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Champions League: Real Madrid enter round of 16; Liverpool draw Sevilla

Liverpool were up 3-0 at halftime only to lose the advantage when Sevilla cameback with all guns blazing to salvage a draw.

Edited by: India TV Sports Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: November 22, 2017 13:31 IST ]
Image Source : AP Real Madrid celebrate after scoring a goal in the UCL.

With Karim Benzema finding his scoring touch and Cristiano Ronaldo adding to his tally, Real Madrid again made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Benzema scored twice in the first half and Ronaldo netted twice in the second as Madrid thrashed Cypriot team APOEL 6-0 to guarantee a spot in the last 16 on Tuesday.

Luka Modric and Nacho Fernandez also scored for the defending champions, who have made it past the group stage for 22 straight seasons.

The result eliminated Borussia Dortmund, which lost to Tottenham 2-1 in Germany in the other Group H match.

Tottenham heads into the final round leading Madrid by three points and has already secured first place. Dortmund and APOEL have no chance of advancing.

Madrid also finished second in its group last season, to Dortmund, marking the first time the Spanish club has failed to advance in first place since the 2012-13 season.

Tottenham hosts APOEL on Dec. 6, while Madrid hosts Dortmund.

"We came here to qualify and we did it," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "It was a good night. We are satisfied."
Madrid won only one of its last four matches in all competitions, but it found easy pickings in Nicosia to earn its biggest ever away win in the Champions league.

Modric opened the scoring with a long-range shot midway through the first half and Benzema and Fernandez added their goals seven minutes apart just before halftime.

Benzema hadn't scored in six matches in all competitions.

"Forwards aren't always about scoring," Benzema said. "If I can help my teammates with passes and movement, I will do (it). Today I was lucky enough to score two goals and do something good for my side."

Ronaldo has been struggling in the Spanish league with only one goal in 12 rounds, but he already has eight in the Champions League and is the competition's leading scorer.

The Spanish powerhouse is trying to become the first team since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win three consecutive European titles. Ajax did it in 1971-73, and Madrid won four in a row from 1956-60.

APOEL hasn't won a group stage match in the Champions League since 2012.

"Today we've made so many mistakes that we haven't made before," APOEL coach Giorgos Donis said. "In the last game we'll try to avoid those mistakes."

Manchester City beat Feyenoord 1-0 to win Champions League group

India Tv - Sterling nets in the lone goal for City.

Image Source : APSterling nets in the lone goal for City.

Manchester City's sloppiest display of the Champions League brought plenty of reasons to be cheerful for Pep Guardiola.

A 1-0 win over Feyenoord on Tuesday, sealed by Raheem Sterling's 88th-minute goal, clinched top spot in Group F with a game to spare, meaning City can rest key players for its trip to Shakhtar Donetsk in the final matchday.

That comes four days before what will be the most high-profile match of the English Premier League, a derby against Manchester United.

City's fifth straight victory in the group kept the team on course to become the first from England to complete the group stage with maximum points. That feat has been achieved by only six sides in the competition's 25-year history.

Then there was the sight of two teenagers, Phil Foden (17) and Brahim Diaz (18), making their Champions League debuts as late substitutes — much to the delight of City fans who have been waiting for the club's much-touted academy to bring through players for the first team.
This was not the same City that was knocking over all-comers in the Premier League, with 11 wins and 40 goals from 12 games, or that beat Napoli home and away to move to the brink of qualification heading into the game against Feyenoord.

But it was maybe to be expected. Guardiola made seven changes to his team from its most recent Premier League game and the Dutch visitors sat deep for most of the match, defending stoutly.

"It was so difficult, so complicated to find the space," Guardiola said. "Sometimes it happens."

Feyenoord couldn't hold out, though, as Ilkay Gundogan threaded a superb through-ball to Sterling, who lifted his finish over goalkeeper Brad Jones for the 11th goal of what is set to be the most prolific season of the winger's career.

With Napoli beating second-place Shakhtar 3-0, City would have already been assured of first place anyway. However, Sterling's goal secured a 17th successive win for unbeaten City in all competitions this season.

Guardiola cut a frustrated figure in his technical area. Toward the end of the first half, after another attack broke down, the coach returned to the dugout and slumped in his seat, shaking his head.

The sloppiness even extended to City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes, who was twice almost embarrassed after racing out of his area to intercept through-balls. For the first, in the 26th minute, Ederson only just got a toe to the ball ahead of Jean-Paul Boetius, otherwise, it could have been a red card.

Foden, a highly rated midfielder who recently won the Under-17 World Cup with England, came on as a 75th-minute substitute for his competitive debut for City. He replaced Yaya Toure, a player twice Foden's age, in a move that sparked one of the loudest cheers of the night inside Etihad Stadium.

Diaz, another midfielder, was a stoppage-time replacement for Sterling.

"For the academy, all the guys who've been working for a long time, the scouting, to search for huge talents, the way they work with them," Guardiola said, "I put them on the field, but the guys who have worked with them deserve credit."

It's the second time City has finished top of its Champions League group the other occasion came under Manuel Pellegrini in the 2015-16 season — but it might make no difference.

There's still a chance that City could face one of three European giants in the last 16, with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus on course to be runners-up.

"We are now going to finish good in Shakhtar and win the game," Guardiola said. "The draw, we'll see. Last 16, it doesn't matter which one. Always will be complicated."

Feyenoord, on just one point, is assured of finishing in last place, yet avoided the kind of thrashing that has been inflicted on many visitors to the Etihad this season.

"There are clubs who will leave this stadium with the tail between their legs more than we have today," coach Giovanni Van Bronckhorst said.

Sevilla draws after Liverpool wastes 3-goal lead in CL

India Tv - Sevilla celebrate after scoring their third goal against Liverpool

Image Source : APSevilla celebrate after scoring their third goal against Liverpool

With their team down 3-0 after only 30 minutes, some Sevilla fans started heading out of Sanchez Pizjuan-Stadium.
They left too soon.

Sevilla recovered from Liverpool's blitz start by salvaging a 3-3 draw with an injury-time equalizer in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Roberto Firmino scored twice and set up Sadio Mane's goal in the first half-hour. But the hosts rallied with a pair of goals by Wissam Ben Yedder in the second half. Guido Pizarro's late equalizer came from inside the area after Liverpool's defense failed to fully clear a corner kick.

"Since I was a kid I've always dreamed of playing in an important match which was that dramatic and which ended so well," Pizarro said.

Liverpool could have secured its return to the knockout stage after an eight-year absence, but it heads home for the final round needing not to lose to Spartak Moscow, which was just three points behind.

Spartak, held by last-place Maribor to 1-1 in Russia, remains with a chance of advancing.

Sevilla plays its final Group E game at already eliminated Maribor on Dec. 6, when Liverpool hosts Spartak.

"The first half scoreline was down to individual errors," Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo said. "What we had to do was react and rely on our personal pride to turn things around. In the second half Liverpool barely crossed the halfway line."

A home win on Tuesday would have been enough for Sevilla to advance from the group stage for the second consecutive season, but Liverpool shot out of the gate.

(With AP Inputs)

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