Liverpool top Atleti to clinch; Real and City win; PSG stumble

Sports Desk, Nov 3 (EFE).- Liverpool beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 Wednesday to advance to the Champions League knockout stage, while both Real Madrid and Manchester City edged closer to qualifying as Paris Saint-Germain dropped points.

At Anfield, where Atleti derailed Liverpool’s defense of the Champions League trophy in 2020, the Reds prevailed without any undue strain.

The hosts led 2-0 after 21 minutes on goals by Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane and the chances of a Colchoneros comeback were badly dented when Felipe was sent off with a straight red card in the 36th minute for a reckless tackle on Mane.

Jota put the ball past Jan Oblak three minutes into the second half, but the flag was up and VAR confirmed that the Portugal international was offside.

Shortly before the hour mark, former Liverpool man Luis Suarez thought he had cut the deficit in half with a deflected strike that beat Alisson. But that goal was also disallowed for offside.

Liverpool, with 12 points, are assured of advancing to the round of 16 as the Group B winner. Atleti, on 4 points, face a battle with second-place Porto, who moved to 5 points with a 1-1 draw Wednesday against AC Milan.

As so often this season, Real Madrid were not at their best Wednesday hosting Shakhtar Donetsk.

Even so, Karim Benzema’s brace – both assisted by Vinicius Jr. – was enough for a 2-1 victory that eliminated the Ukrainian side from contention.

The Blancos consolidated their hold on first place in Group D with 9 points, 2 more than Inter Milan, 3-1 winners Wednesday against Sheriff Tiraspol, who have 6 points.

Benzema’s opener was also Real Madrid’s record 1,000th goal in Europe’s elite club competition.

Manchester City went top of Group A after pounding Club Brugge 4-1 at the Etihad to improve to 9 points. Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored for the hosts, while City defender John Stones inadvertently accounted for the visitors’ goal.

Trailing City by a point are Paris Saint-Germain, who were leading RB Leipzig 2-1 in stoppage when Presnel Kimpembe fouled Christopher Nkunku in the area and the referee, after consulting VAR, awarded a penalty.

Dominik Szoboszlai converted and PSG, playing without the injured Lionel Messi, were forced to settle for a point. EFE rmm/dr

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