Ferland Mendy and Rafael Varane. Zidane’s players failed to pay attention and another player, Manor Solomon, confidently stepped out of the second counter.
In Germany, Inter had to win the chance to reach the second round and the ever-reliable Romelu Lukaku saw it with two goals.
Inter midfielder Matteo Dermiana and French striker Alasea Plio made an early start, while Lukaka netted twice after the break, while Plio responded again.
Significantly, all sides of Group B may still qualify.
Gladbach only needs a draw at Madrid, while Gladbach and Madrid will not draw until Shakhtar finish last with a home win.
Fight for the third
Porto needed just one point and that group barely got into trouble against Winning City, who have a strong record of 10 goals and just one.
Not so much for Marseille, although at least the French side avoided the humiliation of a 14th straight defeat as Dimitri Payet blamed two video-review penalties in the 2-1 home win over Olympiacos.
The win leaves both sides at three points as they compete for third place and Europa League venue.
But Marseille need to improve on the result of the Olympiakos next week, as the Olympiakos beat home Marseille 1-0 and have a head-to-head record with away goals.
The Australians have a game like Marseille’s tough performance in the city as host Porto.
Children are all right
Jones ’first European goal was heart-warming for coach Jorgen Klopp, as he takes into account significant injury problems and a fixed list of crowds.
Klopp could take a break from the quality of Liverpool’s youngest players in the ranks as Jones crossed off with 19-year-old Nico Williams teammate. At the other end, in the absence of the injured No. 1 Allison Baker, there was a confident entry by goalkeeper Comahin Kalehar leading the Ajax attack.
In another Group D game, debutant FC Midtzillaland stunned Atlanta with a 1-1 draw in Bergamo for its first point.
Christian Romero equalized in the 79th minute for last season’s quarter-finalists before fellow center-back Alexander Schulz put the Danish side ahead in the 13th match.
That proved to be a crucial goal.
Ajax is one point behind Atlanta, and must beat the Italian side at home next weekend.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click To join our channel here (indianexpress) And stay updated with the latest headlines
For all the latest sports news, download Indian Express application.
Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.