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Real, Tottenham, Besiktas, Man City Cruise Into Last 16

Five-time champions Liverpool threw away a last-16 spot as Sevilla roared back from three goals down at half-time to draw 3-3
Sevilla players celebrate after securing unlikely comeback against Liverpool Sevilla players celebrate after securing unlikely comeback against Liverpool

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as holders Real Madrid thrashed Apoel 6-0 in Cyprus to reach the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, while Liverpool blew a three-goal lead in a thriller at Sevilla.

The record 12-time winners had to wait until the 23rd minute to take the lead through Luka Modric, but a run of five goals in 15 minutes either side of half-time sent Real Madrid through in style, AFP reported.

Karim Benzema put worries about his recent form to bed with a double, before Ronaldo got in on the act after the break. The Portuguese climbed highest to power a header into the corner from an inviting Marcelo cross.

And the 32-year-old, who has only scored once in eight La Liga appearances this season, scored his eighth Champions League goal this term with an excellent left-footed finish from a tight angle.

Tottenham Hotspur sealed top spot in Group H, ahead of Real, with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Borussia Dortmund.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the host ahead, but with Real’s thumping win sending Dortmund out, Spurs leveled through Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min curled in a 76th-minute winner.

  Liverpool Stunned

Five-time champions Liverpool threw away a last-16 spot as Sevilla roared back from three goals down at half-time to draw 3-3.

Liverpool looked to be cruising into the knockout stage for the first time since 2008⁄09 when Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane both scored from flicked-on corners.

A rout similar to the 7-0 thrashing of Maribor in Slovenia earlier in the group phase looked on the cards when Firmino tapped in number three, but Sevilla staged a stirring second-half comeback.

Wissam Ben Yedder beat Alberto Moreno to nod in a free-kick, before slotting in a penalty. And Argentinean Guido Pizarro struck in the third minute of injury-time to complete the fight back and leave Jurgen Klopp’s visitors deflated.

Elsewhere in Group E, Russian champions Spartak Moscow saw their chances hit by an injury-time equalizer in a 1-1 home draw with Matibor.

Sevilla will book a last-16 spot for the second straight season if they can win in Maribor on the final match day in two weeks’ time, while Liverpool has to avoid defeat at home to Spartak.

  Napoli Keeps Hopes Alive

Lorenzo Insigne inspired Italian Serie A leaders Napoli to a 3-0 victory over Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk that kept their hopes alive in Group F.

Winger Insigne made the difference with a magnificent individual effort in the 56th minute, dancing past two defenders before curling into the top corner from 25 yards out.

Further late goals from Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens gave their goal difference a boost.

Manchester City secured first place in the group with a 1-0 win over rock-bottom Feyenoord as Raheem Sterling scored an 88th-minute winner.

Napoli needs City to beat Shakhtar in the final round of games and sees off Feyenoord in Rotterdam to progress.

  After 31 Years

Turkish champions Besiktas reached the last 16 for the first time in 31 years, as a goal from Talisca secured a 1-1 draw with Porto in Istanbul to wrap up top spot in Group G.

“We’re through to the round of 16 for the first time and for that Besiktas deserves congratulations,” center-back Pepe said. “We controlled the game well and in the end celebrated qualification in front of our own fans.”

Last season’s semifinalists Monaco is out of Europe after a woeful performance and 4-1 home loss to RB Leipzig.

The French champions saw the German tournament debutants race into a 3-0 lead through a Jemerson own goal and a Timo Werner brace, and although Radamel Falcao pulled one back, Naby Keita rounded off a stunning win that keeps Leipzig in the hunt.

Leipzig needs to better Porto’s result on the last match day. The Bundesliga runner-up hosts Besiktas, while two-time European champions Porto take on Monaco.

 

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