Champions League round-up: Atletico Madrid maintain slim qualifying chances
Meanwhile, Barcelona held out against Juventus while Bayern Munich dismissed Anderlecht
Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann scores their first goal in a 2-0 win over Roma. Photo: Sergio Perez/Reuters
Atletico Madrid 2 Roma 0
Antoine Griezmann’s spectacular scissors-kick helped earn Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win over Roma to keep alive their slim hopes of qualifying for the Champions League last 16.
The striker scored his first goal in nine games in the 69th minute before setting up Kevin Gameiro for the second in the closing stages to silence his critics.
Diego Simeone rotated his side, appearing almost to give up on qualification, but the 2014 and 2016 finalists stayed true to their motto, ‘Never stop believing’, to earn their first win of the competition and take things down to the final match of the group phase on December 5th.
Atletico are two points behind Roma and must beat group leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and hope Qarabag score an against-the-odds win in Italy if they are to qualify.
Juventus 0 Barcelona 0
Barcelona allowed themselves the luxury of starting with Lionel Messi on the bench and still held out comfortably for a 0-0 draw at Juventus to reach the last 16.
Barcelona, who brought on Messi early in the second half, enjoyed long spells of possession against a lacklustre Juve in a dull Group D match which saw both teams apparently happy to play for a draw.
Juventus, who are second, will qualify for the last 16 unless they lose at Olympiakos in their final game and Sporting beat Barcelona away.
Sporting kept alive their hopes by beating Olympiakos 3-1 in Lisbon in the other game with Bas Dort scoring twice. Barcelona, 3-0 winners over Juve in their previous meeting in the group, have 11 points followed by Juve on eight, Sporting on seven and eliminated Olympiakos on one.
Sporting Lisbon 3 Olympiacos 1
Sporting kept alive their own hopes by beating Olympiakos 3-1 in Lisbon with Bas Dost scoring twice. Bruno Cesar was also on target for Sporting and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe scored a late consolation for the Greeks who were eliminated.
Anderlecht 1 Bayern Munich 2
Robert Lewandowski and Corentin Tolisso scored to earn already-qualified Bayern Munich a scrappy 2-1 win at Anderlecht, stretching their winning streak under coach Jupp Heynckes to nine matches in all competitions.
Lewandowski put the visitors ahead six minutes after halftime but Sofiane Hanni’s volley on the hour gave the Belgians, who had missed a bagful of golden chances in the first half, their first Champions League goal of the season.
France’s Tolisso, however, rose high to head in a Joshua Kimmich cross in the 77th minute and leave Anderlecht bottom of the group and without a point from five matches.
Bayern are on 12 points, three adrift of Paris St Germain, who were 7-1 winners against Celtic and are the Germans’ final group opponents next month.
Heynckes, who led Bayern to a treble in 2013, took over last month following the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti and quickly turned their season around.
CSKA Moscow 2 Benfica 0
CSKA Moscow earned their first home win of the campaign with a 2-0 victory over Benfica that strengthens their push to reach the knockout stages while shattering the Portuguese side’s chances.
Georgi Schennikov put CSKA ahead after 13 minutes with a left-footed finish, having been assisted by Bibras Natcho’s short through ball that shredded Benfica’s backline.
The visitors’ troubles worsened after the interval as defender Jardel then clumsily deflected a cross by CSKA’s Vitinho into the back of his own net after 56 minutes.
However, despite CSKA’s win they sit in third place, behind Basel on goal difference, after the Swiss beat Manchester United.
Yet the result ensured that former European champions Benfica, still without a point, are now certain to finish last.