Champions League. Real Madrid and Manchester City in the round of 16
Group H: Paris is happy with it, Mbappé scrutinized
The qualification will wait… If the PSG hoped to conclude the deal from the fourth of the six days, the eye-catching opposition of Benfica and the turmoil behind the scenes around Mbappé, scorer on penalty, incite to be satisfied with this draw – the third consecutive in all competitions. Paris remains joint leader of the group (8 pts) with Benfica, ahead of Juventus Turin (3 pts), which sank 2-0 against Maccabi Haifa (3 pts) and sees its chances of qualifying dwindling.
At the Parc des Princes, without Lionel Messi (hit in a calf), all eyes were on Mbappé, hero of a bad psychodrama like PSG has the secret. Several media, in Spain and France, spoke on Tuesday afternoon of the striker’s desires elsewhere. To the point that the leaders were forced to firmly deny any departure.
Before and during the match, Mbappé’s supposed displeasure never showed. And it was he who opened the scoring on a penalty obtained by Juan Bernat (40th), becoming the Parisian club’s top scorer in the Champions League (31 goals).
The 2018 world champion nevertheless missed the break in the second half (52nd). This allowed Benfica to come back, again from a penalty. Joao Mario transformed into strength (61st) and the two teams separated on a new draw which brings them closer to the objective, the round of 16, four days before the classic Ligue 1 between PSG and OM.
Group G: Manchester City slowed down but in 8th
Even without Erling Haaland as a substitute, Manchester City secured the essentials with a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen that qualified Pep Guardiola’s side for the round of 16, thanks to a 1-1 draw from Dortmund and Sevilla in the another game, with a goal from Frenchman Tanguy Kouassi.
The Citizens should have made things easier in Copenhagen but Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty (24th) and defender Sergio Gomez was sent off (30th). At least Manchester City (10 pts) qualified two days from the end. And Pep Guardiola will have a rested Haaland for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Liverpool.
Group F: Real Madrid qualified in the snatch
A last-minute, self-sacrificing goal from Antonio Rüdiger earned Real Madrid a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk and a place in the knockout stages.
A draw was enough for the defending champion to secure his ticket, but Carlo Ancelotti’s team waited for the final seconds and Rüdiger’s header, his face bleeding after a shock to the head on this action, to obtain the division of the points with the Ukrainians in Warsaw.
Real, well ahead of the group (10 pts), is ahead of RB Leipzig (6 pts), scorer 1-0 from Celtic in Glasgow on a goal from Timo Werner (75th), and Shakhtar (5 pts). A good thing done for the people of Madrid before the La Liga clasico on Sunday against FC Barcelona.
Group E: Chelsea sinks Milan and takes the lead
And here’s Chelsea again! Starting badly after an inaugural defeat in Zagreb, the Blues completely reversed the situation by taking first place in their pool on Tuesday with a 2-0 success at AC Milan, confirming their victory last week against the Rossoneri (3-0).
It’s a great reward for the new Chelsea coach, Graham Potter, who managed to turn the London team around in record time.
The Blues were well helped in Milan by the early exclusion of defender Fikayo Tomori (18th), who offered a penalty to Chelsea, converted by Jorginho (21st), before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the lead (34th) and knocks out AC Milan (4 pts), who will have to whip to overtake Salzburg (6 pts), held back in Zagreb (1-1).