The final teams book their place in the Champions League Round of 16 with group matches concluding on Wednesday. Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray, Schalke 04, Arsenal, Zenit, and AC Milan completed the field but with some tense moments.
Manchester United FC, Real Madrid CF, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Bayern München, Chelsea FC, Borussia Dortmund, Club Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona
Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Galatasaray AŞ, Olympiacos FC, Manchester City FC, FC Schalke 04, Arsenal FC, FC Zenit, AC Milan
The best finish of all the groups came in Group F with last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, and Napoli all tied on 12 points with the first 2 teams advancing. Napoli is the first team to finish with 12 points and not advance.
Napoli did their best to get back in the picture downing 10-man Arsenal 2-0 but it was not enough. Mikel Arteta was shown a second yellow card in the 76th minute to give the home side some hope but the result combined with Dortmund’s frantic finish sealed their fate.
The Bundesliga side needed a win and it came courtesy of a Kevin Grosskreutz goal in the 87th minute to down 10-man Marseille. The late goal saw them go from almost being eliminate to finishing on top of the group. The crowd knew the result in Italy and celebrated finally being able to find the needed goal.
Schalke 04 took care of business and defeated Basel 2-0 to jump the Swiss and into 2nd place in Group E. A red card played a part in this match as well with Ivan Ivanov being sent to the showers in the 31st minute for Basel. The goals finally came for the Royal Blues with goals from Julian Draxler and Joel Matip in the 51st and 57th minutes.
Chelsea sealed the top spot from the group with a 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest. The Stamford Bridge faithful were not put to the nerves test with Demba Ba scoring in the 10th minute and the Round of 16 assured for the Blues even before the first kick.
Zenit backed their way into the Round of 16 after losing 4-1 to Austria Wien. The Russian club became the first team to advance to the Round of 16 with only 6 points. Certainly Napoli is shaking their heads asking what if.
Atletico Madrid did their part to help Zenit. The Spanish side downed Porto 2-0 to seal top spot by a 10-point margin.
Neymar fired in a hat-trick as Barcelona routed Celtic 6-1. The loss was the biggest margin of defeat for the Scottish champions.
AC Milan advanced as the second place finishers from Group H after holding Ajax to a 0-0 draw. The host needed to survive 68 minutes playing with only 10 players after their captain Montolivo was red carded for a late challenge in the 22nd minute. The Dutch champions had their chances, including a last second overhead volley that went narrowly wide of the post.