The UEFA Champions League entered Tuesday with six of 16 knockout round places decided, and added a grand total of two more after a wild day of action set up a grandstand final match day.
[ MORE: Champions League standings, box scores ]
Porto and Liverpool are onto the Round of 16 but the bigger story is who didn’t seize a berth and how they went about those failures.
Atletico Madrid, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Atalanta will be licking their wounds ahead of massive matches on Dec. 9.
Lokomotiv Moscow 1-3 RB Salzburg
Jesse Marsch’s men did their job in Russia and now will give the American the most important match of his young managerial career when Salzburg hosts Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid in a must-win match in Austria.
Mergim Berisha scored two first-half goals to give Salzburg a lead it would keep as Karim Adeyemi’s 81st-minute match-sealing goal came two minutes after the hosts pulled within one on an Anton Miranchuk penalty.
What a chance this is for Marsch and also what an ask: Beat a Diego Simeone side that already has a point.
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Bayern Munich
The hosts entered this one with a need to win and the visitors did not, having already won the group and opting to rest several stars with a few other key pieces injured.
Atleti had less of the ball but more than doubled Bayern’s shots (13-6) and led through Joao Felix’s 26th-minute goal.
But Thomas Muller converted an 86th-minute penalty to keep Bayern’s group record an unbeaten one, taking Atleti’s knockout round status to the final matchday and a trip to Austria.
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 Real Madrid — RECAP
Group B is separated by three points from top-to-bottom, as Shakhtar has taken six of its seven points from Real Madrid following Tuesday’s win in Ukraine.
Shakhtar and Real are a point back of Gladbach and two ahead of Inter Milan heading into an insanely-interesting Matchday 6 which will see Gladbach in Madrid and Inter hosting Shakhtar.
Borussia Monchengladbach 2-3 Inter Milan
Oh, how Antonio Conte’s season and perhaps stint at Inter swung on one call.
In-form Romelu Lukaku scored twice in nine second-half minutes to snap a 1-1 draw and give Inter a two-goal lead with 17 minutes to play of a must-win match in Germany.
But Alassane Plea scored two minutes later to make it a brace, and seemingly had the match 3-3 and Inter set for the Europa League at best only to see his 84th-minute equalizer pulled off the board by VAR.
Marco Rose couldn’t believe the goal was taken off the board and left the bench in as heated a protestation as you’ll see. He then proffered wit after the match.
Reporter: What did you say to the referees after the game?
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) December 1, 2020
Marseille 2-1 Olympiacos
Andre Villas-Boas’ men collected a huge win via two Dimitri Payet penalties after Mady Camara had put the Greek visitors ahead before halftime.
The two sides leave the match alive for third place and the Europa League on three points, having beaten each other, though Olympiacos has a valuable away goal.
Marseille finishes at Man City while Olympiacos hosts Porto.
FC Porto 0-0 Manchester City — THREE THINGS LEARNED
Gabriel Jesus had a goal pulled off the board and Porto keeper Agustin Marchesin had a great day between the sticks to keep this one scoreless. City hasn’t allowed a goal in Europe since a 3-1 group-opening defeat of Porto.
Atalanta 1-1 Midtjylland
The Danish visitors will leave the group stage with at least a point, having beaten their hosts in a match the Serie A side really wanted.
Alexander Scholz scored in the 13th minute and Atalanta could only manage a Cristian Romero equalizer to set up a big trip to Holland.
If Atalanta gets a point or better at Amsterdam Arena on Dec. 9, the Bergamo-based side returns to the knockout rounds.
Liverpool 1-0 Ajax — THREE THINGS LEARNED
- REACTION: Kelleher, Williams praised by Klopp for what he claims was one of his best UCL nights at Liverpool
Liverpool played eight regular starters but the difference makers were three kids, as Neco Williams set up a Curtis Jones goal — admittedly buoyed by a rare Andre Onana error — and Caoiminh Kelleher made a number of key saves in place of injured Alisson Becker to give the Reds a seeded spot in the knockout rounds.