Champions League round-up: Napoli keep their hopes alive

Italians comfortably beat Shakhtar Donetsk while Real Madrid hammered Apoel Nicosia

Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne celebrates his goal in their Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk. Photo: Andreas Solaro/Getty Images

Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne celebrates his goal in their Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk. Photo: Andreas Solaro/Getty Images

 

Napoli 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 0

Napoli kept their hopes of Champions League progress alive with a 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in Group F.

A brilliant strike from Lorenzo Insigne opened the Serie A leaders’ scoring in the 56th minute, the Italy international jinking in from the left and then firing a right-foot drive into the top corner from 25 yards out.

Napoli’s Polish midfielder Piotr Zielinski missed a chance to double their lead when he shot over the bar after a defensive mix-up left him in a promising position.

But minutes later Zielinksi made amends, confidently slotting into the far bottom corner after a smart exchange with Dries Mertens.

Seven minutes from the end, Mertens made sure of the win when Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov palmed out a Raul Albiol header straight to the Belgian forward who nodded home.

It left Napoli third on six points, three behind Shakhtar Donetsk, before the final round of games which sees Napoli away at Feyenoord and the Ukrainians at home to group winners Manchester City.

Monaco 1 RB Leipzig 4

Last year’s semi-finalists Monaco crashed out of the competition in the group stages when they were beaten at home 4-1 by Leipzig.

The principality side never recovered from going 3-0 down in the first half an hour following a Fabinho own goal and two goals by Timo Werner.

Radamel Falcao reduced the arrears, only for Naby Keita to put the visitors 4-1 up on the stroke of halftime.

The result left Monaco bottom of Group G on two points from five games, with Leipzig on seven, level with second-placed Porto.

Besiktas top the Group with 11 points after their 1-1 home draw with Porto.

The defeat means Monaco will not even play in the Europa League this season.

Apoel Nicosia 0 Real Madrid 6

Cristiano Ronaldo set another Champions League record as holders Real Madrid sealed their place in the knockout stages with a comprehensive victory against Apoel Nicosia in Group H.

Zinedine Zidane’s team had the match won by half-time with goals from Luka Modric, Fernandez Nacho and a Karim Benzema double. Cristiano Ronaldo got his customary goals early in the second half as his two strikes saw him reach 18 goals in the competition in 2017 — more than any single player in a calendar year.

However Madrid, who have lifted the trophy in each of the past two years, will only qualify as runners-up in in the group after Tottenham came from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Germany to ensure top spot.

The final match day next month will see the Europa League qualification spot contested between Apoel and Dortmund, who both have two points from their five matches. Apoel will travel to Tottenham while Dortmund face Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Spartak Moscow 1 Maribor 1

Maribor snatched a dramatic 1-1 draw away to Spartak Moscow with a stoppage-time goal from substitute Jasmin Mesanovic in their Group E clash.

The Russians looked all set to move level on points with leaders Liverpool, who play in Seville later on Tuesday evening, to boost hopes of qualification for the knockout stage after Mendes Ze Luis finally broke the deadlock with just eight minutes left.

However, the Slovenian side — who had shipped 10 goals over their two matches against the Reds — produced a grandstand finish when Mesanovic tapped in a cross from Marcos Tavares, but a hard-earned point was not enough to prevent them from finishing bottom.

Besiktas 1 Porto 1

Group G leaders Besiktas secured their place in the last 16 with a 1-1 draw at home against Porto.

Porto — who started the night in second place, four points behind the Turks — had taken the lead on 29 minutes. A free-kick on the right was fed out on the overlap to Nicolao Alex Telles, who crossed for Felipe to sweep the ball into the roof of the net.

Besiktas, though, equalised four minutes ahead of half-time when Cenk Tosun created space down the left channel with a clever flick before cutting the ball back across goal for Talisca to slot in from six yards.

Porto had a chance to go ahead again on the hour when Ricardo latched onto a loose ball in the penalty area, but the full-back curled the ball wide with the outside of his boot.

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