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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League PHOTOS: Ronaldo strike sinks Basel; Arsenal make last 16

Champions League PHOTOS: Ronaldo strike sinks Basel; Arsenal make last 16

Last updated on: November 27, 2014 10:44 IST

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) celebrates after scoring a goal during their Champions League Group B soccer match against FC Basel on Wednesday

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) celebrates after scoring a goal during their Champions League Group B soccer match against FC Basel at St. Jakob-Park stadium on Wednesday. Photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo renewed his personal battle with Lionel Messi by scoring his 71st Champions League goal, putting him three behind the Argentine's newly-set record, in Real Madrid's 1-0 win at FC Basel on Wednesday.

Real, already qualified for the last-16, chalked up their 15th successive win in all competitions although they had to survive a difficult second half against the Swiss champions who refused to go quietly.

Despite their defeat, Basel, who have six points from five games, can still qualify for the last 16 if they avoid defeat at Liverpool in their final match.

Messi set a Champions League scoring record of 74 goals when he netted a hat-trick in Barcelona's 4-0 win at APOEL Nicosia on Tuesday to surpass the record of 71 he jointly held with former Real Madrid and Schalke 04 striker Raul.

Ronaldo pulled level with Raul's total when he scored from close range after Karim Benzema got to the byline and pulled the ball back in the 35th minute, Real's first genuine chance of the match.

It was the 12th consecutive Champions League away game, including last season's final, in which the Portuguese has scored.

 

'At this moment Basel have a slight advantage'

A fan is chased by stewards as he runs on the field during the Champions League Group B soccer match between FC Basel and Real Madrid on Wednesday

A fan is chased by stewards as he runs on the field during the Champions League Group B soccer match between FC Basel and Real Madrid on Wednesday. Photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuters

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said he believed Basel had the edge over the English Premier League side for the match at Anfield.

"They're in better shape than Liverpool at the moment, they are in very good physical condition," he told reporters.

"At this moment Basel have a slight advantage."

"They caused us some problems in the second part. We fought hard and that's why we won."

Basel lost 5-1 at the Bernabeu but seemed uninhibited as they created a series of chances during the second half.

Shkelzen Gashi fired over from a good position after Fabian Frei threaded the ball through to him and the Albania forward was guilty of a poor finish again when he shot weakly at Keylor Navas from the edge of the area.

Gashi then sent a looping header over the bar from the edge of the area while Navas did well to save from Breel Embolo as the teenager tried to go around him.

Real were always dangerous though and Gareth Bale fired against the underside of the crossbar before a Ronaldo shot grazed the post.

Arsenal beat Borussia Dortmund to reach last 16

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring a goal against Borussia Dortmund during their Champions League group D soccer match in London on Wednesday

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring a goal against Borussia Dortmund during their Champions League group D soccer match in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Arsenal held their nerve, their lead and their record of reaching the Champions League knockout stages when they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 on Wednesday to reach the last 16 for the 15th season in a row.

Three weeks after collapsing to a 3-3 draw with Anderlecht at the Emirates Stadium after holding a 3-0 lead, Arsenal went ahead in the second minute through Yaya Sanogo and made it 2-0 after 57 minutes through Alexis Sanchez.

This time, though, a similar self-inflicted implosion never looked likely.

Arsenal looked far more assured than they have done recently following two successive Premier League defeats and they inflicted a first Champions League defeat on Dortmund, who stay top of the group with a game to play.

Arsenal can still finish top if they win their last match at Galatasaray and Dortmund lose to Anderlecht, who, like Galatasaray are eliminated. Their main objective, though, was to seal a place in the last 16.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, unsurprisingly, was a much happier man than after the Anderlecht collapse.

 

'Both teams went for goal throughout an entertaining game'

Arsenal's Yaya Sanogo (centre) scores a goal against Borussia Dortmund during their Champions League group D soccer match in London on Wednesday

Arsenal's Yaya Sanogo (centre) scores a goal against Borussia Dortmund during their Champions League group D soccer match in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

"Maybe we were defensively better tonight. We are a team that likes to go forward, sometimes we feel we dominate the game and we maybe forget to take precautions to defend. We did that better tonight."

