Atletico and Dortmund in control, Juve out of jail

Two goals in five minutes from Son Heung-Min secured three points for Leverkusen

Heung-Min Son of Bayer Leverkusen celebrates after scoring his second against Zenit St. Petersburg   at the Petrovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg. Photograph: Federico Gambarini / EPA

Heung-Min Son of Bayer Leverkusen celebrates after scoring his second against Zenit St. Petersburg at the Petrovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg. Photograph: Federico Gambarini / EPA

 

GROUP A

Atletico Madrid’s Koke and Raul Garcia secured a 2-0 victory at Malmo in their Champions League Group A clash on Tuesday after the Swedes spurned several chances.

Koke broke the deadlock for last season’s runners-up on the half-hour, sweeping Juanfran’s low cross from the right into the net with the inside of his heel after a swift counter-attack.

The Swedish champions created plenty of openings as they poured forward in search of an equaliser, with Markus Rosenberg hitting the post, but Raul Garcia killed the game in the 78th minute, firing home Filip Helander’s botched clearance.

Atletico lead the standings with nine pints from four games followed by Olympiakos Piraeus and Juventus on six points after the Italians beat the visiting Greek side 3-2 on Tuesday. Malmo’s defeat leaves them bottom with three points.

Juventus scored twice in a minute as they came from behind to clinch a dramatic 3-2 win.

Andrea Pirlo had celebrated his 100th Champions League appearance by scoring from a trademark free kick to open the scoring, but Alberto Botia equalised three minutes later.

Juve were in real trouble when Delvin N’Dinga gave the Greek champions a 2-1 lead in the 61st minute. But the Serie A champions levelled when Fernando Llorente’s header hit the post and went in off Roberto’s foot in the 65th minute.

Paul Pogba struck the winner one minute later.

Arturo Vidal missed a chance for a fourth when his stoppage time penalty was saved by Roberto.

GROUP B

Holders Real Madrid secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare when a Karim Benzema strike secured a 1-0 win in their Group B match at home to a toothless Liverpool on Tuesday. Benzema clipped a Marcelo cross high into the net from close range in the 27th minute to maintain Real’s perfect record in the pool with 12 points from four games. It was the record 10-times European champions’ 12th win in a row in all competitions and followed their 3-0 success against Liverpool at Anfield last month. A major surprise was the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo failed to get on the scoresheet and he remains one goal short of the Champions League scoring record of 71 set by former Real and Schalke 04 forward Raul.

Basel are well placed to join Real in the knockout round after they beat Ludogorets 4-0 and have six points, with Liverpool and the Bulgarian champions on three each.

GROUP C

Bayer Leverkusen took a large step towards qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages with a 2-1 victory against Zenit St Petersburg in Russia.

Two goals in five minutes by Son Heung-Min midway though the second half secured all three points for the Bundesliga side, before Jose Rondon grabbed a late consolation for the hosts.

Leverkusen have now won their last three games in European football’s premier club competition, while Zenit have not won a Champions League group stage match at home in over two years.

The Bundesliga side top the group with nine points from four games, four ahead of second place Monaco, who were beaten 1-0 by Benfica, thanks to Conceicao Anderson Talisca’s goal in the eight minutes from time. The Portugues side moved level with Zenit on four points.

GROUP D

Borussia Dortmund shrugged off their dismal domestic form to sweep past Galatasaray 4-1 on Tuesday and cruise into the last 16 of the Champions League with two matches to spare.

Germany international Marco Reus, on the transfer wish-list of several leading European clubs, slotted in the first goal after 39 minutes. Central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who also hit the woodwork, and Ciro Immobile netted in the second half before Semih Kaya added an own goal with four minutes left as Dortmund made it four wins from four games in Group D.

Galatasaray pulled one back through Hakan Balta’s header in the 70th minute. Dortmund, who have plunged into the relegation zone in the Bundesliga, have 12 points in Group D, five ahead of Arsenal who drew 3-3 with Anderlecht (two points) on Tuesday. Galatasaray are bottom on one point.

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