An Alberto Gilardino goal was enough as Fiorentina qualified for the UEFA Cup on the final matchday of the UEFA Champions League while, Juventus won their group despite a penalty miss and a goalless draw.
STEAUA BUCHAREST 0-1 FIORENTINA
Alberto Gilardino sealed Fiorentina's place in the UEFA Cup after nodding in the only goal of a narrow 1-0 victory at Steaua Bucharest on Matchday 6 of the Champions League. With Lyon and Bayern Munich having already sewn up the qualifying places from Group F, Fiorentina had needed a draw in Bucharest to go through to the UEFA Cup's Round of 32. Gilardino's 66th-minute header rubber-stamped their ticket and earned the Viola their first win of the campaign, while ending the European season of a Steaua team stuck on one point in the group.
Bayern Munich withstood a barrage of second-half pressure from Lyon to seal an outstanding 3-2 win on French soil and clinch first place in Group F. Two first-half goals from Miroslav Klose and another from Franck Ribery had the German champions firmly in the ascendancy at half-time, yet Lyon came back strongly in the second period. Sidney Govou and Karim Benzema both struck to herald a tantalising finale, only for a string of superb saves from goalkeeper Michael Rensing to keep the hosts at bay.
JUVENTUS 0-0 BATE BORISOV
Juventus could afford a second-half penalty miss from Sebastian Giovinco as they drew 0-0 at home against BATE Borisov to progress to the first knockout round as the winners of Group H. Starting instead of Alessandro Del Piero, the 21-year-old blazed Juve's best chance over the bar with seven minutes of the second half played. Marco Marchionni also went close, hitting the post, as La Vecchia Signora dictated proceedings to maintain their unbeaten record in the competition this season.
In the other game, Raul Gonzalez turned in a starring performance, scoring two goals and teeing up Arjen Robben for a third as Juande Ramos got his Real Madrid reign off to an impressive start at home to Zenit St. Petersburg, who qualified for the UEFA Cup. The nine-time winners finish the section level on 12 points with Juve, but finish runners-up after losing to the Turin giants home and away.
WEDNESDAY'S OTHER MATCHES
Aalborg bowed out of the Champions League on a high note after giving holders Manchester United a scare in a 2-2 draw. It took a second-half Wayne Rooney strike to preserve United's long unbeaten home record in Europe after the visitors responded to an early Carlos Tevez effort by stunning Old Trafford with goals from Michael Jakobsen and Jeppe Curth. The result against UEFA Cup-bound Danes means the champions finish top of Group E.
Celtic finished a disappointing campaign on a high note as first-half strikes from Shaun Maloney and Aiden McGeady earned victory against ten-man Villarreal, denying the Spanish side first place in the process.
FC Porto continued their impressive unbeaten home record against English clubs with a decisive win against a youthful Arsenal side to claim first place in Group G. With victory needed for Porto to overhaul their opponents at the top of the table, Bruno Alves headed the home team in front from a corner just before half-time. Lisandro effectively wrapped up the points early in the second period, racing clear of the Arsenal defence before supplying an emphatic finish. The visitors had their chances but had to settle for second in the section.
Dynamo Kiev confirmed their place in the UEFA Cup with a 1-0 win against Fenerbahce, whose disappointing European campaign came to a shuddering halt. Roman Eremenko scored the only goal of a game billed as a play-off for the UEFA Cup spot on 20 minutes to earn Dynamo their first home victory in the competition in nine attempts and with it third position in Group G.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REVIEW:
[Tuesday 9 Dec] - [Wednesday 10 Dec]