The Malta Independent 20 June 2019, Thursday

UEFA Champions League: CSKA Moscow stuns Real Madrid 3-0 at Bernabeu

Associated Press Wednesday, 12 December 2018, 21:28 Last update: about 7 months ago

CSKA Moscow defeated Real Madrid 3-0 on Wednesday for its second straight win over the defending Champions League holders, but it still wasn't enough to earn the Russians a spot in the round of 32 of the Europa League.

Real Madrid rested most of its regular starters after already clinching the group win, while CSKA had no chance of making it to the knockout stage. The Russians were fighting for third place in Group G with Viktoria Plzen, which defeated Roma 2-1 to finish in front. CSKA need to better Plzen's result in the Czech Republic.

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It still earned a memorable win at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with goals from Fedor Chalov and Georgi Schennikov late in the first half, before Arnor Sigurdsson added another in the second.

Real Madrid left the field jeered by its fans, with many leaving after the Russians scored the third goal.

CSKA's 1-0 home win over Real Madrid in October was the team's only other group victory. The Spanish club was still coached by Julen Lopetegui at the time.

 

Plzen beats Roma 2-1 to qualify for Europa League

Viktoria Plzen beat struggling Roma 2-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday to earn a Europa League spot.

Tomas Chory scored the winner with a diving header after Cengiz Under had canceled out Jan Kovarik's opener — with all three goals coming over a 16-minute span in the second half.

The victory meant Plzen finished third in Group G.

Three-time defending champion Real Madrid, which lost 3-0 to CSKA Moscow, had already won the group and Roma was already assured of finishing second.

Madrid finished with 12 points, Roma nine and Plzen and CSKA seven each.

Plzen advanced to the Europa League courtesy of a better head-to-head record with CSKA, having beaten the Russian side in their second meeting after a draw in their first encounter. The Czech side needed to match CSKA's result to finish third.

Injury-plagued Roma, a semifinalist last season, extended its winless streak in all competitions to five matches. Even though Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Stephan El Shaarawy were out injured for Roma, the result will add to the pressure on coach Eusebio Di Francesco, whose job may be at risk.

"This isn't the result we wanted. We came here to provide a small signal of what this shirt means to us," Roma winger Alessandro Florenzi said. "The results are not on our side right now."

When Roma hosted Plzen in October, Dzeko scored a hat trick in a 5-0 victory.

Roma ended with 10 men when substitute Luca Pellegrini picked up two yellow cards.

 

Sane double earns Man City 2-1 win, top spot in CL group

Leroy Sane scored two goals, including a free kick from 30 meters, as Manchester City came from behind to beat Hoffenheim 2-1 and secure first place in its Champions League group on Wednesday.

City recovered from losing its opening game in Group F — 2-1 at home to Lyon — to finish top by five points, and advance to the round of 16 for the sixth straight year as it bids to become European champion for the first time.

Despite being assured of a top-two finish, City manager Pep Guardiola fielded a strong team in a bid to clinch first place, but saw his side fall behind to Andrej Kramaric's 16th-minute penalty.

City struck the goal frame twice before equalizing when Sane stepped up to send a powerful, dipping free kick past goalkeeper Oliver Baumann in the first minute of stoppage time.

The Germany winger then grabbed the winner in the 61st by exchanging passes with Raheem Sterling, taking a touch beyond Baumann, and slotting the ball into an empty net.

That made up for an embarrassing missed opportunity moments earlier, when Sterling and Sane led a three-man counterattack beyond Hoffenheim's defense. With only Baumann to beat, Sterling squared the ball to Sane, who opted to pass inside to Bernardo Silva instead of shooting and the chance was squandered.

Hoffenheim finished bottom of the group, despite scoring 11 goals, to also miss out on dropping into the Europa League. It turned out to be the last European game as Hoffenheim coach for Julian Nagelsmann, who will leave for Leipzig at the end of the season.

City will be seeded in Monday's draw for the last 16, meaning a home match in the second leg against a second-placed finisher.

