Barcelona, Atletico eliminated; Liverpool, Inter, Porto advance

Sports Desk, Oct 26 (EFE).- Barcelona’s slim hopes of advancing to the Champions League knockout stage had already evaporated by the time they took the field Wednesday at Camp Nou against perfect Bayern Munich, who thrashed the Blaugrana 3-0 to win Group C.

Inter’s 4-0 rout of Viktoria Plzen hours earlier in Milan punched the Nerazzurri’s ticket to the next round and relegated the Catalan club to the Europa League for a second consecutive year.

In the Spanish capital, Atletico Madrid missed a penalty in stoppage time to end 2-2 with Bayer Leverkusen and find themselves 4 points back of second-place Porto with one game left to play.

With the elimination of Barcelona and Atleti, holders Real Madrid, in pursuit of a record-extending 15th Champions League title, will be the lone LaLiga club in the knockout stage.

Liverpool thumped Ajax 3-0 to clinch second place in Group A, while a disallowed goal for Tottenham Hotspur against Sporting left the four teams in Group D with it all to play for on Match Day 6.

The result of the Inter-Plzen game made the outcome of the contest at Camp Nou irrelevant and Barcelona offered little challenge to the Group C winners.

Sadio Mane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting gave Bayern a 2-0 lead at the break and Benjamin Pavard scored in the 95th minute of a match that saw Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski struggle yet against his former club.

Atleti came from behind twice against Leverkusen, as Yannick Carrasco and Rodrigo de Paul answered goals by Moussa Diaby and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

After the final whistle, a VAR check resulted in the Colchoneros’ winning a penalty and Carrasco stepped up to take the kick. But keeper Lukas Hradecky made the save and Saul’s header off the rebound hit the cross-bar.

Both teams are out of the Champions League and which of them gets the consolation prize of Europa League play will depend on the results of Match Day 6, when Porto host Atletico and Brugge are away to Leverkusen.

Both Brugge and Porto are assured of advancing and the Dragons put themselves in a position to win Group B by pummeling the Belgian side 4-0 Wednesday.

Porto improved to 9 points, just 1 behind Brugge, who had held opponents scoreless in their first four matches.

Napoli topped last-place Rangers 2-0 to stay perfect atop Group A, while Liverpool beat Ajax 3-0 with goals from Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nuñez and Harvey Elliott to secure the second spot with 12 points.

The Reds still have an outside shot at taking the group when they welcome Napoli to Anfield next week, but Jurgen Klopp’s men would need a winning margin of at least four goals to make up for their 4-1 defeat to the Italian squad on Match Day 1.

In Group D, Wednesday’s results left Tottenham Hotspur, Sporting, Eintracht Frankfurt and Olympique Marseille separated by just 2 points.

Sporting went ahead against Spurs with a goal in the 22nd minute by former Tottenham man Marcus Edwards. The hosts were much better in the second half and finally pulled level in the 80th minute thanks to Rodrigo Bentancur.

Five minutes into stoppage time, Harry Kane appeared to win it for Spurs, only to see the goal disallowed for offside after a VAR review that dragged on for three minutes.

Tottenham lead the group with 8 points, followed by Sporting and Eintracht on 7 points each. Marseille have 6 points after falling 2-1 Wednesday to the Bundesliga side.

Spurs are away to Marseille on Match Day 6 and Eintracht will travel to Lisbon. EFE /dr

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