AB BASSON

The penultimate round of the UEFA Champions’ League group stages took place last week.

Reigning champions Chelsea  suffered a 3-0 defeat against Italian Serie A champions Juventus. Juventus cruised to victory with goals from Fabio Quagliarella, Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco. The English team fired coach Roberto di Matteo following the loss. He has been replaced by former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

In the other Group E match, Shakhtar Donetsk beatNordsjaelland 5-2to book their place in the next round. If Juventus draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in the final match of the group stage, Chelsea will be knocked out of the competition even if they win their match.

In Group D, Manchester City were knocked out of the competition after a 1-1 draw at home against Real Madrid. The visitors took the lead early in the first half after a brilliant finish from Karim Benzema. Madrid continued their attack on goal but could not extend their lead before the break. City’s Sergio Agüero’s spot kick after 74 minutes leveled matters for the hosts after Madrid’s Álvaro Arbeloa was shown a red card for his second bookable offence of the night.

In the other Group D match, Borussia Dortmund beat Ajax 4-1 to advance to the next round.

Arsenal joined Group B leaders Schalke 04 in the next round after defeating French champions Montpellier Hérault SC 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in London. Jack Wilshere opened the scoring for Arsenal just after the break with his first goal since returning from a leg injury which kept him off the field for more than a year. Lukas Podolski scored Arsenal’s second goal in the 63rd minute.

Barcelona advanced through Group G after defeating Spartak Moscow in Russia. Dani Alves scored the first goal of the match with a powerful finish in the 16th minute. Lionel Messi scored two goals to give Barcelona a 3-0 lead before halftime. Fellow Group G team Benfica beat Celtic 2-1.

In the shock result of the week, Manchester United suffered their first loss at the hands of Turkish outfit Galatasaray. The English team remain top of Group H, and have already qualified for the next round.

AC Milan secured a 3-1 victory against Anderlecht. Defender Philippe Mexes scored a brilliant goal to contribute to the win. The seven time winners of the competitionwill join Spanish side Malaga in the next round.

In the Group A games, FC Porto beat Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 and Paris Saint-Germain beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0.

The last round of group stage matches will take place on 4 and 5 December.

Image: www.chealsefc.com

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