Champions League group stage reaches climax


Manchester United and Liverpool are among the teams bidding to book their places in the Champions League knockout stage this week, and Atletico Madrid appear set to bow out of the competition as the group stages conclude this week.

Elyounoussi headed Basel into an early lead with his first goal in the Champions League proper, the forward left all alone in the penalty area to convert a terrific cross from Michael Lang, who had scored a dramatic late victor at home to United on matchday five.

Group A leaders Manchester United will be looking to wrap up their Champions League qualification with a win over CSKA Moscow.

Romelu Lukaku had scored one goal in his last 12 club matches and Marcus Rashford hadn't scored in nine games, but both were on target as Manchester United came from behind to beat CSKA with two goals in two second-half minutes.

Vitinho's shot deflected in off Alan Dzagoev, who was only deemed onside due to United defender Daley Blind being off the pitch behind the goalline.

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Group D also features Croatia , who was defeated 1-0 by Argentina in the 1998 group stage, their only previous World Cup meeting. This is the most hard group by average SPI rating, with the four teams having an average rank of 81.7 out of 100.

Sporting took third despite losing to Francisco Alcacer's header and an own goal from former Barca defender Jeremy Mathieu in a low-key clash at the Camp Nou. Sporting drop into the Europa League.

Elsewhere, Chelsea missed out on top spot in Group C after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge.

However, Roma can still win the group if they win and Chelsea draw or lose to Atletico.

Diego Simeone's Atletico, who have only been knocked out by Real Madrid in each of the last four years, reaching at least the quarter-finals every time, must now accept a spot in the Europa League. While Liverpool know a win at Anfield will ensure they top the group. We had a run of situations that weren't normal in the Champions League.

Tournament favourites Paris Saint-Germain are showing signs of fallibility, after the French outfit suffered their second loss in just four days as they were beaten 3-1 at Bayern Munich.

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Robert Lewandowski put Bayern ahead after eight minutes, having been carelessly played onside, and Corentin Tolisso made it 2-0 from James Rodriguez's cross just before halftime.

Last season's runners-up Juve brushed aside Olympiakos 2-0 in Greece to go through, and Napoli will try to overhaul Shakhtar Donetsk and make it three out of three for Italy on Wednesday.

"I am 50 percent happy and 50 percent disappointed", said their coach Unai Emery.

Uefa blazers gather in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday, December 11 to decide the matches for the last 16 of the competition. Whichever team finishes third in the group will advance to the Europa League.

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