UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid & Barcelona eye progress, Atletico fear exit
Lionel Messi and Barcelona will qualify and clinch top spot with a draw against last year’s UEFA Champions League finalists Juventus. Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid will qualify with a win over Cypriots APOELfootball Updated: Nov 20, 2017 20:05 IST
Holders Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United headline a selection of teams who can secure a place in the last 16 of the Champions League this week.
Liverpool, Chelsea and Juventus are also within reach of a spot in the knockout phase, but Atletico Madrid appear destined for an early exit, with Serie A high-flyers Napoli also in deep trouble.
Liverpool vs Sevilla
In Group E, the winner of Liverpool’s match at Sevilla will qualify for last 16. The two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Anfield on the opening matchday, and another point for five-time European champions Liverpool would still see them book a last-16 spot for the first time since 2008/09 if Spartak lose at home to Maribor. Russian champions Spartak cannot be eliminated on Tuesday and would secure at least third place with a draw. Slovenian outfit Maribor have to win and hope Sevilla lose to Liverpool to stay in knockout round contention.
Napoli vs Shakhtar Donetsk
In Group F, Serie A leaders Napoli host Shakhtar needing to win and score at least two goals to keep their hopes alive. The Italian side lost 2-1 in Ukraine in the reverse fixture, so need to level their head-to-head record with Shakhtar to take the group to a final matchday. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will wrap up top spot in the group with a home win over pointless Feyenoord, or with a draw if Shakhtar lose in Naples.
Besiktas v Porto, Monaco v RB Leipzig
Turkish champions Besiktas are on the cusp of the last 16 and will secure top spot with a draw. If Leipzig fail to beat Monaco, then they will finish in the top two regardless. Two-time champions Porto will book their ticket to the knockout stage with a victory in Istanbul if Leipzig do not win in the principality. Last season’s semi-finalists Monaco have to win and hope Porto do not to have any chance of replicating their feats from last term.
Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham Hotspur, APOEL v Real Madrid
After their famous 3-1 win over the holders at Wembley last time out, Spurs just have to match Real’s result on Tuesday to secure first place. Zinedine Zidane’s Spanish champions will qualify with a win over Cypriots APOEL, and with a point if struggling Dortmund fail to see off Tottenham. A pair of draws against the Germans have kept APOEL’s slim chances alive, but they will be out if they do not pull off a shock win over Real.
CSKA Moscow v Benfica, Basel v Manchester United
Manchester United require just a point away to Basel to qualify and secure top spot as Jose Mourinho’s team close in on a first appearance in the knockout phase since 2013-14. Paul Pogba’s return from injury at the weekend inspired United to a 4-1 rout of Newcastle, just their second win in five league outings, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic also made his comeback following a serious knee injury. Basel could also qualify with victory over United if CSKA Moscow lose at home to Benfica, who must win to retain any outside chance of advancing.
Paris Saint-Germain v Celtic, Anderlecht v Bayern Munich
Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are already guaranteed of their spots in the last 16, with Celtic and Anderlecht scrapping to continue their continental adventure in the Europa League. Unai Emery’s PSG have scored 17 goals without conceding to record four straight group-stage wins, while Edinson Cavani scored twice more as they pulled six points clear in France following a 4-1 defeat of Nantes. Bayern have been rejuventated by the appointment of 72-year-old Jupp Heynckes, winning all eight matches since he replaced Carlo Ancelotti.
Qarabag v Chelsea, Atletico Madrid v Roma
Roma can seal their place in the next round with a point at Atletico Madrid, while Chelsea will progress with victory over Qarabag -- or if Atletico fail to win in Spain. Diego Simeone’s side -- finalists twice in the past four seasons -- have drawn four of their matches so far and appear heading to a premature exit. Buoyed by their 2-1 derby win over local rivals Lazio, Roma can wrap up first place with victory if Chelsea are denied all three points in Azerbaijan.
Juventus v Barcelona, Sporting Lisbon v Olympiakos
Lionel Messi and Barcelona will qualify and clinch top spot with a draw against last year’s finalists Juventus. Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve slumped to a rare defeat on Sunday, as Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli were rested for a 3-2 loss at Sampdoria. But the six-time reigning Italian champions can move through to the knockout round if they avoid defeat and Olympiakos get a result at Sporting. Both sides in Lisbon realistically must win to harbour any hope of staying in contention.
First Published: Nov 20, 2017 18:27 IST