UEFA Champions League: Liverpool, Ajax top groups with six wins out of six

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Liverpool eliminate Milan as Origi, Salah seal comeback win

Liverpool’s second-string side fought back to knock AC Milan out of Europe with a 2-1 victory at San Siro as goals from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi helped the Reds become the first English team to win all six games in a Champions League group stage.

Milan needed to win to stand any chance of progressing to the last 16 and went in front through their England defender Fikayo Tomori in the first half to cheer the home support.

But Salah soon equalised with his 20th goal of the season in all competitions and Origi, who came on to score a stoppage-time winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday, headed home Liverpool’s second after the break.

Jurgen Klopp’s side became the first English team to enjoy a perfect Champions League group stage campaign, finishing top of Group B with 18 points.

It was also the first time in their history that they had chalked up a sixth consecutive victory in the competition.

“What the boys did tonight, I could not be more proud,” Klopp told BT Sport. “The performance was outstanding. Having 21 shots, so many situations where we played outstandingly well and defended passionately and well organised.”

Milan came last with four points in their first Champions League campaign since 2013-14, as Atletico Madrid beat Porto 3-1 to reach the knockout stage by taking second spot with seven points, two ahead of the Portuguese side.


Clinical Real sink 10-man Inter to win group

Real Madrid finished top of Champions League Group D on Tuesday (Dec 7) as goals from Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio secured a 2-0 home win over Inter Milan who had Nicolo Barella sent off.

Both teams had already booked last-16 places and Real ended on 15 points from six games, five more than second-placed Inter. Sheriff Tiraspol finished third on seven and drop into the Europa League while Shakhtar Donetsk came last on two.

Real captain Luka Modric, man of the match in his 100th appearance for the club in Europe’s premier competition, was delighted they ended the group stage in pole position.

“Very happy about the game and the result. We wanted to finish top in order to avoid stronger teams (in the round of 16),” the 36-year old Croatia playmaker told reporters.

“I feel good, as if I was under 30. My age is not a factor, what matters is how you perform on the pitch. We played well on the counter and Toni scored a great opening goal.”


Mbappe, Messi on target as PSG beat Brugge 4-1

Already-qualified Paris St Germain finished the Champions League group stage in style as Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi bagged doubles in a 4-1 home win over Club Brugge on Tuesday (Dec 7).

France forward Mbappe put the Ligue 1 side 2-0 up in the first seven minutes and Messi added a third before the break plus a fourth with a penalty after the interval.

PSG were guaranteed second place in Group A before kickoff while Manchester City, who lost 2-1 at RB Leipzig on Tuesday, had already secured top spot and finished with 12 points, one ahead of Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris side.

Brugge were eliminated from European competition after finishing bottom with four points, three behind Leipzig.

Visiting goalkeeper Simon Mignolet clumsily punched Nuno Mendes’s cross into the path of Mbappe who fired home after two minutes and the striker was at it again five minutes later when he volleyed past the Belgian from Angel Di Maria’s pass.

Mbappe is the youngest player to reach 30 goals in the Champions League, less than two weeks before his 23rd birthday.

Messi added the third seven minutes before halftime with a trademark curled attempt from outside the area and although Mats Rits pulled one back in the 68th, PSG were always in control.

Messi wrapped up a comfortable victory with a 76th-minute spot kick after being brought down by substitute Ignace Van der Brempt.


Ajax maintain 100% record as Haller scores again

Sebastien Haller kept up his scoring streak to help Ajax Amsterdam end the Champions League group stage with a 100 per cent record as they beat Sporting Lisbon 4-2 at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Tuesday (Dec 7).

Haller became only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017-18 to score in each game of the six-match group phase as he tucked away an eighth-minute penalty to take his tally in this year’s competition to 10.

Sporting equalised through Nuno Santos in the 22nd minute but Brazilian Antony restored the Dutch side’s lead just before halftime after a horror defensive error by the visitors.

David Neres extended Ajax’s advantage after 58 minutes and four minutes later Steven Berghuis added the fourth, but Sporting got a 78th minute consolation with Bruno Tabata’s thunderous side-footed shot off the underside of the crossbar.

Ajax topped Group C with a maximum 18 points while the Portuguese champions, who had already been confirmed runners-up, finished with nine, using the last group match to give several young players a first run-out in European competition.

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