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Spurs, City qualify on good night for English clubs

Spurs, City qualify on good night for English clubs

PARIS: English clubs shone in the Champions League on Wednesday as Tottenham Hotspur humbled Real Madrid and Manchester City beat Napoli to secure their places in the knockout stages with two games remaining.

Tottenham ended Real’s five-year unbeaten run in the Champions League group stage with a storming 3-1 win over the reigning champions at Wembley as Dele Alli scored twice on his return from a three-game suspension.

City muscled their way to a 4-2 win over Napoli as Sergio Aguero took the club’s all-time scoring record.

Liverpool made it three wins from three for English clubs with a straightforward 3-0 victory over Slovenian outsiders NK Maribor and can qualify by beating Sevilla in their next game.

Alli starred with a brace for Tottenham with Christian Eriksen also scoring before Cristiano Ronaldo’s late consolation.

The result ensured that Mauricio Pochettino’s side are through from Group ‘H’ with two games to spare, while Real will have to wait to join them.

“We don’t want to just compete with these teams — we want to beat them. I’m happy to get two goals, but more importantly it was a win,” Alli told BT Sport.

Tottenham profited from an officiating error to go in front on 27 minutes as Kieran Trippier should have been flagged offside before he crossed for Alli to score.

Alli netted again on 56 minutes when his shot beat Kiko Casilla with the aid of a deflection off Sergio Ramos.

Eriksen made it 3-0 at the end of a counter-attack on 65 minutes, before Real reduced the deficit late on as Ronaldo scored his sixth goal in the competition this season.

This was Real’s first group-stage defeat in five years and, following a shock La Liga loss at Girona at the weekend, the pressure is building on coach Zinedine Zidane.

Nevertheless, a win at APOEL Nicosia later this month will do for the 12-time champions to qualify after the Cypriot side held Borussia Dortmund 1-1 in Germany.

Raphael Guerreiro gave Dortmund a first-half lead but they are still looking for a win in Europe this season after Mickael Pote levelled for APOEL on 51 minutes.

Dortmund and APOEL are mathematically still in contention to qualify but realistically have almost no chance. Either would now need to beat both Tottenham and Madrid to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stages.

City continued their sensational form as they saw off Napoli in Italy to make it four wins from four in Group ‘F’ and advance to the knockout phase for the fifth season running.

Lorenzo Insigne put Napoli ahead in the 21st — the first time since August that City had conceded the opening goal of any game — but Nicolas Otamendi headed City level and his fellow centre-back John Stones then scored with a header that went in off the underside of the bar.

A Jorginho penalty restored parity again, but Aguero’s goal on a counterattack, his 178th for the club, gave him the City scoring record as he passed the old mark of 177 set by Eric Brook in the 1930s and Raheem Sterling added the visitors’ fourth in stoppage time.

“What he has achieved has made him a legend, he’s gone down in history, so I would tell him to enjoy,” said City coach Pep Guardiola of Aguero, the former son-in-law of Argentina and Napoli great Diego Maradona.

Shakhtar Donetsk haven;t made it past the group stage since the 2014-15 season, but need just a draw in Naples in three weeks to go through after beating Feyenoord 3-1 to tighten its hold on second place.

Nicolai Jorgensen headed the Dutch champions into the lead in Kharkiv only for Facundo Ferreyra to equalise. Marlos, the Brazil-born Ukraine international attacking midfielder, then scored twice to secure the victory as Feyenoord were eliminated.

Liverpool weren’t quite as imperious as in its previous 7-0 hammering of Maribor, but three second-half goals were enough for a win that makes the Reds highly likely to qualify from Group ‘E’.

Maribor’s defence managed to hold Liverpool at bay until Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 49th minute. James Milner then saw his penalty tipped onto the post but he set up Emre Can to double Liverpool’s lead before substitute Daniel Sturridge completed the scoring.

That leaves Liverpool in first place, one point ahead of Sevilla, who beat Spartak Moscow 2-1 in Spain to gain a measure of revenge for their 5-1 loss in the Russian capital two weeks ago.

In contrast to the disarray in Moscow, Sevilla played with a calm authority from the start and took a 2-0 lead through Clement Lenglet and Ever Banega. A consolation goal from Ze Luis came too late to spark a comeback from the Russian champion.

In Group ‘G’, Monaco and RB Leipzig risk elimination after Besiktas and FC Porto picked up valuable points.

Turkish champions Besiktas continued their strong group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw against Monaco in Istanbul that keeps them unbeaten, Cenk Tosun’s penalty cancelling out the opener from Rony Lopes.

With just two points from four games, Monaco are last in the group and facing an early exit. However, their prospects would have been very different if a shot by Keita Balde hadn’t been saved by Besiktas goalkeeper Fabri in stoppage time.

Monaco must now beat Porto and Leipzig in their last two games to stand any chance of qualifying.

Aiming for their first appearance in the knockout phase, Besiktas now sit four points clear at the top from Porto and will now hope for a draw at home to the Portuguese club to qualify next time out.

Porto beat Leipzig 3-1 to move second in the group, two points ahead of the defeated Germans who are in their debut Champions League campaign. Hector Herrera, Danilo Pereira and Maxi Pereira scored Porto’s goals as Timo Werner replied for Leipzig.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2017

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