Tuesday, 25 November 2008

CL - MD5: Tuesday Review

Fiorentina 1-2 LyonFiorentina are out of the UEFA Champions League following a 2-1 home defeat to Lyon while an already-qualified Juventus were held to a goalless draw at Zenit St Petersburg.

A decisive display from Karim Benzema steered Lyon into the knockout stages, the France striker setting up one goal and scoring the other to help his side to the victory at Fiorentina that ensured a top-two finish in Group F. Lyon needed only a point to reach the last 16 and began in a mode that suggested they wanted to leave no room for error. They had established a two-goal lead by the half-hour mark, Benzema setting up Jean Makoun to score from close range before drilling in the second himself. Alberto Gilardino pulled one back just before the break with a fine header but, having been unable to conjure an equaliser, the hosts are out of the qualifying race and must now turn their attention to the UEFA Cup.

Two second-half goals from Miroslav Klose and another from Luca Toni ensured Bayern Munich marched triumphantly into the knockout stages with an emphatic victory against Steaua Bucharest in the other game. Fiorentina now need at least a draw in Bucharest to secure a spot in the UEFA Cup.

Zenit St Petersburg 0-0 JuventusZENIT ST PETERSBURG 0-0 JUVENTUS
Zenit St Petersburg are out of contention to advance from Group H after a goalless home draw against already-qualified Juventus. The home side dominated possession for long periods yet it was their resolute visitors, already through, who passed up the best opportunities, hitting the woodwork twice in the first half, leaving Zenit winless from their three matches in St Petersburg. Juve still need to secure top spot with a victory over BATE Boriov in the final game.

Raul Gonzalez struck the only goal as Real Madrid joined Juventus in the knockout stages after defeating BATE in the other game. Madrid's success confirms that Zenit will finish third, giving them a chance to retain the UEFA Cup as they enter the Round of 32 next spring.

Villarreal and Manchester United booked their places in the knockout stages after an eventful Group E game provided everything but a goal.

Aalborg came from behind in stirring fashion to defeat Celtic 2-1 and secure both third place and UEFA Cup football at the expense of their visitors. Celtic took a deserved lead when Barry Robson headed in on 53 minutes but were pegged back when Caca equalised with a shot which took a deflection off Stephen McManus 17 minutes from time. The 87th-minute winner also took a final touch off a Celtic player as a Glenn Loovens clearance bounced back into his own net via the legs of Gary Caldwell, guaranteeing the Danes third place and knocking Celtic out of Europe.

Two goals in nine first-half minutes from Lisandro proved enough to take FC Porto through to the knockout phase and end Fenerbahce's hopes. Although the former European champions were under pressure early on, Lisandro showed his nose for goal from close range on 19 and 28 minutes and, though substitute Kazım Kazım pulled one back for Fenerbahce 18 minutes after the break, his side could not score again.

In the other game, Nicklas Bendtner's 87th-minute strike carried Arsenal into the last 16 with a narrow 1-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in Group G.

[Tuesday 25 Nov] - [Wednesday 26 Nov]

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