Champions Bayern Munich and their Group D rivals, Manchester City, both booked their tickets for the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. The English side had never previously advanced past the group stage, but their 5-2 defeat of CSKA Moscow sealed their spot.
Elsewhere, the first instalment of Matchday 4 saw Group B leaders Real Madrid and Juventus play out an exciting 2-2 draw, while Paris Saint-Germain were surprisingly held 1-1 at home to Anderlecht.
The big match
Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid
Goals: Arturo Vidal 41, Fernando Llorente 65 (Juventus); Cristiano Ronaldo 52, Gareth Bale 60 (Real Madrid)
Arguably the best match of the group phase so far, this much-anticipated clash in Turin featured two high-quality teams both putting in strong performances.
During the first half, Juventus pressed their opponents high up the pitch and used their extra midfielder to produce some dangerous moments for Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who took advantage of the opportunity to show that he had not lost any of his handling skills.
The home side opened the scoring via an Arturo Vidal penalty, after Raphael Varane had brought down Paul Pogba. After the break, the Spaniards stepped up a gear, chasing the ball with increased intensity.
The tactic paid off, as a poor clearance from Martin Caceres was pounced on by Karim Benzema, who set up Cristiano Ronaldo for his 25th goal of the season.
After Xabi Alonso had struck the bar, Real’s Portuguese star turned provider, finding Gareth Bale, who made no mistake. Five minutes later, Caceres made up for his earlier error by floating over the perfect cross for Fernando Llorente, who escaped the attentions of Varane to steer the ball into the net with his head.
The match swung back and forth until the very end, but the score would stay the same. La Vecchia Signora now find themselves bottom of Group B.
The other games
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Real Sociedad 0-0 Manchester United
In a match where clear-cut chances were hard to come by, Real Sociedad fought hard versus Manchester United, for whom Robin Van Persie hit the post and missed a penalty. The Red Devils have now conceded just one goal in their last six away matches.
In the pool’s other game, Shakhtar Donetsk were unable to find a way past Bayer Leverkusen’s stubborn defence, and remain two points off second place with two games to play.
Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray
Daniel Braaten’s skilful strike brought Copenhagen back into contention for second place in Group B, which still looks likely to be won by Real Madrid.
Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Anderlecht
Olympiacos 1-0 Benfica
For two minutes at the Parc des Princes, it appeared that Anderlecht, who just gone ahead through Demy de Zeeuw, might earn some revenge for the humiliating 5-0 home loss they had suffered at the hands of the Parisians last time out.
But the goal only served to wake PSG up, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, nicely set up by Blaise Matuidi, proceeded to equalise almost immediately. Laurent Blanc had stated pre-match that the Belgians would be out to regain their pride, and he was proved correct.
Olympiacos, meanwhile, helped by their on-song shot-stopper, Roberto Jimenez Gago, recorded a crucial victory over Benfica, Konstantinos Manolas’ header doing the damage. The result gives the Greeks a useful three-point lead over the Portuguese heavyweights.
Manchester City 5-2 CSKA Moscow
Viktoria Plzen 0-1 Bayern Munich
Viktoria Plzen put up a strong fight against European Champions Bayern, who required a second-half header from Mario Mandzukic – from a cross by Philipp Lahm – to claim three points and a place in the second round.
Elsewhere, there was a festival of goals at the Etihad Stadium, where a Samir Nasri-inspired Manchester City saw off CSKA Moscow in style. Sergio Aguero’s brace and Alvaro Negredo’s hat-trick sent the Citizens into the Round of 16 for the first time, following two successive group-stage letdowns.
Argentinian forward Sergio Aguero is in the process of putting together his finest season yet. Having already scored eight times in nine Premier League matches and three times in Manchester City’s first three Champions League encounters, the 25-year-old was again instrumental in his club’s 5-2 win over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, scoring two goals and setting up another.
Aguero showed his full range of skills during the build-up to City’s third, winning the ball aggressively on the halfway line before playing an excellent one-two with Alvaro Negredo, who only had to knock the ball into an empty net.
Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray (Daniel Braaten 6)
As the Danes moved forward, Claudemir De Souza found Rurik Gislason on the right, who fired in a quick cross for Daniel Braaten. The Norwegian winger got ahead of Emmanuel Eboue to slip the ball past Galatasaray ’keeper Eray Iscan with a classy backheel.
9 – The record number of consecutive victories registered by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, which equals the winning run accomplished by Barcelona during season 2002-03. The Bavarians are also unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, with nine wins and two draws under their belts.
Have your say
Will there be any Portuguese teams left in the knockout stage?