UEFA Champions League 2018-19: 3 talking points from Group D's final day matches

Vishal
FC Porto v FC Schalke 04 - UEFA Champions League Group D
FC Porto v FC Schalke 04 - UEFA Champions League Group D

Match Day 6 action in the UEFA Champions League 2018-19 season saw Porto face off against Galatasaray while German side Schalke took on Russian champions Lokomotiv Moscow.

With both Porto and Schalke already assured of a place in the knockout round, the fight was on for the Europa League third place spot between Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Let's take aook at the 3 major talking points from Match Day 6 of the UEFA Champions League Group D matches:

#1 Porto win Group D after thrilling encounter against Galatasaray

A first-half goal from Felipe saw Porto take the lead, and Moussa Marega's fifth Champions League goal of the season extended it. Sofiane Feghouli then cut back the lead before half-time by slotting in a penalty for Galatasaray.

Sergio Oliveira regained the two-goal lead for Porto before Eren Derdiyok struck to give the hosts the second goal of the night. Feghouli had the chance to equalize for Gala but spurned the opportunity from 12 yards out as the Turkish side lost 3-2.

Sergio Conceicao's side have been dominant in Group D and they finished with 16 points, five clear of second placed Schalke. While Porto are dangerous going forward and have the potential to cause difficult situations for the top teams, they need to improve defensively if they aim to progress past the round of 16.

Marega has been in terrific form in the Champions League and is one of the top performers of the group stage. Meanwhile, Iker Casillas became only the second player to have 100 wins in the competition following this victory.

Last year, Porto were defeated in the Round of 16 by a very dominant Liverpool side. This season, Conceicao's men would be eager to go much beyond that stage.

#2 Schalke claim second spot to recover from Bundesliga slump

Schalke had already secured their Round of 16 spot in the Champions League as runners-up in Group D, but they were looking to return to winning ways following their defeat in the Revierderby to Borussia Dortmund.

On the other hand, there was all to play for Lokomotiv, as a win over the German side and a favorable result for Porto in the night's other Group D fixture could see them head into the Europa League.

FC Schalke 04 v FC Lokomotiv Moscow - UEFA Champions League Group D
FC Schalke 04 v FC Lokomotiv Moscow - UEFA Champions League Group D

Schopf's late goal in stoppage time of the second half saw Schalke secure a victory, which ended Lokomotiv Moscow's chances of securing European football in the new year. The victory is not important in terms of the Champions League standings, but will surely be a morale booster for the German side as they look to improve upon their performances in the Bundesliga.

With a Round of 16 clash now guaranteed, Schalke will look to regroup and come back stronger next year in Europe. For now, they are headed for a Bundesliga clash against Augsburg this weekend.

#3 Galatasaray pip Lokomotiv Moscow to snatch Europa League spot

The Turkish champions Galatasaray were expected to perform much better in the Champions League this season in a relatively weak Group D. This was despite the fact that a mixed performance domestically has seen them drop down to seventh in the Turkish Super Lig.

Defeats to Porto and Schalke meant that Galatasaray's chances of staying alive in the Champions League were over.

FC Schalke 04 v FC Lokomotiv Moscow - UEFA Champions League Group D
FC Schalke 04 v FC Lokomotiv Moscow - UEFA Champions League Group D

The only hope for Galatasaray heading into the final matchday was to secure a Europa League spot. Though Feghouli and Derdiyok cut back Porto's two-goal lead twice, Feghouli missed a golden opportunity to level things up as he missed a penalty.

However, Lokomotiv lost to Schalke away which meant that the Turkish side remained a point clear of their Russian rivals and secured the third spot, thereby guaranteeing Europa League football. As they await their Europa League opponents, Galatasaray would look to improve their domestic performance this season going ahead.

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Edited by Musab Abid
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