Wednesday's Uefa Champions League Developments
It was a stunning night of Champions League results throughout Europe with Manchester City and Manchester United bundled out while there were huge celebrations for Basel, CSKA and Lyon.
FC Basel 2 (Streller 9’, Alexander Frei 85’) def Manchester United 1 (Jones 89’)
The big story of the evening came in Switzerland when Swiss champions FC Basel stunned English champions Manchester United 2-1. The result knocked out last season’s beaten finalists, who become the first side ever to fail to progress beyond the group stage after reaching the decider the season before. The Red Devils will now compete in the Europa League which they already have admitted will be a burden.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Of course we’re disappointed. The last few years have been outstanding and it’s a loss because it’s the best tournament in the world. It’s a marvellous competition. Losing the early goal was a big blow. When you’re away from home and 1-0 down you have a job to do and we didn’t take our chances. It’s big blow for us.”
Benfica 1 (Cardozo 7’) def Otelul Galati 0
Oscar Cardozo’s early goal was easily enough for the Portuguese runners-up to finish off the group stage with a win over Romanians Otelul Galati who round out their campaign without a point. Claiming top spot in the group will delight Benfica too.
Benfica boss Jorge Jesus said: “Our objective was to win the group. Group C had three great teams and when a team like Benfica finish in first place it is something to highlight. We are having a strong European campaign. It is not easy to win in this competition and we did not lose a match. I have to thank our supporters who helped us a lot once again when we had to play with 10 men.”
Dinamo Zagreb 1 (Kovacic 40’) def by Olympique Lyon 7 (Gomis 45’, 48’, 52’, 70’, Gonalons 48’, Lopez 65’, Briand 76’)
On a remarkable night, Lyon progressed on goal difference despite that appearing impossible moments prior to half-time when they trailed 10-man Dinamo by a goal. Bafetimbi Gomis was the hero with four goals, including the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history, as the French side somehow progressed.
Lyon boss Remi Garde said: “I tried to bring the focus back to our game plan at half-time. They had 10 men on the pitch and we had just conceded and were not really producing everything we needed. There was a bit of anger [at half-time]. We knew that our toughest mission was to put doubt in their heads by scoring one or two goals. We had all thought about this scenario and afterwards we all felt great joy, but credit to the players.”
Ajax Amsterdam 0 def by Real Madrid 3 (Callejon 14’, 90’, Higuain 41’)
The Dutch champions were incredibly bundled out of the Champions League on Wednesday with Lyon’s stunning triumph coupled by their unbelievable home defeat. Ajax will bemoan disallowed goals, but Real were too good with Jose Callejon rampant.
Ajax boss Frank de Boer said: “This is obviously a huge blow. Before the match we had a lot of faith that we’d get through in the Champions League. I thought it was an even game in the first half. We had the majority of the ball possession … maybe they were looking to profit from some mistakes we made. It was a real setback to go in 2-0 behind at half-time, but I saw the score in Zagreb at that time was 1-0; then in the dressing room I heard it was 7-1.”
Manchester City 2 (David Silva 37’, Toure 52’) def Bayern Munich 0
The English leaders did what they needed to do on matchday six but the result elsewhere didn’t go their way meaning they are eliminated from the Champions League. David Silva’s volley was no less superb, while Yaya Toure’s nicely-worked goal was worth a look too, but it’s all over for Roberto Mancini’s men.
Mancini said: “We got ten points and that is usually enough to get through the group stage. We made some mistakes, and the loss in Naples was probably where we went wrong. We have a good team, a fantastic team, and we played very well. We are very sorry to the suppporters and I am very sorry for the players as they deserve to play in this competition.”
Villarreal 0 def by Napoli 2 (Inler 65’, Hamsik 76’)
Napoli had their nervy moments throughout this contest with City leading elsewhere meaning they needed to win here. However the goals eventually came thanks to Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler’s long-range strike, before Marek Hamsik’s close-range finish sealed the result and progression.
Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi said: “Nobody gave us much chance but I think we’ve got a very complete team that runs and knows how to play with the ball. This is historic but we want to keep advancing now.”
Lille 0 drew with Trabzonspor 0
The French champions and Turkish runners-up were in the boxseat to progress prior to kick-off, with a victory for either side enough to go through, but in the end they both missed out after a goalless draw in France. Lille had their chances but couldn’t make it count, leaving them to rue missed opportunities.
Lille boss Rudi Garcia said: “It is a disappointment. I am first of all disappointed for my players. We lacked a little bit of luck to get the goal which would have sent us through. Four shots on target out of 22 attempts is not enough. There was no particular pressure.”
Inter Milan 1 (Cambiasso 51’) def by CSKA Moscow 2 (Doumbia 50’, Berezoutski 87’)
The Russians moved into the final 16 after grabbing a late winner through Vasili Berezoutski’s header to leapfrog both Lille and Trabzonspor. Seydou Doumbia had put CSKA ahead early in the second-half only for Esteban Cambiasso to poke home moments later for the weakened hosts, but the Russians got the winner they needed.
CSKA boss Leonid Slutski said: “I don’t want people to downgrade our victory. For all the talk of Inter playing a weakened team, they had a pretty feisty line-up. We had the slight advantage in both halves and we regularly created chances, though Inter had their share too.”
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