Lyon and Fenerbahce roll on
Lyon and Fenerbahce took hold of the final two berths in the UEFA Champions League last 16on Wednesday night, thanks to fantastic wins over Rangers and CSKA Moscow respectively.England are the only country to have four representatives through to the knockout phase, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United all dreaming of the Moscow final.
That quartet are joined by three teams apiece from
Spain (Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla) and Italy (AC Milan,
Inter and Roma), while the picture is completed by a further six
sides from six different nations: Celtic (Scotland), Olympiakos
(Greece), FC Porto (Portugal), Schalke 04 (Germany), Lyon (France)
and Fenerbahce (Turkey).The last-16 round gets underway with first-leg
ties to be contested on 19 and 20 February, followed by the return
encounters on 4 and 5 March. The draw for those games takes place
in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday 21 December.
Match of the day
Fenerbahce 3-1 CSKA Moscow
Goals: Alex (32), Boral Ugur (45+1, 90+1) for Fenerbahce, Edu Dracena (31 o.g.) pour Moscow
Fenerbahce took a grip on this match from the first whistle and they never let up the pressure, despite a brief scare when Edu Dracena deflected a cross into his own net. Alex levelled the scores almost immediately with a thumping effort from 25 metres and, after that, nothing looked like it could trouble the Turkish champions. Boral Ugur duly gave them the lead and their first ever place in the knockout stage just before the break, and the same man then added gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time.
Glasgow Rangers 0-3 Lyon
Goals: Sidney Govou (16), Karin Benzema (85 and 88)
Before this match, French teams had failed on their last four trips to Scotland, both at club and international level - and the picture was hardly much rosier for them at home, as Lyon could attest after their 3-0 humiliation by Rangers earlier in the campaign. Alain Perrin's men exacted their revenge, though, inflicting a carbon-copy result thanks to a performance dripping with technical class and three talented forwards from the club's own youth ranks. Govou opened the scoring by pouncing after Allan McGregor had parried Benzema's shot into his path, and the latter extinguished the home side's hopes with a late double. Preparing to celebrate his 20 th birthday on 19 December, Benzema is already carving out a fearsome reputation for himself.
Goal of the night
Arsenal 2-1 Steaua Bucharest, Nicklas Bendtner (42)
Arsenal's young guns thoroughly enjoyed themselves on the European stage, and the highlight of their stylish win was the move involving Robin van Persie and fellow striker Nicklas Bendtner on 42 minutes. The Dutchman fed his Danish partner with a superb ball through the middle and the 19-year-old fired in goal number two with a powerful right-foot finish.
In Group E, Lyon sealed their passage on a night of high drama at Ibrox by matching Rangers' 3-0 victory in France. Fenerbahce did not wilt either as they grasped second place in Group G, beating CSKA Moscow 3-1 to advance beyond the group stage for the first time in their history.As it happened, the Turks could have qualified with a defeat as their closest rivals PSV Eindhoven also went down, losing 1-0 at home to a below-strength Inter team. In Group F, meanwhile, Roma and Manchester United played out a 1-1 draw in a match that had nothing riding on it, while Sporting Lisbon handed Dynamo Kiev a severe 3-0 reverse.
Lastly, in Group H, Sevilla held on to first place courtesy of their 3-0 triumph at Slavia Prague, while Arsenal's makeshift 11 ran out 2-1 winners at home to Steaua Bucharest. Also of note was Samuel Eto'o's first appearance in the competition since his serious injury in August, and the Cameroonian striker showed he has lost none of his touch by scoring the Barcelona's second in their 3-1 success against Stuttgart.
The numbers game - 12
The number of Brazilian players in the squads of Fenerbahce and CSKA Moscow. Coached by Zico, Fener boast Roberto Carlos, Edu Dracena, Alex, Wederson, Deivid and the naturalised Mehmet Aurelio, while CSKA possess Ramon, Daniel Carvalho, Dudu, Vagner Love, Eduardo and Jo.
Lyon became the fifth side to qualify for the last 16 despite losing their opening two games. They follow in the steps of Bayer Leverkusen and Newcastle (2002/03), Werder Bremen (2005/06) and Inter (2006/07), who all managed to turn things around when it mattered.
Group stage, sixth and final matchday
Glasgow Rangers 0-3 Lyon
Barcelona 3-1 Stuttgart
1 - Barcelona 14 points (qualified)
2 - Lyon 10 (qualified)
3 - Glasgow Rangers 7 (UEFA Cup)
4 - Stuttgart 3
AS Roma 1-1 Manchester United
Sporting Lisbon 3-0 Dynamo Kiev
1 - Manchester United 16 points (qualified)
2 - AS Roma 11 (qualified)
3 - Sporting Lisbon 7 (UEFA Cup)
4 - Dynamo Kiev 0
PSV Eindhoven 0-1 Inter Milan
Fenerbahce 3-1 CSKA Moscow
1 - Inter Milan 15 points (qualified)
2 - Fenerbahce 11 (qualified)
3 - PSV Eindhoven 7 (UEFA Cup)
4 - CSKA Moscow 1
Arsenal 2-1 Steaua Bucharest
Slavia Prague 0-3 Sevilla
1 - Sevilla 15 points (qualified)
2 - Arsenal 13 (qualified)
3 - Slavia Prague 5 (UEFA Cup)
4 - Steaua Bucharest 1