PIX: Benfica end Juve’s hopes, join Chelsea in last 16

A round-up of Tuesday’s action in the UEFA Champions League.

Benfica’s Rafa Silva scored two superb goals as they edged Juventus 4-3 in a thriller at Estadio da Luz on Tuesday to seal a place in the knock-out stages of the Champions League and end the Italian club’s chances in this year’s competition.

Benfica have 11 points from five games, the same as Group H leaders Paris St Germain, while Juve’s three points leaves them to focus on winning a place in the Europe League, something they can secure on the final matchday when they host PSG.

The home side are now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions this season and it is easy to see why as they were inventive with the ball and might have been out of sight at halftime before a late Juve rally meant a nervous finish.

As it was, it is the first time in Juve’s history they conceded three first half goals in the Champions League and the first time since 2013-14 they failed to get out of their group.

Teenager Antonio Silva scored his first Benfica goal to give the home side the lead after 17 minutes, but Juventus drew level when Moise Kean bundled the ball home four minutes later.

Benfica were back in front thanks to a controversial penalty that was converted by Joao Mario before Rafa Silva appeared to make the points safe with two sublime finishes, either side of the break, that perfectly illustrated his technique and guile.

But the visitors pulled a goal back late on through Arkadiusz Milik after he was set up by young English winger Samuel Iling, and the latter was key again in creating a chance for Weston McKennie to score Juve’s third.

That saw a tense finish on a night when Benfica looked as though they would humiliate their visitors but had to hold on as Rafa Silva missed out on a hat-trick by hitting the post.

Havertz sends Chelsea into Champions League knock-outs

A fine strike from Kai Havertz earned Chelsea a battling 2-1 victory at Red Bull Salzburg as they clinched a spot in the Champions League Round of 16 as group winners.

Chelsea put on a dazzling display in the first half, taking the lead in the 23rd minute through Mateo Kovacic’s instinctive left-foot finish from 20 metres, but they wasted several chances to double their advantage before the interval.

The Premier League side were made to pay for their profligacy early in the second half as Junior Adamu prodded home the equaliser, only for Havertz to restore Chelsea’s lead with a superb curled strike into the top corner in the 64th minute.

Salzburg rallied late on but found keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in fine form, helping the Blues to see out the win that moves them three points clear of second-placed AC Milan, whose 4-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb meant Chelsea will finish top in Group E.

Despite Salzburg never having beaten English opposition in Europe, Chelsea’s task coming into the match looked formidable with the Austrians on a 40-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

However, Kovacic’s fine finish from the edge of the penalty area, after Havertz was dispossessed, settled the away team’s nerves.

Salzburg are third in the group, and must beat Milan in Italy next week to reach the last 16.

Dortmund hold Manchester City, join them in knock-outs

Borussia Dortmund drew 0-0 with already-qualified Manchester City to book their spot in the Champions League knock-out stage with a game to spare.

The result made sure that City, who missed a second-half penalty and are on 11 points, will top Group G while Dortmund, on eight, punched the second qualifying ticket, locking down second spot ahead of third-placed Sevilla, who have five points.

The Germans, needing a point to advance, got off to a strong start with Karim Adeyemi causing major problems with his speed down the right wing.

The Germany international had a first effort on goal early, testing City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega in his first appearance.

Gio Reyna came closer in the 25th minute with a low shot but it was the unmarked Youssoufa Moukoko who should have scored a little later but instead side-footed their best chance wide from six metres.

In an unremarkable return to Dortmund where he had scored 86 goals in 89 matches until his departure in June, City top scorer Erling Haaland was completely shut out by defender Mats Hummels in the first half.

The English champions failed to get a single effort on target and the Norwegian was taken off at half-time.

They could have snatched the lead when Riyad Mahrez was brought down in the box.

The Algerian, who had also missed a spot-kick on the previous matchday against FC Copenhagen, was beaten by Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel, who picked the right corner to palm away his shot.

Kobel also did well to stop Julian Alvarez’s shot in the 67th minute in what turned out to be City’s first and only chance from open play.

