Fri, Dec 14, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Lyon reach last 16, Bayern top group

HOLLOW VICTORY:Despite stunning Real Madrid 3-0 at the Bernabeu, CSKA Moscow ended at the bottom of their group after Viktoria Plzen defeated AS Roma

AFP, PARIS

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Bohdan Butko, left, challenges Olympique Lyonnais’ Ferland Mendy for the ball in their UEFA Champions League Group F match in Kiev on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday clinched the final UEFA Champions League last-16 place as Nabil Fekir’s second-half strike secured a 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in snowy Kiev, while Bayern Munich pipped Ajax to top spot in Group E.

Bruno Genesio’s Lyon needed to avoid defeat against Shakhtar to progress from Group F with Manchester City, and a fifth successive draw in the competition achieved that aim.

“It was hard in difficult conditions. We gave ourselves a fright and it’s a pity we didn’t kill off the game in the first half,” Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar told Radio Monte Carlo Sport. “The main thing is that we’ve qualified.”

Shakhtar forged ahead midway through the opening period with what proved to be their only shot of the first half, just seconds after Lyon forward Bertrand Traore had been denied by Andriy Pyatov in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

The Burkina Faso international was made to pay for his profligacy, as Junior Moraes slotted home after being picked out by Ismaily.

However, Lyon continued to dominate and finally equalized in the 65th minute, when Nabil Fekir hammered a left-footed strike into the top corner following excellent play by Memphis Depay.

City wrapped up top spot in the group by coming from behind to beat TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Andrej Kramaric gave Hoffenheim a surprise 16th-minute lead from the penalty spot, although Leroy Sane leveled on the stroke of halftime with a magnificent free-kick.

City wasted a host of chances, with away goalkeeper Oliver Baumann in inspired form, but Sane grabbed his second just after the hour mark to complete the turnaround.

Bayern Munich went into their game at Ajax needing just a point to beat their opponents to first place in Group E, and Niko Kovac’s men did just that in a thrilling 3-3 draw.

The game burst into life in the second half when Dusan Tadic equalized Robert Lewandowski’s early opener just after the hour mark, with Ajax defender Maximilian Woeber sent off in the 67th minute for a dangerous lunge on Leon Goretzka.

However, Bayern were also reduced to 10 men only eight minutes later, as Thomas Mueller was given his marching orders for planting his studs into the head of Nicolas Tagliafico.

Ajax briefly moved top of the live standings when Jerome Boateng carelessly conceded a penalty, which was dispatched emphatically into the roof of the net by Tadic.

However, Tagliafico brought down Thiago Alcantara, with Lewandowski slotting in the spot-kick, before Kingsley Coman looked to have settled matters with a wonderful 90th-minute strike.

Tagliafico went up the other end to equalize again, but Ajax failed to find a winner as Bayern just about held on.

“That was an advert for football,” Kovac said. “The most important thing was to finish top of the group and with 14 from 18 points we are happy.”

Juventus finished at the Group H summit ahead of Manchester United, despite slumping to a 2-1 defeat by BSC Young Boys in Bern, Switzerland, as Jose Mourinho’s Premier League giants lost at Valencia.

United had to beat Valencia and hope Juve failed to win in Switzerland, but Carlos Soler and a comical Phil Jones own-goal did the damage for the visitors, with Marcus Rashford scoring a late consolation.

“I didn’t learn anything at all,” Mourinho said. “Nothing surprised me at all.”

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