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UCL Wednesday preview: Four spots up for grabs, Liverpool still in mix

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We’re almost at the point of the UEFA Champions League season where things really start to get interesting, but first, four final teams must work their way into the knockout stage field.

[ MORE: Will Chelsea’s slip up on Tuesday prove costly in the Round of 16? ]

Manchester United, Roma, Basel and Juventus all booked their places in the next round on Tuesday, while Bayern Munich closed out group play in style with a convincing win over Paris Saint-Germain.

On Wednesday, positions are open in Groups E through G, including two spots in E, which currently has Liverpool, Sevilla and Spartak Moscow vying for a place in the Round of 16.

In Group F, Manchester City has already eased its way into the knockout phase with a perfect record thus far, leaving Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli left to fight for one spot in the UCL and the other transferring over to the Europa League.

Finally, Porto and Red Bull Leipzig each have a shot at the next round as they enter the final day of competition. Leipzig will face group winners Besiktas, while Porto takes on defending Ligue 1 champions Monaco, who have already been eliminated from advancing.

Here’s a look at the teams that have already qualified for the knockout phase.

Group A: Man United, Basel

Group B: PSG, Bayern Munich

Group C: Roma, Chelsea

Group D: Barcelona, Juventus

Group E: Two spots open

Group F: Man City, one spot open

Group G: Besiktas, one spot open

Group H: Tottenham, Real Madrid

UCL roundup: PSG falls to Bayern, but wins group; Two PL sides advance

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Only four spots remain open ahead of the Round of 16, following Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League action.

Manchester United, Roma, Basel and Juventus each booked their place in the knockout phase of this season’s UCL competition, after all four clubs picked up victories on the day.

[ MORE: Russia FA chief Mutko banned for life by IOC ]

The Red Devils managed to finish atop Group A after completing a 2-1 comeback over CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho’s men went behind on the stroke of halftime, but responded after the break through Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku finishes.

Fellow Premier League side Chelsea had already booked its place in the Round of 16 prior to Tuesday’s match, however, the team’s draw against Atletico Madrid was only good enough for Antonio Conte and Co. to finish runners’ up in Group C.

Elsewhere, PSG dropped its second consecutive match in all competitions, falling to Bayern Munich in Germany, 3-1. However, the result wasn’t enough for the Parisians to surrender their top spot in Group B. Both sides have advanced to the knockout round, and could potentially be paired against one another in the Round of 16.


Group A

Manchester United 2-1 CSKA Moscow
Benfica 0-2 Basel

Table

1. Man United — 15 pts (Advanced)
2. Basel — 12 pts (Advanced)
3. CSKA — 9 pts (Europa League transfer)
4. Benfica — 0 pts


Group B

Bayern Munich 3-1 PSG
Celtic 0-1 Anderlecht

Table

1. PSG — 15 pts (Advanced)
2. Bayern — 15 pts (Advanced)
3. Celtic — 3 pts (Europa League transfer)
4. Anderlecht — 3 pts


Group C

Chelsea 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Roma 1-0 Qarabag

Table

1. Roma — 11 pts (Advanced)
2. Chelsea — 11 pts (Advanced)
3. Atletico Madrid — 7 pts (Europa League transfer)
4. Qarabag — 2 pts


Group D

Barcelona 2-0 Sporting CP
Olympiacos 0-2 Juventus

Table

1. Barcelona — 14 pts (Advanced)
2. Juventus — 11 pts (Advanced)
3. Sporting CP — 7 pts (Europa League transfer)
4. Olympiacos — 1 pt

Chelsea 1-1 Atleti: Blues finish runners’ up in Group C

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Chelsea guided itself into the UEFA Champions League knockout phase on Tuesday after picking up a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Russia FA Chief Mutko receives life ban from IOC ]

The result sees Antonio Conte‘s group finish atop Group C, while Atleti bail out of the competition after finishing the group stage with seven points.

The Blues’ pressure proved to be too much for Atleti to handle though, with the London side breaking through in the 74th minute via an own goal by Stefan Savic.

It was Eden Hazard‘s darting run into the Atleti penalty area and left-footed blast that put Savic in an inopportune position, before he guided the ball into his own net.

Atletico needed a victory to push its way through to the last 16, however, the draw sees the Spanish side into the UEFA Europa League knockout phase.

Diego Simeone’s nabbed a goal in the 56th minute after Fernando Torres‘ headed flick gave Saul a wide open look at the net.

Antoine Griezmann had nearly opened the scoring for Atletico just moments in the second stanza, when the French international tested Thibaut Courtois from a free kick.

Atleti keeper Jan Oblak was surely counting his blessings throughout the first half, as Alvaro Morata and Co. gave the Spanish back line fits in the attacking third.

Oblak made a brilliant lunging stop to prevent Davide Zappacosta from finding the bottom corner in the 37th minute, after Cesc Fabregas set up the sequence for Chelsea.

The Blues had their first big chance in the 17th minute, when Morata cleverly spun at the top of the box before unleashing a curling effort that narrowly missed the right corner.

Man United 2-1 CSKA: Red Devils storm back in second half

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Manchester United secured its place in the Round of 16 in this season’s UEFA Champions League after picking up a 2-1 win over CKSA Moscow on Tuesday at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho’s side will be joined in the knockout phase by runners’ up in Group A — FC Basel.

Meanwhile, CSKA will transfer over to the Europa League, after finishing third in the UCL group stage.

[ MORE: Russia FA chief Mutko banned for life by IOC ]

The Red Devils responded admirably after the hour mark to ensure they’d go through to the last 16, when striker Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford put the hosts in front.

Alan Dzagoev gave the visitors the lead just before halftime, despite United’s protests over the player being in an offside position.

The referee played on in the situation due to the fact that when Daley Blind slid off the field in an attempt to block the cross, the United player was technically still behind the ball, as you can see in the video below.

Rashford nearly broke the deadlock after four minutes when the speedy attacker struck the post, after being set up by Lukaku.

Ukraine police detain 52 for Champions League fan violence

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KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) Ukrainian police say they have detained 52 people for fan violence ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League game between Shakhtar Donetsk and Dutch club Feyenoord.

[ MORE: Phil Neville believes Matic’s absence has cost Chelsea ]

Police say they arrived at a bar in the city of Kharkiv where “a conflict had occurred between Dutch and Ukrainian fans” and took 52 people to a police station for questioning.

Police say windows were broken and the interior of the bar was damaged.

Ukraine is hosting this season’s Champions League final but has a record of soccer-related violence. Hundreds of Ukrainian and Turkish fans clashed in Kiev around a game last year.