Sevilla, third on five points, will continue in the Europa League after beating 10-man Copenhagen 3-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Sevilla sink Copenhagen to stay alive

Sevilla kept alive their slim hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 after second-half goals from Youssef En-Nesyri, Isco and Gonzalo Montiel secured a convincing 3-0 home win against 10-man FC Copenhagen in Group G.

The victory, the Spanish side’s first of the campaign, moved them to five points from as many games, two points behind second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who drew with Manchester City later on Tuesday. Copenhagen, who have two points from five games, are set to finish bottom of the group.

Sevilla dominated the ball in the first half but failed to work the opposition goalkeeper as Copenhagen carved out the better chances, with Hakon Arnar Haraldsson coming close with a curling effort before being denied a tap-in by Alex Telles.

The Danish visitors, seeking their first goal in this year’s competition, were unlucky to not go ahead in the 49th minute when Viktor Claesson’s volley bounced off the post as they rattled Sevilla with an energetic start to the second half.

But Sevilla soaked the pressure and took the lead through En-Nesyri just after the hour when the Moroccan turned in Papu Gomez’s pass for his second Champions League goal of the season.

Copenhagen were left to rue their luck again in the 82nd minute when Kevin Diks’ flicked header came off the bar before Isco’s stunning strike and another goal from Montiel wrapped up the points for Sevilla.

Copenhagen’s torrid evening ended with a man short after defender Davit Khocholava was sent off deep into stoppage time for a dangerous tackle on Isco.

Messi, Mbappe score twice as PSG thrash Maccabi

Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe both scored twice, with Neymar also on target, as the French club’s fearsome attack tore apart Maccabi Haifa in a 7-2 win to send them into the last 16 of the Champions League.

The irrepressible trio were simply too much for Maccabi to handle although the Israeli side showed plenty of spirit in the Group H clash, with Abdoulaye Seck scoring twice.

PSG’s romp means with one game remaining against already-eliminated Juventus they top the standings on goal difference from Benfica with 11 points.

Despite their heavy defeat, Maccabi remain level on three points with Juve and will go into their last game at home against Benfica still hopeful of sealing a Europa League spot.

Messi started things off in the 19th minute with a sumptuous opening goal scored with the outside of his left foot after being played in by Mbappe on the left side of the area.

Mbappe’s opener was just as silky, the French forward bending a right-footer in the 32nd minute past Maccabi goalkeeper Joshua Cohen who could not be faulted for any of PSG’s goals.

It began to turn ugly for Maccabi three minutes later when Mbappe and Messi combined to play in Neymar and the Brazilian’s shot went in on off the post.

PSG switched off defensively to allow an unmarked Seck to head in from Omer Atzili’s free kick but Messi then swapped passes with Neymar before dropping his shoulder and belting a left-footed shot low into the corner to make it 4-1 at half-time.

It took Messi’s Champions League total to 129, 12 behind the record of Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Maccabi actually bossed the opening 10 minutes of the second half and when PSG made a hash of clearing a corner, Seck looped a header over Gianluigi Donnarumma and into the net.

The visiting fans celebrated joyously but PSG then moved through the gears to run riot.

In the 64th minute Mbappe was picked out by a diagonal pass from Achraf Hakimi and he took a deft touch before picking out the far corner. As Maccabi finally lost heart Neymar’s dribble and low cross ended with Sean Goldberg netting an own goal.

Messi, who was denied a record ninth Champions League hat-trick by the crossbar, then set up Carlos Soler to wrap up the scoring with a low shot.

Leipzig a step closer to last 16 after beating Real Madrid

RB Leipzig took a big step towards the Champions League knock-out stage with a 3-2 home win over an under-strength Real Madrid side thanks to goals from Josko Gvardiol, Christopher Nkunku and Timo Werner.

The German side are second in Group F on nine points, one behind leaders Real and three ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, who they face in their final group game next week in need of a draw to guarantee a top-two spot.

With Real Madrid having already qualified for the last 16, manager Carlo Ancelotti rested several regular starters and his side was dominated early on by the young Leipzig team.

The home side took the lead 13 minutes into the game with Gvardiol scoring on the rebound from a Thibaut Courtois save after a bullet header by Andre Silva.

