Champions League round-up: Atletico through as Liverpool and Ajax makes perfect group stage record

Atlético sealed their place in UEFA Champions League knockout stage after a dramatic win against Porto, on Tuesday night when Liverpool and Ajax made history.

The Champions League group reaches its climax this week, with the final round of games to decide who wins a spot in the Round of 16. The first and second placed teams in each of the eight groups (A-H) will take their places in the first knockout stage, which will be played in 2022, with the first legs scheduled for 15/16, 22/23 February, and the second legs being played on 8/9, 15/16 March.

The draw for the next round takes place on December 13.

Group A

Paris 4-1 Club Brugge

The Belgian side began the evening with hopes of a UEFA Europa League spot, but those aspirations were in tatters with barely a minute on the clock as Kylian Mbappé smashed in a rebound. The Paris striker volleyed a fine second in the seventh minute, and when Lionel Messi strode forward to curl in a third before the break, the game was up for Club Brugge. Still, they kept creating chances, and Mats Rits eventually took one, but Paris had the last word as Messi picked himself up to fire in a fourth from the spot.

Key stat: Messi has five UEFA Champions League goals for Paris – all at the Parc des Princes – while Mbappé now has 31 in his 51 appearances in the competition.

Leipzig 2-1 Manchester City

Club Brugge’s defeat meant Leipzig could have afforded to lose and still wrap up third spot, but – under interim boss Achim Beierlorzer – the German side left nothing to chance. Goals in either half from Dominik Szoboszlai and André Silva did the damage, while an impressive rearguard action restricted the visitors, already assured of top spot, to a fine Riyad Mahrez header. Kyle Walker’s dismissal (83′) all but ended City’s comeback hopes.

Key stat: Leipzig has won all three of their home games against English visitors: against Josep Guardiola’s side, City’s neighbours Manchester United (3-2, 2020/21) and Tottenham (3-0, 2019/20).

Group B

Milan 1- 2 Liverpool

Milan’s hopes of progress evaporated as the Reds came from behind to make it six wins from six in the section. Fikayo Tomori pounced to give the home side the lead – and second place in the group – but Mohamed Salah quickly levelled after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s effort was parried and Divock Origi completed the turnaround in the second half to leave the Rossoneri propping up the group.

Key stat: Liverpool become the first English team to win all six of their group matches.

Porto 1-3 Atlético

Antoine Griezmann’s 56th-minute tap-in and late strikes from Ángel Correa and Rodrigo De Paul sealed Atlético’s progress to the last 16, sending their opponents into the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs. Both sides were shown red cards after Diego Simeone’s side went ahead, with Atleti’s Yannick Carrasco and Porto pair Wendell and Agustín Marchesín sent off. Sérgio Oliveira’s last-gasp penalty was scant consolation for Porto.

Key stat: Atlético earned their 50th victory in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final.

Group C

Dortmund 5-0 Beşiktaş

Marco Reus and substitute Erling Haaland scored twice apiece as Dortmund coasted to victory. The two sides were already sure to finish third and fourth in the group, but the German side ensured they ended on a high. Donyell Malen got the ball rolling before Reus hit his first from the spot after Welinton had been sent off for tripping Mahmoud Dahoud. Reus scored a superb second before being replaced by Haaland, who netted two fine headers.

Ajax 4-2 Sporting CP

Ajax became the first Dutch side to win all six games in a UEFA Champions League group with a dominant display against a much-changed Sporting side. Sébastien Haller started the scoring from the spot, in the process becoming only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo to score in every group game, before further fine goals from Antony, David Neres and Steven Berghuis. Sporting’s 12-match winning run ended, but they join Ajax in the last 16 and scored the pick of the goals through Bruno Tabata.

Key stat: Haaland has scored 23 goals in his 19 UEFA Champions League appearances, Haller has reached ten goals in the UEFA Champions League quicker than any other player, taking just six matches to bring up double figures.

Group D

Real Madrid 2-0 Inter

Real Madrid clinched top spot in Group D thanks to two stunning strikes in Madrid. Inter needed to win to leapfrog their opponents and started brightly, with Toni Kroos’ 17th-minute piledriver coming against the run of play. Rodrygo hit the woodwork for the hosts, and the visitors’ uphill task became monumental just after the hour mark when Nicolò Barella was dismissed. Substitute Marco Asensio curled in off the post to clinch the win with 11 minutes left. Key stat: Madrid have won their last four games against Inter, and their last seven matches at home against the Nerazzurri.

Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Sheriff

Shakhtar were denied a first group win of the season in stoppage time as Sheriff came back to claim a point at the end of their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign. Fernando put the home side ahead before the break as the hosts dominated, but their opponents grew in stature and levelled through Boban Nikolov at the death.

Key stat: Shakhtar will not be involved in European football after Christmas for the first time in a decade.

Who is through to the last 16?

  • Ajax (NED)
  • Atlético (ESP)
  • Bayern (ER)
  • Chelsea (ENG)
  • Inter (ITA)
  • Juventus (ITA)
  • Liverpool (ENG)
  • Manchester City (ENG)
  • Manchester United (ENG)
  • Paris (FRA)
  • Real Madrid (ESP)
  • Sporting CP (POR)
  • The remaining teams will be updated after tonight match

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