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Champions League: United and Juventus through to last 16

Football
Wed, 06 Dec 2017
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LONDON: Manchester United reached the Champions League last-16 as Group A winners after coming from behind to beat CSKA Moscow 2-1 at home and finish ahead of Basel who also went through with a 2-0 win at Benfica last night.

The result left United top of the section on 15 points, three more than second-placed Basel and six ahead of third-placed CSKA who will carry on in the second-tier Europa League after the winter break.

Having missed a string of good chances in the opening period, United fell behind to a freakish Vitinho goal, heavily deflected off Alan Dzagoev, on the stroke of halftime before Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford struck within a minute to turn the match on its head.

Juventus also claimed a place in the last 16 as Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi secured a 2-0 win at Greek side Olympiakos Piraeus and second place in Group D.

The Serie A side, runners-up in last year’s competition, needed a win to ensure progression to the knockout round was not threatened by Sporting who were in action at Barcelona.

The result, coupled with Barca’s 2-0 win over Sporting, meant Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve side finished as group runners-up, three points behind the Spaniards.

Atletico Madrid were eliminated after a 1-1 draw at Chelsea that denied the English side top spot in Group C.

It was a depressing evening for both clubs at Stamford Bridge as neither got what they wanted from their final group fixture.

Atletico had to win to have a chance of advancing, but although Saul Niguez’s second-half header put the visitors ahead, Chelsea drew level through a Stefan Savic own goal.

In the end, Roma’s win against Qarabag in the other group match made the result irrelevant for Diego Simeone’s team, who failed to qualify for the last 16 for only the second time and the first since the 2009-10 season.

Chelsea were already through to the knockout stages, but blew their chance to finish in first place and in theory earn an easier draw.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich ruined Paris St Germain’s perfect Champions League record this season with a 3-1 victory but their rousing win could not stop the French side advancing as Group B winners.

With both teams already qualified for the knockout stages, Corentin Tolisso’s double and another goal from Robert Lewandowski gave Bayern hope of pulling off the improbable win by a four-goal margin that would see them top the group.

Yet PSG, who had thumped Bayern 3-0 in Paris, always looked likely to avoid that indignity in a high-quality contest once Kylian Mbappe scored just after halftime when they were 2-0 down.

Barcelona rounded off an unbeaten group stage as Paco Alcacer’s header and a late own goal from Jeremy Mathieu secured a 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon.

With Barcelona already guaranteed top spot in Group D, Lionel Messi was left on the substitutes’ bench.

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