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Champions League PIX: Liverpool, Chelsea held; Barcelona cruise

Last updated on: November 28, 2019 09:32 IST

A summary of Wednesday's matches in the UEFA Champions League.

IMAGE: Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring the equaliser for Liverpool during Wednesday's Champions League Group E match against Napoil, at Anfield. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool and Napoli drew 1-1 in a cagey encounter at Anfield on Wednesday, leaving both sides with work to do to reach the last 16 in their final Champions League group matches.

 

A Dejan Lovren header in the 65th minute cancelled out Dries Mertens's first-half opener for Napoli, who will head home the happier after another disciplined performance in which they defended deep but posed questions on the counter-attack.

European champions Liverpool lead Group E on 10 points with Napoli a point behind and Salzburg on seven. Juergen Klopp's side are away to Salzburg in their final game while Napoli host bottom club Genk.

Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli will now expect to secure their place in the knockout stage with a win over a Genk side with a solitary point who were beaten 4-1 at home by Salzburg on Wednesday.

Liverpool though will need at least a point in Austria on December 10 to avoid elimination and given their fixture congestion next month -- in which they will feature in the Club World Cup in Qatar -- this was a frustrating result.

The Premier League leaders, who could have wrapped up top spot with a game to spare, had to come from behind to get their point and never truly settled into the kind of rhythm for which they have become known.

IMAGE: Dries Mertens of Napoli scores his team's first goal. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

The night began badly with Liverpool's Brazilian holding midfielder Fabinho limping off in the 19th minute with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

Matters got worse for Klopp when Belgian Mertens put Napoli ahead in the 21st minute with a sweet strike from a tight angle after running on to a through-ball from Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

Liverpool's defence was opened up too easily down their left and the Anfield crowd's agitation increased as two separate VAR reviews were needed before the goal was confirmed.

Klopp was certainly losing his cool and, on the stroke of halftime, he was booked for protesting, shortly after Liverpool had appealed in vain for a penalty after Sadio Mane went down in the box.

The nearest Liverpool came to a breakthrough in the opening 45 minutes was in the final moments of the half when James Milner jinked into the box and blasted at the near post but Napoli keeper Alex Meret did well to parry.

There was more intensity about Liverpool after the break and they went close to levelling when Roberto Firmino hooked the ball goalwards but Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly did well to clear off the line.

Mohamed Salah shot straight at Napoli keeper Alex Meret after good work from Andy Robertson and then Firmino headed wide from a promising position.

The equaliser finally came when Lovren headed home from a James Milner corner in the 65th minute and while there was plenty of pressure from the home side in the latter stages they were frustrated by Ancelotti's well-marshalled defence.

Messi scores in 700th match as Barca ease into last-16

Lionel Messi

IMAGE: Lionel Messi scores Barcelona's second goal against Borussia Dortmund, at Camp Nou, Barcelona. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Lionel Messi scored in his 700th match for Barcelona and also set up goals for Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann as the Catalans beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 to seal a spot in the Champions League knock-out stages as Group F winners.

Messi set up Suarez to put Barca ahead at a packed Camp Nou in the 29th minute before the Uruguayan returned the compliment for the Argentine to establish another Champions League record on his landmark night four minutes later.

Messi's left-foot strike meant he had scored against a 34th different team in the Champions League, surpassing the mark that he had shared with Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul.

Substitute Griezmann finished off a defence-splitting pass from Messi to further stretch Barca's lead in the 67th minute, a much-needed goal for the Frenchman's confidence after failing to score in his previous six appearances for the club.

IMAGE: Antoine Griezmann scores Barcelona's third goal. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Griezmann had been left out of the starting line-up but came on midway through the first half when his injury-prone compatriot Ousmane Dembele was forced off with a third muscle problem of the campaign.

Dortmund's England forward Sancho also began the game on the bench but made an impact when introduced after halftime, firing in an impressive consolation strike for the Germans in the 77th minute after pouncing on a loose ball inside the area.

The 19-year-old then forced Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to turn a powerful shot on to the crossbar in a strong finish from the German side, whose coach Favre is under pressure due to the team's poor domestic results.

But it did not tarnish what was a therapeutic win for Barca, who had come in for scathing criticism for their recent poor displays against Leganes, Levante and Slavia Prague, even though they are top of La Liga and their Champions League group.

