Barcelona falter as Bayern, Napoli advance

Sports Desk, Oct 12 (EFE).- Robert Lewandowski’s stoppage-time equalizer Wednesday against Inter Milan allowed Barcelona to stave off elimination from the 2022-2023 Champions League, but the Catalan club’s chances of reaching the knockout stage remain slim.

Napoli, Bayern Munich and surprising Club Brugge secured their spots in the round-of-16, while Liverpool moved closer to clinching and Tottenham Hotspur kept themselves in contention.

Barcelona coach Xavi told reporters Tuesday that his squad would need a “magical night” against Inter at Camp Nou in the wake of away defeats to Bayern Munich and the Nerazzurri that left them sitting third in Group C.

The hosts were dominant in the first half and went to the break with a 1-0 edge thanks to Ousmane Dembele’s goal in the 40th minute.

But Nicolo Barella brought Inter level five minutes into the second half and the visitors went ahead in the 63rd minute with a goal by Lautaro Martinez.

The Nerazzurri remained in front as the match entered the final 10 minutes of regulation, but Lewandowski put Barcelona back on terms with a strike in the 82nd minute that took a fortunate deflection.

Just seven minutes later, Robin Gosens made it 3-2 for the Italian side, only to see Lewandowski equalize again in the 92nd minute. Blaugrana goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen turned aside an effort by Inter’s Kristjan Asllani in the 95th to preserve the draw.

Barcelona remain third with 4 points, 3 behind Inter and 8 behind Bayern, who got a double from Leon Goretzka in a 4-2 victory over last-place Viktoria Plzen.

The Blaugrana will be eliminated in the group stage for the second consecutive year if the Nerazzurri beat Plzen on Oct. 25.

In Group A, Napoli improved to 12 points from a possible 12 with a 4-2 triumph against Ajax, who remain on 3 points, while Liverpool crushed Rangers 7-1 to bring their total to 9 points.

Mohamed Salah set a new record for the fastest hat trick in Champions League history, scoring three times in the space of six minutes, and teammate Roberto Firmino had a brace.

Keeper Simon Mignolet was the man of the match for Brugge against Atletico Madrid, who had 66 possession and put nine shots on target to one for the Belgian side at the Metropolitano in the Spanish capital.

Despite some tense moments in the final eight minutes after Kamal Sowah picked up a second yellow card, the visitors earned the point they needed to punch their ticket to the round-of-16 from Group B.

Atleti, with 4 points, are still in the mix, just 2 behind second-place Porto, who thumped Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Wednesday.

And in Group D, only 3 points separate leaders Tottenham from last-place Eintracht Frankfurt after Spurs prevailed 3-2 over the Europa League holders in London.

Daichi Kamada grabbed the lead for Eintracht in the 14th minute, but Spurs led 3-1 at the break on a pair of goals by Son Heung-min and Harry Kane’s penalty.

The visitors went down to 10 men at the hour mark after defender Tuta fouled Son twice in three minutes, yet they still managed to narrow the gap to 3-2 in the 87th minute on Farido Alidou’s header.

Olympic Marseille and Sporting are level on points at 6 after the French club bested the Portuguese squad 2-0 Wednesday.

EFE /dr

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