The hosts needed only 73 seconds to take the lead with 21-year-old French striker Sanogo scoring his first goal for the club and the Gunners sealed victory when Sanchez curled in a wonderful strike from 20 metres.

It was Sanchez's third goal in five Champions League appearances in the competition proper for Arsenal, the same total he managed in 24 games for Barcelona and he has now scored 13 goals in his first 20 matches for the Londoners.

Sanogo, who limped off with a suspected hamstring injury just before the end, scored with a fine goal, converting after a neat one-two with Santi Cazorla, back-heeling the ball to the Spanish midfielder and then running on for the return.

Both teams went for goal throughout an entertaining game with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain going particularly close after 55 minutes when his brilliant lob crashed back off the crossbar.

Misfiring Liverpool stumble in draw with Ludogorets

Yordan Minev (right) of Ludogorets challanges Raheem Sterling of Liverpool during their Champions League Group B match at Vassil Levski stadium in Sofia, on Wednesday

Yordan Minev (right) of Ludogorets challanges Raheem Sterling of Liverpool during their Champions League Group B match at Vassil Levski stadium in Sofia, on Wednesday. Photograph: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

A late header from defender Georgi Terziev earned Ludogorets a 2-2 Champions League draw with an unimpressive Liverpool on Wednesday that left the English side facing a winner-takes-all final match with FC Basel.

Ludogorets went ahead in the third minute when Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet failed to deal with an awkward bounce following Marcelinho's long-range effort and Dani Abalo was on hand to tap in from close range.

Liverpool levelled five minutes later when Rickie Lambert netted a header from close range following farcical defending by Romania centre back Cosmin Moti.

Jordan Henderson made it 2-1 eight minutes before the break, making no mistake at the back post from Raheem Sterling's precise left-wing cross.

Yet the home side refused to surrender and Terziev headed home with four minutes remaining.

Liverpool, who were beaten and failed to score in their previous three games in Group B, kept alive their hopes of advancing to the Champions League knockout stage.

The Reds are third in the standings on four points, two behind Basel, and need to beat the Swiss side at Anfield in the final round of Group B matches to secure a last-16 spot.

'We're disappointed with the goal at the end but it's irrelevant'

Players of Ludogorets celebrate their second goal against Liverpool on Wednesday

Players of Ludogorets celebrate their second goal against Liverpool during their Champions League Group B match at Vassil Levski stadium in Sofia on Wednesday. Photograph: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Ludogorets visit runaway leaders Real Madrid in their final match.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, under pressure after a poor start to the Premier League season, said the late equaliser did not really change much.

"Overall I was very pleased with the performance," he said. "This is a real confidence boost for us because Ludogorets are a really difficult team to play against.

"We're disappointed with the goal at the end but it's irrelevant."

Centre back Kolo Toure replaced Dejan Lovren, Henderson recovered from illness and he was joined by Lucas Leiva in midfield while captain Steven Gerrard moved into a more advanced position after some sub-standard displays.

Despite the changes Liverpool were still shaky at the back and devoid of creativity.

Lambert had kept his place up front in the absence of injured Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge and scored his second goal in three days but he struggled to link with Sterling, who missed a golden chance 10 minutes from time.

"We are devastated about the goal at the end but it was about the performance today and the performance was better," said Lambert.

Tevez strikes late as Juventus beat Malmo 2-0

Juventus' Carlos Tevez scores past Malmo's Filip Helander (front) during their Champions League Group A match on Wednesday.

Juventus' Carlos Tevez scores past Malmo's Filip Helander (front) during their Champions League Group A match on Wednesday. Photograph: Andreas Hillergren/TT News Agency/Reuters

Second-half strikes from Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez gave Juventus a gritty 2-0 win over Malmo in their Champions League clash on Wednesday, the Italian side's first away victory in the group stage for two years.