Ernesto Valverde's side lead the standings with 11 points from five games, Inter Milan are second on seven while Dortmund are third, also on seven, with Slavia bottom with two.

Chelsea's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga saves a penalty from Valencia's Dani Parejo.

IMAGE: Chelsea's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga saves a penalty from Valencia's Dani Parejo. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

A freak goal from Valencia's Daniel Wass earned the Spanish side a 2-2 draw in an epic encounter against England's Chelsea on Wednesday that left both sides waiting to book their place in the Champions League's knockout stage.

Valencia, who missed a glut of chances, had taken the lead through Carlos Soler but goals from Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic flipped the match on its head.

The Spaniards missed a penalty through Dani Parejo, but drew level late on when Wass netted a remarkable effort, shaping to centre before finding the net with a finish across goal.

The draw means both sides are on eight points after five games but Valencia have a better head-to-head record and so are second in Group H, with Chelsea in third.

Ajax Amsterdam sit top on 10 points after winning 2-0 at Lille, who are bottom with one.

IMAGE: Mateo Kovacic celebrates after scoring Chelsea's first goal. Photograph: Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Valencia visit last season's semi-finalists Ajax in their final group game and will have to win there to ensure they qualify, while Chelsea will book their place in the last-16 if they beat Lille at home.

Victory for either side at Mestalla would have sent them through and Valencia went ahead when Soler scored in the 40th minute after team mate Maxi Gomez had missed two gilt-edged opportunities.

Yet Kovacic levelled for Chelsea two minutes later, netting for the first time in 122 club games.

Chelsea's top scorer Tammy Abraham was carried off on a stretcher with a serious-looking injury before halftime, although Lampard said after the game the striker had only suffered a knock to the hip.

Valencia defender Jose Gaya was also taken off on a stretcher after full-time having collapsed on the pitch.

IMAGE: Mateo Kovacic celebrates after scoring Chelsea's first goal. Photograph: Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

United States international Pulisic put Lampard's side ahead in the 50th minute after a lengthy VAR review ruled him onside.

Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno missed an open goal later in the half and then the home side were awarded a penalty.

But captain Parejo was denied from the spot by Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, spurning a second penalty in the competition after also missing in the defeat to Ajax Amsterdam.

The Spaniards eventually levelled in the 82nd minute with a remarkable goal from Danish midfielder Wass, who looked set to cross from the right wing but instead flummoxed Arrizabalaga by firing a shot across goal which bounced off the far post and into the net.

Ziyech magic steers Ajax to vital win at Lille

Quincy Promes scores Ajax's second goal against Lille.

IMAGE: Quincy Promes scores Ajax's second goal against Lille. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Mercurial forward Hakim Ziyech scored one goal and laid on another as Ajax secured a 2-0 victory over hosts Lille in their Champions League Group H clash.

Ziyech pulled the strings in attack for the Dutch side, giving his team an early lead before making the chance for the free-scoring Quincy Promes to net his 14th of the season in all competitions.

Ajax, last season’s semi-finalists, top Group H with 10 points from five matches, two ahead of Valencia and Chelsea on eight each, with Lille now eliminated in last place with a single point.

Ajax host Valencia in their final group match on December 10, where a draw will be enough to secure a knock-out place, while Lille travel to Chelsea.

The Dutch side made a fast start and were ahead inside two minutes when captain Dusan Tadic rolled the ball into the path of Ziyech on the edge of the box and the Morocco international steered his shot low into the back of the net.

The home side should have been level on the half-hour mark, but forward Jonathan Bamba produced a contender for miss of the season. With just Ajax keeper Andre Onana to beat from eight yards, and no defender in sight, Bamba put the ball over the bar.

The visitors scored their second on 59 minutes when Ziyech teased the Lille defence before delivering a pin-point cross to the back post, where an unmarked Promes applied the scoring touch.

Ziyech thought he had a brace when he netted again with 12 minutes remaining, but the goal was chalked off by the Video Assistant Referee, who ruled the ball had struck his arm before he applied the finishing touch.

Salzburg beat Genk to set up group decider with Liverpool

Patson Daka celebrates with teammates scoring FC Salzburg's first goal against Genk.