 

Lyon rescues draw at Shakhtar to edge into knockout rounds

Lyon scraped into the knockout rounds of the Champions League after salvaging a 1-1 draw away to a tenacious Shakhtar Donetsk team on Wednesday.

Playing in freezing sleet in Kiev after the game was relocated due to martial law, Shakhtar took the lead through Junior Moraes and held on for more than 40 minutes thanks to a string of saves from Andriy Pyatov. However, Nabil Fekir hit a shot into the top-left corner in the 65th minute to give Lyon the point it needed to secure second place in Group F behind Manchester City.

While Lyon did enough to qualify, the draw leaves the French team on a four-game winless run in all competitions.

Police said 27 people were detained ahead of the game after alleged incidents of trying to force open turnstiles and attempting to assault police. Flares were thrown from the crowd onto the field at the start of the game.

City beat already-eliminated Hoffenheim 2-1 in the other game in Group F.

 

Benfica ends Champions League campaign with 1-0 win over AEK

Benfica finished its Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win over AEK Athens on Wednesday.

Both teams were out of contention for the knockout stage, and Benfica had already secured third place and a spot in the round of 32 of the Europa League.

Alex Grimaldo scored the winner in the 88th minute with a well-struck free kick over the wall.

Bayern Munich won Group E with 14 points, two more than Ajax. Benfica finished with seven points, while AEK Athens had zero after losing all of its games. Bayern and Ajax drew 3-3 in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

With nothing at stake in Lisbon, both teams took risks in what was an entertaining match at the Stadium of Light. The teams created several chances back-and-forth in the second half, with the hosts coming closest to scoring.

Alfa Semedo hit the crossbar with a header in the 70th, and about 10 minutes later Gedson Fernandes entered the area free from markers but had his shot saved by AEK goalkeeper Vassilis Barkas.

AEK went a man down in the 86th when Kostas Galanopoulos pulled Fernandes' jersey and was shown a second yellow card. Coach Marios Ouzounidis was sent off a few minutes later after complaining excessively.

Benfica had won 3-2 in Greece.

 

Juventus loses at Young Boys, wins group after Man U defeat

Juventus lost 2-1 at Young Boys in the Champions League, joining Real Madrid on Wednesday as a group winner which had already qualified before losing to a last-placed team.

Cristiano Ronaldo hit a post with an 87th-minute header for Juventus, and played the full game despite the plastic playing surface at Stade de Suisse and temperatures below freezing in Bern.

Ronaldo was also responsible for a stoppage-time equalizer being ruled out for offside when he leaped in front of goalkeeper Marco Woelfli to try to divert Paulo Dybala's shot that rose into the top corner of the goal.

Dybala had cut the deficit for Juve, scoring from a powerful shot in the 80th only eight minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Veteran forward Guillaume Hoarau starred for Young Boys with goals in the 30th and 68th minutes.

The 34-year-old former France international scored first from the penalty spot, and then with a well-placed shot to give the Swiss champion a first win of the group stage.

Despite the defeat, Juventus still won Group H by two points — and will be seeded in Monday's round of 16 draw — because runner-up Manchester United lost 2-1 at Valencia.

Three-time defending champion Madrid is also seeded in the draw despite a 3-0 home loss Wednesday against CSKA Moscow.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri declined to rest Ronaldo though he did leave key defender Giorgio Chiellini and midfielder Blaise Matuidi on the bench.

The penalty for Young Boys was conceded by Alex Sandro minutes after replacing the injured Juan Cuadrado. The Brazilian left back was falling and off balance when he hooked a foot around the ankle of Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu to pull down the Young Boys midfielder.

Hoarau's spot-kick was read by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who dived to his left but could only push the ball onto the inside of the post and into the net.

It was a 100th goal for the club for Hoarau who wears the No. 99 shirt. His 101st came midway through the second half, finishing a counterattack by cutting inside Leonardo Bonucci to slide a low left-footed shot past Szczesny.

Inbetween his goal, Hoarau also managed to strike the ball against his own bar, when Alex Sandro's header glanced off his leg and rebounded to safety.

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