Champions League: Ajax and Liverpool storm into last 16
Ajax Amsterdam came from behind to beat 10-man Borussia Dortmund 3-1 and seal a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Dusan Tadic, Sébastien Haller and Davy Klaassen struck in the last 19 minutes to maintain the Dutch side’s 100% record in group C after captain Marco Reus had scored from the penalty spot to put the homeside who had to play for an hour with 10 men after Mats Hummels was sent off in front.
Ajax moved to 12 points at the top of the standings and booked a place in the last-16 with two matches to play. Dortmund share second spot on six points with Sporting Lisbon, for whom a double from Pedro Gonçalves helped secure a dominant 4-0 home win against Besiktas. An injury-hit Besiktas were steamrollered by Sporting who scored their first three goals in a 10-minute spell late in the first half.
The former Wolves youngster Goncalves put in an outstanding display, firing the hosts into a 2-0 lead while Paulinho scored their third from a counter-attack before half-time. Pablo Sarabia wrapped up the scoring early in the second half.
The Portuguese champions Sporting are third in Group C, level on six points with second-placed Borussia Dortmund.
In Leipzig, Georginio Wijnaldum scored his first two goals for his new club Paris Saint-Germain but an added-time penalty for RB Leipzig rescued a 2-2 draw in their Group A game.
The Dutchman, who had struggled this season after joining from Liverpool, struck in the 21st minute and headed in another goal six minutes before half-time.
Leipzig, eliminated from the competition with just one point from four matches, had taken the lead through Christopher Nkunku in the eighth minute and they missed the chance to double it when André Silva’s 12th-minute penalty was saved. The substitute Dominik Szoboszlai did better from the spot in second-half added time, however, to rescue a point for the German club.
PSG, without the injured Lionel Messi, are in second place on eight points, one behind Manchester City. Club Brugge are on four with Leipzig bottom on one. “We created a lot of opportunities but also gave a few away and that’s why they stayed in the game,” Wijnaldum said. “At times we made it easy for them. If you look at the end of the game we lost the ball too often. We also did not convert our chances. Maybe Leipzig deserved the point. I work hard every day and I’m getting to know my team mates better. Let’s hope I can continue this form.”
Karim Benzema struck twice to lead Real Madrid to an unconvincing 2-1 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk in Champions League Group D.
Real went ahead in the 15th minute when Vinícius Júnior stole the ball from a Shakhtar defender and set up Benzema to score with a powerful shot from inside the box. The Ukrainian side equalised five minutes before half-time with a stunning counterattack finished off by Fernando.
Benzema and Vinícius combined again for the Real winner just after the hour mark, the Brazilian linking up well with Casemiro before teeing up the veteran striker to find the net again.
Proud of my team and i will continue to write the history of my club 🤍 #1000 #halamadridynadamas #Alhamdulilah pic.twitter.com/puPbFtUL4m
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) November 3, 2021
In Tiraspol, a ruthless second-half performance earned Internazionale a comfortable 3-1 win away against Sheriff Tiraspol to send them above the Moldovan debutants into second place in Group D.
Inter eventually broke through when Marcelo Brozovic fired home early in the second half. Milan Skriniar doubled their lead before the substitute Alexis Sánchez powered home a third within a minute of his introduction, and Adama Traoré headed in a stoppage-time consolation for Sheriff.
Inter climbed into second spot on seven points, one ahead of Sheriff in third and six clear of bottom side Shakhtar Donetsk, but two points adrift of the group leaders, Real Madrid.
Milan earned their first Champions League point of the season with a 1-1 draw against Porto in Group B but the result left the seven-times European champions on the brink of elimination.
Luis Díaz struck after six minutes to put the Portuguese side in front and they dominated the first half against an under-par Inter. An own goal from Chancel Mbemba drew Milan level after the break and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a goal ruled out for offside, as the Italians’ wait for a victory goes on. Porto rose to second place behind Liverpool with five points, one better than Atlético Madrid and four ahead of the bottom-placed Milan.