With the European champions still recovering from the first blow, Leipzig extended their advantage five minutes later when David Raum tried to pass into the box but the ball deflected off a defender into the path of Nkunku who was quick to react and rifled the ball in off the crossbar.

Leipzig had two more great chances but Courtois saved Amadou Haidara’s strike from the edge of the box and Nkuku put a close-range shot wide after beating the onrushing Courtois to the ball but ending up with a tight angle trying to find the empty net.

However, what was a one-sided affair slowly became a ding-dong battle, with Real growing in strength and the hosts slowing down after their frantic but hard to maintain rhythm of the first minutes of the match.

Vinicius Jr got Real back into the game just before the break with a header that went just inside the left post.

Real came back even stronger in a lively second-half, with the Spanish giants dominating possession and missing several chances albeit leaving themselves exposed to counter-attacks.

Leipzig coach Marco Rose saw the opportunity and made three substitutions to seize on the opportunity to counter.

They missed three chances through Nkunku and Dani Olmo before substitute Werner struck from close range to finish a quick attack in the 81st minute and put Leipzig 3-1 up.

After being fouled, Rodrygo got up to convert a penalty for Real’s second goal in added time but it was not enough to avoid their first loss in all competitions this season.

Milan revive hopes after thrashing Zagreb

AC Milan revived their hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 with a 4-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb in Group E.

Back-to-back defeats by Chelsea in their two previous matches had left Milan with plenty to do to qualify for the knockout stages, but Matteo Gabbia’s first-half header set them on their way to a crucial victory in Croatia.

Portugal forward Rafael Leao’s solo run and finish early in the second half put the game beyond the home side, before French striker Olivier Giroud made doubly sure of the three points with a penalty just before the hour mark.

A late own goal put the seal on the second win of Milan’s European campaign that moves them up to second place on seven points. If they avoid defeat next week against third-placed Red Bull Salzburg they will reach the last 16.

Milan’s victory also meant Premier League side Chelsea progress to the knock-out stages as group winners after their 2-1 win away to Salzburg earlier on Tuesday, while Zagreb stay bottom on four points.

The Chelsea defeats left Milan with no room for error ahead of their trip to Croatia if they wanted to reach the last 16 for the first time since 2013-14.

They looked nervy early on as Zagreb, who beat Chelsea at home in their group opener, started well, but after Gabbia had headed his first-ever goal for Milan from Sandro Tonali’s free kick, the win never looked in doubt.

Milan wasted several chances to make it two before Leao opened his Champions League account for the season with a slotted finish four minutes after the break.

If it had not been for home goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, Milan, and especially Giroud, could have had a hatful, but the veteran striker had to settle for his well-taken penalty from his six efforts at goal in the match.

Robert Ljubicic’s unfortunate own goal ensured Milan scored four in a Champions League encounter for the first time since beating Arsenal 4-0 at home in the last 16 in February 2012.

It was also the first time the Italian champions had scored four in an away match in the competition since beating Fenerbahce 4-0 in November 2005.

Shakhtar come from behind to draw at Celtic

Shakhtar Donetsk earned a 1-1 draw at Celtic in the Champions League after winger Mykhaylo Mudryk cancelled out a first-half goal by striker Georgios Giakoumakis to maintain the Ukrainian side’s chances of reaching the knockout stage.

Coach Igor Jovicevic’s side secured at least a Europa League spot by avoiding defeat in Glasgow as they remain third in Group F on six points and will host second-placed RB Leipzig — on nine points — in their last clash on Nov. 2.

Giakoumakis put the hosts in front in the 34th minute with a low shot from close range into the bottom right corner after a blocked effort rebounded to him.

However, Shakhtar’s Mudryk levelled shortly before the hour mark as he slalomed past defenders and fired the ball into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

Shakhtar had a golden chance to take the lead in the 72nd minute when Mudryk went on another solo run, ending with a beautiful pass to team mate Danylo Sikan but the 21-year-old missed the target badly with the goal at his mercy.

Celtic, who needed a first win of this season’s Champions League campaign to have any chance of continuing in European competition after Christmas, sit bottom of the group standings on two points.

RB Leipzig grabbed a 3-2 win at home against leaders and already qualified Real Madrid in the other Group F game.

Source: Read Full Article