Updated: December 2, 2020 at 2:52:15 pm
As former champions Liverpool and Porto advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League, 13-time champions Real Madrid face a group-level exit after a 2-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
Zinedine Zidane’s team would have advanced with a win, but it was poorly defended all season and was canceled by counter-attacks in the second half. Instead of advancing, Madrid were pushed to third place in Group B behind the Ukrainian side and Borussia Munchengladbach.
Six-time champions Liverpool overcame injury problems to beat four-time winners Ajax 1-0 at Anfield thanks to a second-half goal from midfielder Curtis Jones.
Porto, who have won twice, already beat qualified Manchester City 0-0 at home, although City secured the top spot.
There was no drama in either of those two groups, but Gladbach missed out on a chance to advance after a 3-2 defeat to three-time champions Inter Milan and had to win heavily in Madrid.
Atletico Madrid did not make enough, Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw by the defending champions who had already qualified and fielded a weak side.
Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and standout goalkeeper Manuel Neuer retired, but that was enough to prevent the Spanish team from winning.
Atletico’s in-form striker Joao Felix faced less competition without Newer blocking him, and he threw Marcos Lorende’s cross from the Byline midway in the first half.
But senior forward Thomas Mல்லller equalized from 86th minute from the penalty spot.
In the other match of Group A, striker Merkim Perisha netted twice, with the locomotive beating Salzburg 3-1 in Moscow to advance to third place and prevent the Russian team from reaching the 16th round.
Salzburg will qualify to break down the odds if they beat Atletico at home next week, but Diego Simeone’s Atletico only need a draw.
Madrid defends badly
Madrid have advanced to the knockout stage in 24 of their previous group-level campaigns, but things are tense. Madrid have conceded nine goals in five games for the worst defensive record in this position, having lost twice to Shakhtar, who have leaked 10 goals in two defeats to Gladbach.
Brazilian forward Dentinho netted in the 57th minute from a combination between Ferland Mendy and Rafael Warren. Zidane’s players failed to notice, and substitute Manor Solomon from the second counter finished with confidence.
Over in Germany, Inter needed to win to get a chance to reach the next round, with the ever-reliable Romalu Lukaku finding it with two goals.
Midfielder Matteo Dormian Inter and French striker Alasen Plea netted early for the home side, while Lukaku netted twice after the break before Plea responded again.
It is noteworthy that all four parties in Group B can still qualify.
Gladbach only need a draw in Madrid, while Inter in last place beat Shakhtar next week, if Gladbach and Madrid do not draw.
Porto only needed one point and the team did not have to worry about winning against City, which has a strong record of 10 goals and only one match.
Not so for Marseille, who at least avoided the humiliation of the French side’s 14th straight defeat, when Dmitry Boyd imposed two video-review penalties on his 2-1 win over Olympiacos.
The win leaves both sides with three points as they compete for third place and Europa League place.
But next week Olympiacos’ decision will have to be made better by Marseille, as Olympiacos beat Marseille 1-0 and set a great head-to-head record with a superb goal.
Having hosted Olympiacos Porto has a tough look in Marseille City.
Kids are all right
Jones’ first European goal coach Jurgen Klopp will be heartbroken as he regrets significant injury issues and a crowded fitted list.
With Jones scoring a cross from fellow 19-year-old Neko Williams, the Globe can take comfort in the quality of the young players on Liverpool’s squads. On the other hand, in the absence of the injured No. 1 Alison Becker, goalkeeper Guyom Kelleher Ajax kept the attacks going.
In the other match of Group D, newcomer FC Midgeland stunned Adalanta 1-1 at Bergamo in its first point.
Alexander Scholes led the Danish team in 13th place, with Christian Romero equalizing in the 79th minute for last season’s quarterfinals behind fellow center.
This proved to be an important goal.
Ajax are one point behind Atlanta, to beat the Italian team at home in next weekend.
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