Llorente broke the deadlock four minutes into the second half, latching on to Claudio Marchisio's through ball and charging from the halfway line before rounding Robin Olsen and slotting the ball home.

Tevez netted a late second in the 88th minute to complete their first Champions League away win since they beat Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 in December 2012.

Malmo had their fair share of chances but failed to find the net and cannot now qualify for the knockout stages.

The win moves Juventus into second place in Group A on nine points, three behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who hammered Olympiakos Piraeus 4-0.

The top two meet in Turin in their final group game on Dec. 9, with Juventus needing a point to ensure qualification.

Malmo's Emil Forsberg wasted two gilt-edged chances

Malmo's Emil Forsberg (2nd from) runs past Juventus' Stephan Lichtsteiner (left) and Claudio Marchisio during their Champions League Group A match on Wednesday

Malmo's Emil Forsberg (2nd from) runs past Juventus' Stephan Lichtsteiner (left) and Claudio Marchisio during their Champions League Group A match on Wednesday. Photograph: Andreas Hillergren/TT New Agency/Reuters

Playing in chilly conditions on a well-worn pitch that was the subject of much criticism, Malmo goalkeeper Olsen had enough work to keep him warm, making smart saves throughout the game as Arturo Vidal, Marchisio and Tevez all went close.

Malmo's Emil Forsberg wasted two gilt-edged chances as the first half drew to a close, first shooting wide from Rosenberg's clever pass, then toe-poking harmlessly wide of goal after running the length of the field.

After Llorente had given Juventus the lead, the home side battled bravely to create an opening.

But with Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo pulling the strings in midfield and Tevez dropping deep to collect possession, Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus side had no intention of relinquishing their advantage.

Substitute Alvaro Morata hit the bar before Tevez killed the game off a minute later, firing low past Olsen for a goal which preceded a flurry of cards, including a red for Malmo defender Erik Johansson.

Monaco stun Leverkusen 1-0 to revive qualifying hopes

Monaco's Lucas Ocampos (right) scores a goal against Bayer Leverkusen's goalkeeper Bernd Leno (centre) during their Champions League group C match in Leverkusen on Wednesday

Monaco's Lucas Ocampos (right) scores a goal against Bayer Leverkusen's goalkeeper Bernd Leno (centre) during their Champions League group C match in Leverkusen on Wednesday. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

Monaco stunned Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 with a late goal against the run of play from substitute Lucas Ocampos on Wednesday to revive their Champions League qualifying hopes and scupper the Germans' plans to top Group C with a game to spare.

Ocampos had been on for only two minutes when he sneaked into the box in the 72nd to slide the ball home after the Germans, who had won their previous three group games, had dominated but were again frustrated by defensive Monaco.

"The key was that we had very good pressing," Monaco's Dimitar Berbatov, who played for five seasons at Leverkusen, told reporters.

"We wanted to hold the first half. In the second half they got a bit tired and then we looked for the chance to score this one goal. You have to be clever, take that chance, score and win."

Leverkusen, who have now lost twice to Monaco, had already qualified for the Round of 16 without kicking a ball after Zenit St Petersburg beat Benfica 1-0 earlier.

The Germans were eager to top the group to make sure they avoided the many European heavyweights in the knockout stage.

Instead the result left them top on nine points with Monaco on eight and Zenit on seven going into the last matchday, when Monaco play the Russians and need only a draw to go through.

"I am hugely disappointed," said Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt. "They shot twice in two games on our goal and they won both games 1-0."

"We worked for 90 minutes, we outplayed them and then with this lucky punch they go and win it."

Leverkusen had possession but no space with every Monaco player apart from Berbatov, deep in their own half.

Just as in their 1-0 defeat in Monte Carlo in September, Leverkusen had the chances but Monaco provided the killer finish.

Lars Bender had the hosts' biggest chance but was unlucky to see his superb volley bounce off the crossbar in the 26th minute.

