Wed, 27 Jan 2021

Robert Lewandowski (Top, R) of Bayern Munich goes for a header during a UEFA Champions League match against FC Salzburg of Austria in Munich, Germany, on Nov. 25, 2020. (Photo by Philippe Ruiz/Xinhua)

BEIJING, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus all secured their places in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages with two group matches to spare, but Liverpool must wait to confirm their progression after a surprise defeat at home to Atalanta.

Reigning champions Bayern Munich qualified with relative ease after a 3-1 win at home to FC Salzburg in Group A. Robert Lewandowski's 71st Champions League goal set the German side on their way, with Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane putting the result beyond doubt, and Mergim Berisha scoring a late consolation goal for Salzburg.

Bayern will progress to the last 16 as group winners, as second-placed Atletico Madrid were held to a frustrating goalless draw at home to Lokomotiv Moscow in Group A's other fixture.

Fellow German side Borussia Monchengladbach remain top of Group B after a convincing 4-0 defeat of Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk. Lars Stindl's penalty set the ball rolling for Gladbach, and further strikes from Nico Elvedi, Breel Embolo and Oscar Wendt secured all three points for the home side.

Inter Milan's Stefano Sensi (R) and Lucas Vasquez of Real Madrid in action during their UEFA Champions League Group B match in Milan, Italy, Nov. 25, 2020. (Photo by Daniele Mascolo/Xinhua)

In Group B's other game, Real Madrid continued their recovery from a poor start to the competition with a 2-0 away win over a troubled Inter Milan.

Eden Hazard opened the scoring with an early penalty, and Inter's task was made harder when Arturo Vidal was sent off on 33 minutes after two yellow cards.

Real made sure of the points on the hour mark when Rodrygo's cross was turned into his own net by Inter's Achraf Hakimi. The Spanish side now sit second in Group B, with Inter still bottom, without a win and in real danger of failing to progress to the knockout stages.

Manchester City's progression from Group C was secured with their fourth win in as many matches, as Phil Foden's first-half goal was enough to see the Premier League side edge Greek champions Olympiakos 1-0 in Piraeus.

Porto look likely to join City in the round of 16, after the Portuguese side beat France's Marseille 2-0 in the group's other match. Zaidu Sanusi and Sergio Oliveira were among the goals in a bad-tempered contest in which both sides had a man sent off.

Group D saw a major shock as group leaders Liverpool lost 2-0 at home to Italian side Atalanta. Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens both scored in a five-minute spell in the second half to condemn the Premier League champions to their first defeat in this season's Champions League.

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum (L) duels with Matteo Pessina of Atalanta in their UEFA Champions League Group D match at Anfield, Nov. 25, 2020. (Xinhua)

Elsewhere in the group, Dutch outfit Ajax made short work of FC Midtjylland, dispatching the Danish side 3-1 thanks to goals from Ryan Gravenberch, Noussair Mazraoui and David Neres, with Midtjylland's Awer Mabil scoring a late consolation penalty.

In Group E, both Chelsea and Sevilla secured their places in the knockout stages after winning their respective matches. Olivier Giroud's thumping header in stoppage time helped the English side edge Rennes 2-1 in France, after Serhou Girassy had canceled out Callum Hudson-Odoi's opener for Chelsea.

Sevilla also left it late to defeat Russian side Krasnodar away from home. Ivan Rakitic put the Spanish side ahead after just four minutes with a long-range effort, and though Wanderson equalized for the hosts early in the second half, a stoppage-time winner from Munir ensured Sevilla of the win.

Borussia Dortmund continued their impressive form in Group F with their second 3-0 win over Club Brugge in as many matches. Erling Haaland burnished his growing reputation with two goals, and Jadon Sancho's sublime free-kick completed the scoring.

Ciro Immobile's brace helped Lazio to a 3-1 win at home to Zenit St Petersburg in Group F's other game. Marco Parolo was also on target for the Italian side, with Artem Dzyuba scoring Zenit's only goal.

In Group G, Barcelona put their domestic woes behind them with a convincing 4-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv to seal their place in the knockout stages.

After a goalless first half, Sergino Dest's first goal for Barca opened the floodgates, with a brace from Martin Braithwaite and a late effort from Antoine Griezmann also finding the net.

Juventus also ensured themselves of a place in the last 16, though they were made to work for their 2-1 victory over Ferencvaros, with the Hungarian side taking a surprise lead through Myrto Uzuni.

Cristiano Ronaldo's thumping strike restored parity soon afterwards, but it took until stoppage time for the Bianconeri to find a winner, as Alvaro Morata headed home through Denes Dibusz's legs.

Manchester United beat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1 in Group H, exacting a measure of revenge on the Turkish side after Basaksehir had defeated them on the previous matchday.

Bruno Fernandes' double and a penalty from Marcus Rashford ensured United were in control by half-time, and though Deniz Turuc pulled one back for Basaksehir, Daniel James restored United's three-goal cushion in the final minute.

Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain retook second place in Group H after Neymar's early penalty was enough to see them beat RB Leipzig 1-0 at the Parc des Princes. ■

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