Ibrahimovic scores on CL return to Malmo, Juve beats City
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 26, 2015 10:37 AM
(Photo via www.PSG.fr)
AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrated his return to his first senior club with a goal as Paris Saint-Germain advanced to the knockout phase of the Champions League on Wednesday while Juventus claimed top spot to qualify from Group D with a 1-0 win over Manchester City.
Ibrahimovic played his first competitive club match at his hometown team Malmo since joining Ajax in 2001. He marked the occasion by netting PSG's third goal, with Laurent Blanc's players thrashing their Swedish opponents 5-0 in Group A.
"I lived a dream tonight, coming back," Ibrahimovic said. "On top of that I scored one. I'm very happy. Since the beginning, there's been a great relationship between Malmo's fans and me."
Already qualified before traveling to Ukraine, 10-time European champion Real Madrid conceded three goals in 12 minutes yet still came away with a 4-3 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the group's other match. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Madrid made sure of finishing top.
In Group B, Manchester United was left frustrated by another lackluster performance in a 0-0 draw against PSV Eindhoven at Old Trafford. The group remains wide open and will be decided on the final day after Wolfsburg moved to the top of the standings with a 2-0 defeat of CSKA Moscow.
Atletico secured its place in the next round with a 2-0 victory over Galatasaray in Group C and will travel to Benfica to decide first place in two weeks' time. Both teams have 10 points after Benfica recovered from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 at Astana.
Here's a closer look at Wednesday's games in the Champions League:
Bearing the slogan "Je suis Paris" (I am Paris) on their shirts in solidarity with the French capital following the Nov. 13 attacks, Paris Saint-Germain's players secured qualification for the knockout stages with ease in a 5-0 rout of Malmo.
Among PSG's scorers was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who returned to his Swedish hometown for the game and earned a standing ovation from supporters of his former club.
Angel di Maria scored twice for PSG, while Adrien Rabiot and Lucas also made the scoresheet. Malmo came closest when captain Markus Rosenberg hit the post with a penalty.
Real Madrid had already qualified but made sure of the top spot despite a late scare, winning 4-3 over Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.
Two goals and two assists from Cristiano Ronaldo powered Real to a seemingly unassailable 4-0 lead before Shakhtar mounted a comeback. Real held on for the three points in a nervy finish that is unlikely to end criticism of the team following Saturday's 4-0 loss to arch-rival Barcelona.
Wednesday's results mean the only thing at stake in next month's final round of Group A games is third place and a ticket to the Europa League. Shakhtar and Malmo are both on three points, but the Ukrainian team will take the spot if they finish level.
It's all to play for heading into the final matchday, with Wolfsburg, Man United and PSV Eindhoven all in with a chance of qualifying and all still having their destiny in their hands.
United has been criticized for its defensive style under Van Gaal and its goalless draw against PSV — its first at home in the Champions League since September 2010 — leaves the team's qualification chances in jeopardy.
PSV, which defended excellently and posed the greater threat in the final 25 minutes at Old Trafford, will qualify by beating CSKA Moscow at home in two weeks. If that happens, United will have to beat Wolfsburg away to avoid dropping into the Europa League.
Wolfsburg went top after beating CSKA Moscow 2-0, with Andre Schuerrle scoring one goal and delivering the shot that was deflected in off the arm of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for what was marked down as an own goal.
Wolfsburg leads United by one point, with PSV a point further behind in third.
Atletico Madrid and Benfica both advanced from Group C on Wednesday, while Galatasaray and FC Astana were eliminated.
Atletico secured its spot in the round of 16 for the third straight season by beating Galatasaray 2-0 at home, while Benfica advanced with a 2-2 draw at FC Astana.
Atletico and Benfica will play for first place when they meet in Portugal on Dec. 8. Benfica defeated Atletico 2-1 in Madrid when the two teams met earlier in the group stage.
France striker Antoine Griezmann scored a goal in each half as Atletico easily defeated the Turkish team at the Vicente Calderon Stadium, with both goals set up by team captain Gabi.
Raul Jimenez scored twice to help Benfica rally from two goals down against Astana, which will finish unbeaten at home in its first ever Champions League campaign.
Juventus went top in Group D and made sure of progressing to the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Manchester City.
Juventus moved onto 11 points, two more than already-qualified City, heading into the final group match. It also has a better head-to-head record, having won 2-1 in Manchester.
Mario Mandzukic scored the only goal of an entertaining game in the 18th minute, moments after City should have taken the lead.
Paul Pogba feinted round his marker and the former Manchester United player spread the ball to the left for Alex Sandro to cross in toward Mandzukic, who volleyed home.
Both sides also hit the woodwork, while Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon did brilliantly to prevent Sergio Aguero from leveling.
Juventus would have qualified even if it had lost, after Borussia Moenchengladbach defeated Sevilla 4-2 to boost its chances of playing in the Europa League.
Daniella Matar, Steve Douglas, James Ellingworth and Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.