- Chris Sobey
Arsenal progressed to the knockout stage of the Champions League last night as winners of Group A after a comprehensive 4-1 win at Basel, thanks to runners up PSG only drawing at home to Ludogorets, and a hat-trick from young Spanish forward Lucas Perez.
Manchester City also qualified for the knockout stage last night as runners up in Group B, but they were far less convincing drawing 1-1 against Celtic, who took a shock early lead through loanee Patrick Roberts. However, City soon redressed the balance minutes later through Iheanacho, and while both teams fought out a competitive first half, the game petered out in the second, which was understandable as City manager Pep Guardiola made nine changes from his first choice 11, and Celtic had little to play for apart from pride.
Barcelona topped Group B after thrashing Monchengladbach at the Camp Nou 4-0, thanks to a hat-trick from Turkish attacking midfielder Turan and a Barcelona win wouldn’t be complete without another goal from the world’s best player Messi. Napoli progressed to the knockout stage as winners of Group C thanks to a 2-1 at Benfica, who narrowly finished as group runners up thanks to bottom of the group Dynamo Kiev recording their first win against Besiktas who they thrashed 6-0 in Kiev.
Group D was already decided before last night’s game and Atletico Madrid qualified for the knockout stage as group winners even though they lost 1-0 at Bayern Munich who finished runners up.
Tonight’s Champions League action will decide if Spurs in Group E will qualify for the knockout stage for the first time in their history, but they will need to beat CSKA Moscow at Wembley convincingly and hope Leverkusen lose at home against group leaders Monaco, who have already qualified. Leicester have already qualified as Group G winners and travel to Porto tonight and the Portuguese outfit need to win if they are to guarantee their qualification ahead of Feyenord, who can only draw level with them if they beat Club Brugge in Belgium.
The clash of the night sees Real Madrid and Dortmund fight it out at the Santiago Bernabeu to determine who tops and who will finish runner-up in Group F. Madrid are on 13 points and Dortmund 11 so a draw will be good enough for Madrid while Dortmund have to go all out for the wins, which could provide us with a highly entertaining game and plenty of goals. Finally, the winner and runner up of Group H will also be decided tonight. Leaders Juventus on 11 points are favourites to do so as they have a winnable home tie against Dinamo Zagreb, while Sevilla on 10 points face a tricky trip to Lyon on 7 points, who still have an outside chance of qualifying if they beat Sevilla and goal difference and possibly count-back goes there way.