Chelsea lost to FC Basel for the second time in this season’s UEFA Champions League, but Jose Mourinho’s team are safely through to the knockout stages of the competition as Basel and Schalke cannot overtake the Blues since they face each other on Matchday 6.
Mohamed Salah scored the only goal in the 87th minute to seal a thoroughly deserved victory for the Swiss club. This was the second time the Egyptian footballer has beaten Petr Cech this season.
In the other game in the group, Steaua Bucuresti and Schalke drew blanks at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest.
With just one round of matches left, Chelsea are top with 9 points. Basel are just one point behind on 8, while Schalke are a further point behind. The two face off in two weeks time in Gelsenkirchen, with the Swiss team just needing a draw to go through to the Round of 16.
Arsenal have nearly secured their progress in the competition with an easy 2-0 win over Marseille in Group E action at the Emirates on Tuesday night.
Jack Wilshere opened the scoring after just 28 seconds for the hosts. In the 37th minute, Mesut Ozil saw his penalty saved by Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda but that didn’t prove to be too costly as Wilshere struck again in the second half to round off a comfortable victory for the Gunners.
Borussia Dortmund leapfrogged Napoli into second place after registering a convincing 3-1 win over the Italians at the Signal Iduna Park.
Jurgen Klopp’s side opened the scoring as early as the 10th minute when Marco Reus made no mistake from a spot-kick after Federico Fernandez had tucked Robert Lewandowski’s shirt in the penalty area. Polish international Jakub Blaszczykowski doubled Dortmund’s lead at the hour mark to send the home crowd into a frenzy.
Napoli threatened to make a match out of it when Lorenzo Insigne scored past Roman Weidenfeller, but it was not to be as Dortmund substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed the win for Die Borussen in the 78th minute with a calm finish past Pepe Reina.
Arsenal lead the table with 12 points and can only be eliminated if Napoli beat them by three goals or more in a fortnight’s time. Dortmund and Napoli are tied with 9 points each. The German club will fancy their chances to go through to the knockout stages as they will face Marseille on Matchday 6. The French side have lost all their matches in the Champions League this season.
In Group G, Porto missed a massive opportunity to go above Zenit St Petersburg as they could only draw 1-1 against Austria Vienna.
Roman Kienast gave the Austrians champions a shock lead in the 11th minute at the Estadio do Dragao. Colombian striker Jackson Martinez equalised for the hosts with a header in the 48th minute.
Zenit St Petersburg got lucky as a terrible mistake from Aletico Madrid’s highly-rated goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois enabled them to gain a crucial point at home.
Eight minutes into the second half, Adrian opened the scoring for the Spanish side, which was cancelled out when Courtois misjudged Toby Alderweireld’s routine defensive header.
Atletico Madrid are already through to the next round with 13 points. Zenit have their destiny in their own hands as a win in Vienna will see them join Atletico in the Round of 16.
Ajax recorded a famous 2-1 victory over Messi-less Barcelona at home despite playing almost the entire second half with 10 men.
Frank de Boer’s side took a shock 2-0 lead at half-time with first half goals coming from Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen. Barcelona were given a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty early in the second half, following which defender Joel Veltman was sent off.
Xavi scored from the resultant spot-kick to half Ajax’s lead. With 40 minutes still to play, it looked like the Dutch champions could succumb but they didn’t and as result kept alive their chances of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition.
Meanwhile at Celtic Park, AC Milan thrashed the Scottish champions 3-0 to remain second in Group H. Kaka, Christian Zapata and Mario Balotelli were on target to ease the pressure on Massimiliano Allegri’s position as the manger of the seven-time European champions.
AC Milan face Ajax at the San Siro on 12th December in a grudge match. AC Milan just need a draw to qualify. Celtic are out of Europe altogether as they haven’t been able to repeat last season’s heroics in the Champions League.