Champions League: Salah, Liverpool oust Milan; Atleti win, Messi brace


Atletico Madrid snapped up one of the few remaining spaces in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds on Tuesday, which otherwise saw plenty of business as usual.

Liverpool defied AC Milan’s hopes to reach the knockout rounds, while Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, and Real Madrid all won their matches.

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Sheriff Tiraspol, Borussia Dortmund, Porto and RB Leipzig are all through, Leipzig scoring a minor upset with a win over 10-man and already-through Manchester City in Germany.

The final day of the UCL group stage is Wednesday, when four of Barcelona, Benfica, Villarreal, Atalanta, Lille, Red Bull Salzburg, Sevilla, and Wolfsburg will seal their spots alongside Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Ajax, Sporting Lisbon, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Juventus.

AC Milan 1-2 Liverpool

Desperation wasn’t enough to tip the scale for the Italian hosts, and AC Milan is out of European competition.

The Milanese side went up 1-0 but conceded twice to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who finish the group stage a perfect 6-0 after the win.

Ex-Chelsea man Fikayo Tomori put Milan in front but in-form Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi struck either side of halftime to boost the Reds in front.

The loss coupled with Porto’s loss to Atletico Madrid, means that AC Milan will miss out on the Europa League, not a huge loss if the increased focus on Serie A helps push it forward toward a title.

Porto 1-3 Atletico Madrid

Both sides finished with 10 men as Yannick Carrasco saw straight red in the 67th minute with Atleti up 1-0, and Wendell met him with a straight red of his own in the 70th.

Antoine Griezmann had put Atleti ahead and he assisted Angel Correa’s 90th-minute goal to double the advantage. Rodrigo de Paul put the match to bed two minutes later before Sergio Oliveira bagged a 96th minute consolation penalty.

So those hoping for a final 16 without Diego Simeone’s fierce men will be sorely disappointed, but at least it will be at least a round before we have to see Liverpool vs Atleti again!

Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 Club Brugge

Kylian Mbappe scored twice in the first seven minutes and assisted Lionel Messi before halftime, Messi converted a late penalty as PSG cruised to victory.

That’s not to say Club Brugge didn’t put forth an effort, taking 15 shots to PSG’s 17 and holding 40 percent of the ball, but PSG had this done and dusted fairly early.

The front three of Messi, Mbappe, and Angel Di Maria combined for nine key passes in the win. They are good at this sport.

We’re going to guess the scouting report on Messi isn’t, “Let him drive toward the arc with his left foot a very good and open option for him.”


Ajax 4-2 Sporting Lisbon

Both teams were already through but Ajax completed a perfect group stage in style as Sebastien Haller, Antony, David Neres, and Steven Berghuis all scored in the win, with Nuno Santos and Bruno Tabala netting for the visitors.

Borussia Dortmund 5-0 Besiktas

BVB led 1-0 through Donyell Malen when Welington was sent off for the visitors. Marco Reus and Erling Haaland then had braces the rest of the way, Haaland’s coming in a 22-minute substitute appearance, as BVB enters the Europa League with something positive.

Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Sheriff Tiraspol

A nice path to the UEL for Sheriff, who went down 1-0 through Fernando — not that one — but scored in stoppage time as Boban Nikolov helped grease the pathway to their next tournament.

Real Madrid 2-0 Inter Milan

A rare Toni Kroos goal but Real ahead and Nicolo Barella took a straight red card in the 64th minute before Real put a flourish on its group win through Marco Asensio’s 79th-minute goal.