Decent Champions League progress for Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester, but Tottenham are out.
However, only Leicester have come top of their group and that could prove costly given the likelihood of a more difficult draw for second placed sides at the knock-out stage.
Manchester City qualify for Champions League last-16 with draw in Germany
Strange old game between Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City. City were allowed loads of possession as Monchengladbach looked to hit on the break and in the first half the German side’s game plan was working the better.
City though just needed a point to qualify behind Barcelona, secured it, but were never truly convincing. Monchengladbach, struggling in the Bundesliga, struggling for goals too, low on form, low on confidence … if you hadn’t known you would never have guessed.
Barely bothering to press City, the first occasion in which they did so produced a goal.
John Stones was found wanting and Raffael, set up by the captain Stindl, drove it past Claudio Bravo. There could have been more as Bravo had to redeem himself after a dreadful throw out, but gradually City began to threaten and equalised with almost the last kick of the first half.
Gundogan threaded through to de Bruyne who crossed for Silva to stretch and guide it in. A nicely created strike. Then the contest got very odd indeed. First a Raheem Sterling tap-in was chalked off for offside, then Stindl got himself sent off for a second yellow card.
City were now totally dominant – surely they would finish this off?
“We’re through, and that’s the most important thing.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 23, 2016
But Fernandhino went for an early bath after holding back an opponent, and suddenly it was ten against ten. And so it ended 1-1 when it could have been almost anything.
Arsenal survive PSG assault after Cavani blows golden chances
Against Paris St Germain, Arsenal started slowly too. Sloppy, lax at times, the Gunners allowed PSG to go into the lead as Edinson Cavani just managed to get his studs on a driven cross.
But he missed another couple and at last the home side woke up. A great Ozil reverse pass resulted in the visitors giving away a penalty as Sanchez was clipped and Olivier Giroud made sure from the spot.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 24, 2016
PSG excellent, Arsenal dire … but 1-1 at half time. Isn’t football cruel? By late in the second period it was 2-2, a farcical own goal by Verratti and then a scruffy combination of a Lucas Moura header deflected in by Alex Iwobi on the line.
Finished all square but with PSG set for that all important top place.
Spurs crash out of the Champions League after Monaco loss
Tottenham Hotspur went out of the Champions League with still a game to go – a poor campaign by the White Hart Lane side. They crashed 2-1 away to Monaco but in truth didn’t deserve a result.
In a very open game Spurs had their chances but it wasn’t to be. Tottenham’s defence, so assured in the Premier League, has been shaky and porous in Europe.
MAURICIO: “Now we need our heads up and try to lift ourselves. We need to be strong and we need to show character.” pic.twitter.com/2kOBfAV13N
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 22, 2016
And crucial players like Christian Eriksen are in a poor run of form. Without major miracles from Hugo Lloris in goal the margin could have been even more. Lots of presentable chances for both sides in the first half – hard to understand how the 45 minutes finished goalless.
Plenty of running the channels and getting in tempting crosses crying out to be converted.
Best opportunity for the home side was a penalty after a clumsy attempt to hack the ball away by Eric Dier who was booked for his troubles. However Falcao didn’t hit his shot with any conviction and Lloris guessed correctly.
For the visitors it was Son Heung-min one on one with the goalkeeper after beating the offside trap and being gloriously put through by Dele Alli. However, trying to round Subesic, he got pushed wide, and the chance came to nothing.
Instead, it all kicked off in the second period. Monaco scored quickly through a power header from Sidibe.
Tottenham were immediately gifted an equaliser as Glik pulled down Alli. Harry Kane put it away – just. Subesic got both hands to it but the power beat him.
Then from the kick-off Monaco got the tie winner as Thomas Lemar, given space and time, hit a special diagonal past Lloris. Best player on the pitch was Monaco’s fullback Mendy who constantly tormented his opponents.
Monaco go through in first place in the group.
Leicester City continue Champions League dream with win over Brugge
Leicester City have done a smash and grab on their group and so it continued. They won Group G after a 2-1 victory over Club Brugge, with a game to spare. Okazaki beautifully swept home early doors and then Mahrez scored from the spot after Albrighton was cut down in the box.
Tremendous play by Leicester – on the fringe of the relegation zone in the Premier League but loving every moment of their Champions League experience. Club Brugge got one back with a fantastic effort from Izquierdo.
— Andy King (@10_kingy) November 22, 2016
Takes the ball on the half-way line, sprints clear of Fuchs, arrives in the penalty area and then hits a screamer into the top corner, beating the keeper at his near post.
The Foxes’ dream lives on.
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