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Barcelona, Chelsea advance to Champions League last 16

/ 11:04 AM November 23, 2017

PSG’s Neymar scores his side’s first goal during a Champions League Group B soccer match between Paris St. Germain and Celtic at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France. AP

Chelsea advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League with a game to spare after beating 10-man Qarabag 4-0 on Wednesday (Thursday Manila time), securing manager Antonio Conte’s 50th victory in all competitions with the Blues.

Barcelona needed only a point to reach the Round of 16 and the Spanish superpower got exactly that against Juventus. A 0-0 draw at last year’s runner-up was enough to ensure top spot in Group D.

Already through, Paris Saint-Germain conceded the first goal of its European campaign in the first minute – before then unleashing its unstoppable firepower to thrash Celtic 7-1 in Paris.

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A goalless draw at Basel would have been enough for Manchester United to top Group A, but the Premier League club slipped to its first group stage loss, going down 1-0 to a goal conceded just a minute from time.

Here is a look at what happened in the other games.

GROUP A

Manchester United was deservedly beaten 1-0 by a spirited Basel, leaving all the qualification places open with one game remaining. Basel defender Michael Lang struck in the 89th minute to earn a win for the Swiss champion.

Still, United leads the standings with 12 points, three clear of both Basel and CSKA Moscow, which earlier won 2-0 at home to last-place Benfica.

In the final round on Dec. 5, Basel plays at last-place Benfica, and United hosts CSKA.

Georgy Shchennikov gave CSKA an early lead, despite an apparent offside. Then an own goal from Jardel ensured that Benfica — which is eliminated — suffered its fifth defeat in five Champions League games.

GROUP B

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Neymar scored twice and set up another goal as Paris Saint-Germain produced its biggest Champions League win to extend its perfect record in the group stage this season.

PSG leads Group B with 15 points, three more than Bayern Munich, which won 2-1 at Anderlecht. Both PSG and Bayern are guaranteed a spot in the knockout phase and will battle for group supremacy on Dec. 5.

Celtic forward Moussa Dembele surprised the hosts with his first minute goal, but PSG responded with four goals in the first half – two from Neymar, one from Edinson Cavani and the other from Kylian Mbappe.

The one-way traffic continued after the break with Cavani scoring again to take his career total with PSG to 151, while Marco Verratti and Dani Alves also found the net.

GROUP C

Following a humbling 3-0 loss in Rome, Willian led Chelsea’s efforts to get its European campaign back on track, scoring a goal in each half and winning a penalty.

Eden Hazard made it 1-0 from the penalty spot in the 21st minute, calmly sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. Home team captain Rashad F. Sadygov had received a straight red card for tugging back Willian just inside the area as the Chelsea forward ran onto Eden Hazard’s pass.

Hazard then fed Willian with a back-heel pass to make it 2-0 in the 37th.

Qarabag, the first club from Azerbaijan to reach the group stage of the Champions League, had no better luck in the second half. Cesc Fabregas scored from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute and Willian added his second goal, a drive from 20 meters, five minutes from time.

Antoine Griezmann found the net with a stunning overhead kick as Atletico Madrid defeated Roma 2-0 to keep alive its hopes of advancing.

Substitute Kevin Gameiro scored the second to seal Atletico’s first Champions League victory this season.

Atletico has six points, two less than Roma, with one match to play.

GROUP D

Juventus will have to wait until the final round to try and qualify for the knockout stages. The Italian side remained second in the group but is only a point above Sporting Lisbon, which beat Olympiakos 3-1.

The Italian side — which reached the final in two of the last three seasons — next visits Olympiakos, while Sporting travels to Barcelona.

Barcelona, which rested Lionel Messi until the 56th minute, went closest to breaking the deadlock when Ivan Rakitic hit the post with a free kick.

In Portugal, Bas Dost scored a goal in each half for Sporting Lisbon. Bruno Cesar added the third while Vadis Odjidja scored the consolation goal for Olympiakos.

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TAGS: Chelsea, FC Barcelona, Football, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, UEFA Champions League
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