Madrid comfortably defeated Sheriff 3-0 on Wednesday to secure its place in the round of 16 with one game to spare in Group D. A draw at home against Inter Milan in the last round will guarantee first place for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
“We continue along the right path. I like the way we are playing,” Ancelotti said. “The squad is in good shape, everyone is strong physically. It’s important for us to finish top and we’ll be looking to end our group campaign the way we began it.
David Alaba, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema scored to help the Spanish team advance.
The result eliminated Sheriff, the Moldovan league club that is debuting in the group stage. Sheriff had stunned Madrid with a win in the Spanish capital in their first game.
It was the fifth consecutive win in all competitions for Madrid, which reached 12 points from five matches, two points more than second-place Inter, which has also advanced. Inter beat last-place Shakhtar 2-0 at home earlier Wednesday. Sheriff stayed on six points but is assured a top-three finish.
Sheriff could have advanced with a win against Madrid if Inter lost to Shakhtar. It started its first group-stage campaign with consecutive wins before losing two straight to Inter.
Sheriff entered the match against Madrid having won 12 of its last 13 home games in all competitions, with 10 clean sheets. It had scored in 11 of its last 12 European matches this season.
Madrid, a record 13-time European champion, has reached the knockout stage every time since the 1997-98 season. It failed to qualify for the competition in 1996-97, but it also qualified to the knockout rounds in the previous year. It is the 19th consecutive time Madrid made it to the last 16, since that round was introduced in 2003-04.
Man City completes comeback against PSG
Gabriel Jesus completed Manchester City’s comeback to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 and secure a place in the round of 16 of the Champions League as group winners on Wednesday.
PSG is also sure of going through as runner-up in Group A thanks to Leipzig beating Club Brugge 5-0.
The clash of the competition’s wealthiest teams, who are yet to win European football’s top prize, fully came to life in the 50th minute when Kylian Mbappe put PSG ahead after an interchange between Lionel Messi and Neymar.
But the attacking dominance by City that defined the first half saw Raheem Sterling’s outstretched left foot nudge in a cross from Kyle Walker to equalize in the 63rd.
After Neymar missed a chance to restore PSG’s lead, Bernado Silva teeed up Gabriel Jesus who connected with scuffed shot that still beat Keylor Navas in the 76th.
Sporting eliminates Borussia Dortmund
Pedro Goncalves made the most of defensive blunders to score twice as Sporting Lisbon beat 10-man Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on Wednesday to qualify for the Champions League knockout stage and eliminate its German opponent.
The win left Sporting second in Group C, three points ahead of Dortmund with a superior head-to-head record and one game to play.
Sporting will play in the knockout stage for the first time since the 2008-09 season after ending Dortmund’s three-year streak of reaching the last 16. Ajax has won the group after beating Besiktas 2-1 for its fifth win.
Dortmund arrived in Portugal missing several players including the injured Erling Haaland and coronavirus-positive Thorgan Hazard. The situation promptly got worse when left-back Raphael Guerreiro injured himself in the warm-up.
Milan scores late winner against Atletico
Atletico Madrid conceded a late goal Wednesday in a 1-0 home loss to AC Milan that left the Spanish club in danger of being eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League.
Junior Messias, making his Champions League debut, scored in the 87th minute to give Milan the victory and keep alive the chances of the Italian club advancing after a winless start to its campaign in the European competition.
The result left Atletico and Milan tied on four points in the last two positions of Group B, with Atletico in last place on goal difference. Porto was a point ahead after a 2-0 loss at group-winner Liverpool.
Milan needed the victory to avoid elimination. It had won only one of its last 11 Champions League games and once in its last seven road games in the competition from group stage to final.
Atletico was coming off consecutive losses to Liverpool and had to avoid defeat against Milan to stay in contention to reach the round of 16 without having to depend on other results.