The French league team, who have conceded one goal in five games, played their tight game, leaving few spaces for the Leverkusen to unfold their quick-punching counter attacks.

Leverkusen should have done better when substitute Josip Drmic fired wide from close range and with the Germans gradually finding more space, Monaco hit against the run of play.

Berbatov sent Nabil Dirar down the right, who crossed into the box with Ocampos timing his run perfectly for the winner that sets up a nail-biting group finale.

Mbemba double sends Anderlecht into Europa League

Goals at the end of each half from defender Chancel Mbemba secured Anderlecht a place in the Europa League on Wednesday and consigned visitors Galatasaray to last spot in Champions League Group D.

The 20-year-old Congolese's double strike ended a 12-game, two-year streak without a win for the Belgian side in Europe's top competition.

The first came when he headed home a clever flick forward in the 44th minute, with the second slotted in from close range four minutes from time after the Turks' Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera could only parry a free kick.

With Arsenal going through to the knockout stage with a 2-0 home win over group leaders Borussia Dortmund, Anderlecht at least made sure of continuing in European competition.

"We've waited a long time for a win," said club chairman Roger Vanden Stock, whose side had fought back to an impressive 3-3 draw at Arsenal after trailing 3-0. "But we've shown we no longer look stupid playing in the Champions League."

Galatasaray, who lost captain Selcuk Inan to a second yellow card with seven minutes left, rarely threatened for much of the match beyond long range efforts that included a tantalisingly floated first-half free kick from Dutchman Wesley Sneijder.

With 15 minutes to play, only the crossbar denied Burak Yilmaz after he was put through by Hamit Altintop.

Anderlecht have five points and play their final group game at Dortmund, seven ahead. Galatasaray have just one point and host Arsenal, now on 10.

Danny's late goal keeps Zenit's last-16 hopes alive

Zenit St Petersburg set up a winner takes all clash with Monaco for a place in the Champions League knockout stages after Danny's goal gave them a nervy 1-0 win against Benfica in Group C on Wednesday.

Danny's well-taken 79th minute goal also ended Benfica's hopes of reaching the last 16 and ensured group leaders Bayer Leverkusen were guaranteed a spot in the next round.

The defeat was harsh on Benfica who created a number of good chances, but Danny's smart finish proved the difference as Zenit recorded their first win at home in the Champions League group stage in more than two years.

Benfica ended the match with 10 men after Luisao was sent off for a second bookable offence after a lunging tackle.

Zenit have seven points, two behind the now qualified Bayer Leverkusen who host Monaco (5) later on Wednesday.

The home side had the first chance when Hulk's dipping free kick was parried by Benfica keeper Julio Cesar, but neither Axel Witsel or Jose Rondon were able to turn in the rebound.

Rather than spur Zenit into life, however, Andre Villas-Boas's side were subdued thereafter as Benfica took control.

The visitors enjoyed a couple of decent opportunities but their best chance fell to Eduardo Salvio on 38 minutes.

Nicolas Gaitan had been by far the best player on the pitch and his vision found his fellow Argentine who had slipped in behind Domenico Criscito, but his powerful right-foot shot was well blocked by Yuri Lodygin.

Zenit were happy to reach halftime at 0-0 but the second half was little better for the Russian league leaders.

Benfica had another glorious chance when the ball broke to captain Luisao but the burly defender struck his effort wildly wide with only Lodygin to beat.

Zenit produced their first real excursion into Benfica's half on 63 minutes. Danny went on a mazy run before cutting back on to his right foot but rather than shooting the Portuguese international elected to try and play an intricate pass to Hulk.

Moments later, Rondon broke free down the left and played an inviting ball across the penalty area but there was not a single player in a blue shirt to tap it into the net.

Zenit finally began to hit their stride and with 11 minutes to go they finally gave the wrapped-up fans in the Petrovski Stadium something to shout about.

Hulk played an intelligent floated pass into the path of Danny who produced a fine half-volleyed finish past Cesar.

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