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Champions League wrap: Liverpool through to knockout, wins for Man City, Real; PSG held

Liverpool

Bengaluru, November 4: Liverpool claimed their place in the Champions League knockout stages as Group B winners with two games to spare by beating 10-man Atletico Madrid 2-0.

Goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane eased the Reds past Atleti, who lost Felipe to a first-half red card, continuing to make light work of a draw that had initially been described as tough.

Diego Simeone's men are now left in a battle with Porto and Milan to qualify in second place.

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Liverpool made a great start to proceedings when Trent Alexander-Arnold cracked open a five-man defence with a perfect cross from deep on the right that took one bounce before being nodded in by Jota after just 13 minutes.

And the defender repeated the trick soon after, finding Mane for a sidefooted finish to a move he had initiated with a brilliant drive through midfield.

As had been the case in the sides' meeting in Madrid, going two goals down seemed to wake Atleti up, but their hopes of overturning that deficit in similar fashion were dealt a serious blow past the half-hour mark.

Felipe looked all set to receive a booking for cynically bringing down the breaking Mane after a corner but instead earned himself a straight red by refusing to walk to the referee to receive it.

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Milan face early exit

Meanwhile, AC Milan are on the brink of an early exit after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Porto.

Luis Diaz scored the winning goal when these sides met two weeks ago and fired Porto into an early lead in at San Siro.

Evanilson missed a glorious chance to double the Primeira Liga leaders' advantage and that proved costly when Chancel Mbemba comically found the back of his own net.

Inter Milan on song

On the other hand, AC Milan's rivals Inter moved up to second in Group D with a 3-1 away victory over Sheriff.

Inter were unable to find a breakthrough in the first half despite carving out a host of chances, but they went ahead nine minutes after the restart thanks to Marcelo Brozovic's first goal of the season.

Milan Skriniar and Alexis Sanchez put the game beyond Sheriff, who scored a late consolation through Adama Traore, as Simone Inzaghi's side took a significant stride towards booking a spot in the last 16.

Real on song

Karim Benzema's double propelled Real Madrid to a 2-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

A woeful defensive error from Shakhtar enabled Benzema to give Madrid the lead in the 14th minute, Los Blancos becoming the first team to reach 1,000 Champions League/European Cup goals.

Shakhtar responded superbly and levelled matters when Fernando powered home their first goal of the group stage.

Yet Madrid were much improved in the second half, and predictably it was Benzema who provided the decisive touch after wonderful build-up play from Vinicius Junior and Casemiro.

Luka Modric could have given Madrid the lead in the fifth minute as he was played in on goal at the end of a well-worked move only to be thwarted by a superb save by Anatolii Trubin.

PSG held

A dramatic late penalty denied Paris Saint-Germain victory against RB Leipzig as they drew 2-2 at the Red Bull Arena and lost top spot in Group A.

Following a lengthy VAR check in stoppage time, referee Andreas Ekberg pointed to the spot after Presnel Kimpembe was judged to have fouled Christopher Nkunku in the box and Dominik Szoboszlai fired past Gianluigi Donnarumma from 12 yards.

PSG were without Lionel Messi after he picked up a knee injury at the weekend, but thought they had done enough to claim an away win thanks to a first-half brace from Georginio Wijnaldum, although Mauricio Pochettino's men had trailed to Nkunku's header and seen Donnarumma save a first spot-kick from Andre Silva.

A draw saw PSG fall behind Manchester City, whose win over Club Brugge also ended Leipzig's hopes of advancing from the group.

Man City on top

Raheem Sterling ended his goal drought as Manchester City edged closer to the knockout stages by grinding their way to a 4-1 victory over Club Brugge.

Second-half substitute Sterling struck for the first time since August in what ended up being a comfortable victory for Pep Guardiola's side.

Phil Foden put City ahead inside the opening quarter of an hour, but an own goal from John Stones restored parity two minutes later and the hosts struggled to create further chances in the first half.

However, unlike in their 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace at the weekend, City found a way to break down a low block and secured all three points thanks to goals from Riyad Mahrez, Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Thursday, November 4, 2021, 9:00 [IST]
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