Robert Lewandowski scored again to help Bayern Munich reach the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Salzburg on Wednesday, the defending champion’s record-extending 15th straight win in the competition.
Lewandowski gave Bayern the lead in the 43rd minute with his 71st Champions League goal, matching Spanish forward Raúl’s tally. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (131) and Lionel Messi (118) have more.
The game was preceded by a minute’s silence in the largely empty stadium for Argentina great Diego Maradona, who died earlier Wednesday. No fans were at the game due to coronavirus restrictions.
The Austrian champions took the game to their hosts but were unable to capitalize on the spaces and chances they created.
For Manchester City, Phil Foden sent Pep Guardiola another reminder of his scoring ability by earning Manchester City a 1-0 win at Olympiakos on Wednesday, clinching the English team a place in the knockout stage of the Champions League for an eighth straight season.
The highly rated 20-year-old forward is the rising star in City’s squad but has been unable to secure regular game time in the Premier League this season despite the team’s unfamiliar struggles in front of goal.
Guardiola gave Foden a start against the Greek champions in Piraeus and the England international responded by sweeping in the only goal of the game in the 36th minute after meeting a backheel from Raheem Sterling with a first-time shot.
In a game that resembled an attack vs. defense training drill at times, City failed to make its dominance count in terms of goals but barely allowed Olympiakos into the visitors’ penalty area, ultimately strolling to a victory that guarantees a top-two finish in Group C.
ATLETICO HELD AGAIN
On a night when Diego Simeone mourned the loss of former teammate and compatriot Diego Maradona, Atlético Madrid missed a chance to move closer to a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League after a 0-0 draw at home against Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday.
A moment of silence was held before the match in honor Maradona, the former Argentina great who died earlier Wednesday. His image was shown on the big screen at the Metropolitano during the moment of silence.
Simeone is among the many Argentines currently with Atlético.
“It’s tough,” said Simeone, who was Maradona’s teammate at Spanish club Sevilla in the early 1990s. “For all of us who shared experiences with Diego, we are losing a myth. We grew up looking up at Diego, he was our guide in soccer. It hurts. He took care of me personally. He will still be around the football fields. He was and still is the best in the world.”
Atlético's second consecutive draw against Lokomotiv left Simeone's team with five points from four matches in Group A. It is two points ahead of winless Lokomotiv and seven behind defending champion Bayern Munich, which stayed top with 12 points after beating last-place Salzburg 3-1 at home.
Eight months after his spectacular four-goal show in last season’s round of 16, Josip Iličić was back on the scoresheet in the Champions League for Atalanta and leading the Italian upstart to another memorable win in the competition.
Atalanta consigned Liverpool to a rare loss at Anfield on Wednesday, beating the six-time European champions 2-0 to revive its hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage for the second straight season.
Iličić set the visitors on their way to victory with a 60th-minute strike that was the Slovenia international’s first goal for Atalanta since March, when he netted four times in a 4-3 win at Valencia to secure his team a place in the quarterfinals against all the odds.
Since then, Iličić contracted the coronavirus during lockdown and reportedly became depressed, meaning he missed the rest of the season. He only started playing again for the first team last month, and showed his joy at getting back among the goals against Liverpool by letting out a roar and clenching his fists inside an empty Anfield.
Robin Gosens added a second goal in the 64th minute and Atalanta held on surprisingly comfortably to gain a measure of revenge for its 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool in the first match of their double-header three weeks ago.
PORTO BEAT MARSEILLE
Porto won 2-0 at Marseille to close in on the knockout stage of the Champions League on Wednesday and condemn the French side to a record 13th straight defeat in the competition.
Left back Zaidu Sanusi scored the opening goal in the 39th minute and midfielder Sergio Oliveira added a penalty with 20 minutes left as both sides finished with 10 players at Stade Velodrome.
Another shoddy performance moves Marseille one beyond Belgian side Anderlecht, the previous co-holder of the record for straight defeats with 12. Marseille is also the only club in the current competition yet to score and has conceded nine goal in four games — a poor return for the only French side to win the competition, back in 1993.