‘People say ‘yeah, the group stage, it is easy’, but you have to do it,’ said City boss Pep Guardiola
Holders Manchester City and RB Leipzig became the first teams to reach the last 16 of this season’s Champions League on Tuesday while Danylo Sikan’s goal allowed Shakhtar Donetsk to claim a stunning win over Barcelona.
Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions have eased into the knockout phase with a perfect record, a 3-0 win over Young Boys making it four wins out of four in Group G.
Erling Haaland followed his brace in Bern two weeks ago with another two goals against the Swiss side, with the Norwegian striker opening the scoring from the penalty spot midway through the first half.
Phil Foden got their second in first-half stoppage time and Haaland struck again soon after the interval for his 15th goal of the campaign.
Young Boys were then reduced to 10 men as Sandro Lauper was sent off, and City saw out a 10th successive home victory in the competition.
“People say ‘yeah, the group stage, it is easy’, but you have to do it. In life, you have to do it when people expect you to do it,” Guardiola told TNT Sports.
Leipzig joined City in securing progress from Group G thanks to their 2-1 victory at Red Star Belgrade.
Xavi Simons gave the German side an early lead with a lovely finish into the far corner, and Lois Openda made it 2-0 in the rain in Belgrade with his 10th goal this season.
Former European Cup winners Red Star pulled one back through a Benjamin Henrichs own goal but they are now left to fight it out with Young Boys for a place in the Europa League knockout phase.
Barcelona could have booked their last-16 ticket with a win over Shakhtar but instead the Ukrainian club kept their own hopes alive with a famous 1-0 victory in Hamburg.
Sikan, the 22-year-old forward, headed in the only goal of the Group H game late in the first half and Shakhtar held on.
“It feels very sweet,” smiled coach Marino Pusic, whose Shakhtar team are playing European home games this season in Germany amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“I am tremendously proud of my players and all the people in the club, working very hard to support me in this, what we achieved tonight.”
– Pepe becomes oldest-ever scorer –
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez admitted his team were “in a bit of a footballing rut”, and they were joined at the top of the section on nine points by Porto, who beat Royal Antwerp 2-0 in Portugal.
Brazilian forward Evanilson opened the scoring with a first-half penalty and Antwerp had Jurgen Ekkelenkamp sent off early in the second half.
Porto wrapped up the win in stoppage time when veteran defender Pepe headed in to become, at the age of 40 years and 254 days old, the oldest player ever to score a Champions League goal.
The record had previously been held by Francesco Totti, who last scored in the competition for Roma aged 38.
– PSG, Newcastle beaten –
Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United’s hopes of qualifying from Group F remain in the balance after both lost on the road.
PSG went down 2-1 away to AC Milan despite Milan Skriniar giving the French side an early lead at San Siro.
It took Milan just three minutes to draw level when Rafael Leao finished in acrobatic fashion, and Olivier Giroud headed in the winner five minutes after half-time.
Borussia Dortmund are top of the group after beating Newcastle 2-0 in Germany, with Niclas Fuellkrug and Julian Brandt scoring the goals, one in each half.
“When you concede four goals in this stadium three days ago, it feels good to hold a very good English team to nil — and the two goals will do us good,” Brandt told Amazon Prime as Dortmund bounced back from Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
– Atletico hit six –
Atletico Madrid top Group E after crushing 10-man Celtic 6-0 in Spain to record their biggest win in the modern Champions League.
Antoine Griezmann grabbed an early opener and Celtic then had Daizen Maeda sent off midway through the first half.
Alvaro Morata made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time and Griezmann made it three on the hour mark.
Samuel Lino got the fourth with a stunning strike, Morata lashed in the fifth for his second, and Saul Niguez completed the scoring.
Lazio beat Feyenoord 1-0 in the same section thanks to Ciro Immobile’s 200th goal for the club.