IMAGE: Patson Daka celebrates with teammates scoring FC Salzburg's first goal against Genk. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Salzburg thumped Belgian side Genk 4-1 away to keep their hopes of reaching the Champions League knock-out stage alive and set up a final-game decider against holders Liverpool.

Two goals in as many minutes just before half-time laid the platform as third-placed Salzburg moved on to seven points in Group E, three behind leaders Liverpool and needing to beat Juergen Klopp’s team in Austria on December 10 to advance.

Salzburg, who lost 4-3 to Liverpool earlier in the group stage, would need only a low-scoring single-goal victory to finish ahead of Liverpool.

Patson Daka reacted quickest to a rebound to open the scoring in the 43rd minute and a low Takumi Minamino shot from the right made it 2-0 before half-time.

Hwang Hee-chan then added a third in the 69th minute as he tucked away a cross from teenage striker Erling Haaland, who got Salzburg’s fourth in the 87th minute to take his tally to eight goals in this season’s Champions League.

Mbwana Samatta netted a consolation for Genk with five minutes remaining, but with just a single point from five group games, the Belgians will finish last and be eliminated from European club competition.

Chelsea thwarted by Valencia in thriller

Inter see off Slavia to keep last-16 hopes alive

Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring Inter Milan's second against goal against Slavia Prague

IMAGE: Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring Inter Milan's second against goal against Slavia Prague, at Eden Arena, Prague, Czech Republic. Photograph: David W Cerny/Reuters

Lautaro Martinez scored twice and Romelu Lukaku struck his 250th career goal as Inter Milan left it late to win 3-1 at Slavia Prague and stay in contention for a place in the Champions League last 16.

Martinez put Inter ahead in the 19th minute, the fourth consecutive Champions League match in which the Argentine international has scored, after linking with Lukaku, who beat two Slavia defenders on the right side of the box.

The two swapped roles in the 35th minute and Lukaku thought he had scored on the counter-attack only for the video assistant referee to rule there had been a foul at the other end moments earlier.

So, instead, Slavia were awarded a penalty for a trip on Peter Olayinka by Stefan de Vrij and captain Tomas Soucek scored from the spot.

Inter, twice denied by the woodwork in the second half, finally broke through in the last 10 minutes when Lukaku shot into an empty net after his marker slipped. The Belgian's landmark goal was his first in the Champions League for Inter.

Martinez then wrapped up victory for the Italian side in the 89th minute, volleying home after more fine work by Inter's record signing Lukaku.

Barcelona lead Group F on 11 points after beating Borussia Dortmund 3-1 and have qualified for the last 16. Inter and Dortmund are level on seven points with Slavia bottom on two.

Forsberg double sends Leipzig into knock-out stage

Emil Forsberg scores Leipzig's first goal from the penalty spot.

IMAGE: Emil Forsberg scores Leipzig's first goal from the penalty spot. Photograph: Matthias Rietschel/Reuters

Emil Forsberg struck twice late in the game to earn RB Leipzig a 2-2 draw against Benfica that saw the Bundesliga side advance to the Champions League knock-out stages.

Sweden international Forsberg scored an 89th minute penalty and then headed in another in stoppage time to send the Germans through with a game to spare and end Benfica's Champions League hopes for this season.

Goals from Pizzi and Carlos Vinicius had put the visitors ahead before Forsberg's brace completed the hosts' late turnaround.

Leipzig are on 10 points in Group G while Zenit St Petersburg moved up to seven with a 2-0 victory over Olympique Lyonnais, who are third on goal difference. Benfica are last on four points.

Pizzi came close to adding a second a minute before the break but his superbly curled shot bounced off the crossbar.

Leipzig needed only a point to secure their knockout stage spot but Benfica keeper Odisseas Vlachodimos denied Christopher Nkunku in a one-on-one in the first half with a fine save.

With Leipzig dominating and in search of the crucial equaliser after the restart, Benfica found the space to counter attack and Vinicius broke clear after Lukas Klostermann slipped and easily beat keeper Peter Gulacsi in the 59th minute.

The hosts earned an 89th minute penalty and Forsberg beat Vlachodimos to make it 2-1 before heading in the equaliser.

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