Champions League: Turan, Lucas Perez hat-tricks as Barcelona, Arsenal top groups
Arda Turan grabbed a hat-trick and Lionel Messi his 10th Champions League goal of the season as a much-changed Barcelona cruised past Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0 . Arsenal easily beat FC Basel 4-1 to finish a surprise winner of its Champions League group, powered by a hat trick from little-used forward Lucas Perez.Updated: Dec 07, 2016 09:04 IST
Arda Turan grabbed a hat-trick and Lionel Messi his 10th Champions League goal of the season as a much-changed Barcelona cruised past Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0 on Tuesday.
Barcelona had already booked their place in the last 16 as Group C winners, but were looking for a morale boosting win after three successive draws, including the concession of a last minute equaliser to Real Madrid in a 1-1 drawon Saturday.
Messi continued to cut the gap on Cristiano Ronaldo as the Champions League’s all-time top goalscorer when he slotted home the opener after just 16 minutes.
Arda Turan then struck his first Barca hat-trick in a 17-minute second-half spell as the hosts took out their frustration on a dispirited Monchengladbach.
“I have to congratulate the players because today was a game in which we had little to win and things could have gone very differently,” Barca boss Luis Enrique told BeIN Sports Spain.
“It is perhaps the most precise we have been all season and it came in a game where we didn’t have a lot of space to play in.”
Whilst Barca can look forward to the last 16 for a 13th straight season, third place in the group behind Manchester City ensures Moenchengladbach drop into the Europa League.
“We had too much respect for them and didn’t play with enough courage,” said Moenchengladbach boss Andre Schubert.
Enrique retained only Messi, Andre Gomes and Javier Mascherano from the side that started El Clasico on Saturday.
Arsenal rout Basel 4-1
Arsenal easily beat FC Basel 4-1 to finish a surprise winner of its Champions League group, powered by a hat trick from little-used forward Lucas Perez.
Getting a rare start, the Spanish forward gave Arsenal a three-goal lead by the 47th minute as the visitors coasted to victory.
Arsenal unexpectedly finished atop Group A, rising above Paris Saint-Germain which drew 2-2 at home to winless Ludogorets Razgrad.
As a group winner, Arsenal is seeded in Monday’s draw for the Round of 16, hoping to avoid a seventh straight exit at that stage.
Arsenal will avoid the likes of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid but the pot of unseeded teams is stronger than usual.
“It’s difficult to know,” Wenger told British broadcaster BT Sport, when asked if it was better to finish top. “You feel a bit less guilty. At least we have done our job and let’s see what happens.”
One possible opponent is Bayern Munich, which ousted Arsenal in the first knockout round in 2013 and ‘14.
Another option is either Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund, who play Wednesday in Spain with the leadership of Group F at stake.
Napoli, Benfica in last 16
In the only group on Tuesday where qualification for the Champions League knockout stages was still to be decided, Besiktas crumbled under the pressure, allowing Napoli and Benfica to progress.
Napoli and Benfica had eight points going into their Group B match, one more than Besiktas, which was playing at already eliminated Dynamo Kiev.
However, the Turkish side fell to a shock 6-0 defeat in a match which saw it finish with nine men. Napoli won 2-1 at Benfica to win a Champions League group for the first time.
Atletico Madrid win Group D
Robert Lewandowski curled in a spectacular free kick to give Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid but the Spanish side still won Group D, finishing with 15 points to Bayern’s 12.
Bayern’s win stretched its record to 15 straight Champions League home victories and ended Atletico’s hopes of winning all six group matches.
By holding PSV Eindhoven to a 0-0 draw, newcomer Rostov clinched third spot and a place in the Europa League.
First Published: Dec 07, 2016 08:58 IST