MADRID, December 10
Two headed goals from Karim Benzema helped Real Madrid reach the Champions League knockout stages with a convincing 2-0 home win on Wednesday over Borussia Moenchengladbach, who also progressed to the last-16.
Benzema ghosted into the area unmarked to head home a floated cross from Lucas Vazquez in the ninth minute and rose again to score in the 32nd, this time powering a cross from Rodrygo through the hands of Swiss keeper Yann Sommer.
The German side were out-classed by the Spaniards but sneaked through from the group as Inter Milan drew
0-0 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in the other game in Group B.
Zinedine Zidane’s side finished top with 10 points while Gladbach came second with eight, pipping third-placed Shakhtar due to their better head-to-head record, while Inter came fourth with six.
Real’s shock defeat to Shakhtar last week threatened their record of qualifying from their group for the last 23 years and piled renewed pressure on Zidane, who has won the trophy three times as coach but has had a difficult season in La Liga and in Europe.
But as so often in the competition that forms such a large part of their identity, Madrid stood tall when it mattered most.
“This was a great game for us and the way we want to go,” said Benzema.
PSG, Basaksehir players take a knee
Paris: Paris St Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir players, as well as the three onfield match officials, took a knee before their game resumed on Wednesday after being suspended the day before.
The match was halted after 13 minutes on Tuesday when the players of both teams walked off in protest after the Turkish club accused a match official of racism.
Players also held their fists in the air as they gathered around the centre circle and wore ‘No to racism’ T-shirts during the warm-up.
“Of course, I am proud of what was done. A lot of things were said but in fact there’s nothing better than actions,” said PSG and France striker Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe and his teammate Presnel Kimpembe were the most vocal in their support of Istanbul Basaksehir’s decision to leave the pitch. “We showed the entire world that we are united,” said Basaksehir coach Okan Buruk.
Aguero on target as Man City sink Marseille
Manchester: Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score for Manchester City as they cruised past Olympique Marseille 3-0. City were already assured of top spot and ahead of Saturday’s Manchester derby rested keeper Ederson and gave a start to American back-up goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Spaniard Ferran Torres put City ahead. Raheem Sterling scored the third after Aguero’s strike. — Reuters
Results (group stage)
- Real Madrid bt Monchengladbach 2-0
- Man City bt Marseille 3-0
- Midtjylland dr Liverpool 1-1
- Paris SG bt Istanbul 5-1
- Bayern bt Lokomotiv 2-0
- Atletico bt Salzburg 2-0
- Inter dr Shakhtar 0-0
- Porto bt Olympiacos 2-0