Champions League round-up: Chelsea crash out after six goal win
The Champions League reached its group stage conclusion this week, as holders Chelsea settled for a place in the Europa League despite a thumping victory and Celtic reached the last 16 on matchday six with a win over Spartak Moscow.
There was little on offer in Group A, as Paris Saint Germain and Porto had already qualified with a game left to play. The two sides played out an entertaining game, with Paris Saint Germain winning 2-1 and cementing their place at the top of Group A.
Group B followed a similar pattern, as Schalke 04 and Arsenal had already qualified for the knockout phase. An indifferent campaign thus far for Arsenal ended with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Olympiakos, with the prospect of Barcelona in the last 16 a possibility. Montpellier and Schalke 04 played out a 1-1 draw.
In Group C, it was Malaga and AC Milan who progressed to the last 16, at the expense of Zenit St. Petersburg, who managed to claim a 1-0 victory of AC Milan. Malaga drew with Anderlecht 2-2 to finish top of the group.
Group D – the group of death – was again a foregone conclusion heading into the final round of fixtures. Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid had already qualified, with both sides claiming victories against Manchester City and Ajax.
It brought an end to a dismal European display from the champions of England, as they finished on three points and without a single victory.
Holders Chelsea knew they needed a helping hand from Shakhtar Donetsk if they were going to reach the next stage in defending their title. It was not to be. Despite a 6-1 victory over minnows Nordsjaelland, Serie A title holders Juventus were able to see off Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 to confirm their place in the last 16.
Chelsea will now go into the hat for the next round of the Europa League.
Bayern Munich and Valencia cruised into the last 16, as Bayern Munich beat BATE Borisov 4-1, whilst Valencia beat Lille 1-0. Both teams finished on 13 points, with Bayern Munich finishing top on goal difference.
Celtic knew if they bettered Benfica’s result, they would qualify for the last 16 in Group G. They did exactly that, beating Spartak Moscow 2-1 at home, whilst Benfica admirably drew in the Nou Camp 0-0 against Barcelona.
Group H saw Manchester United and Galatasaray qualify, despite CFR Cluj winning at Old Trafford 1-0. Galatasaray’s 2-1 win away to Braga was enough to see them through.
Thomas Bradley, Football correspondent