Real Madrid, Atleti facing do-or-die scenario in Champions League

Sports Desk, Dec 1 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid lost and Atletico Madrid dropped points in their respective Champions League matches on Tuesday and neither team is assured of reaching the knockout stage of Europe’s elite club competition, though each of them controls its own destiny.

The Blancos, who have won the Champions League a record 13 times, fell 2-0 away to Shakhtar Donetsk and are level on points with the Ukrainian side at 7.

Group B leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach have 8 points and the team in fourth place, Inter Milan, are on 5 points.

A victory against visiting Gladbach in the sixth and final match of the group stage will secure Real Madrid’s spot in the round of 16.

For Atleti, who led holders Bayern Munich 1-0 for 60 minutes on Tuesday before conceding a penalty in the final minutes, the path to the next stage runs through Salzburg, where the Spanish club need to prevail next week.

With their two losses to Shakhtar, the weakest team in the group, the Blancos largely squandered their gains from twice beating main rivals Inter.

Real Madrid had 59 percent possession, outshot Shakhtar 8-4 and won 11 corners to just two for the hosts, but they couldn’t put anything past goalkeeper Anatoly Trubin.

Dentinho gave Shakhtar the lead in the 57th minute and Manor Solomon scored with eight minutes left in regulation to nail down the 3 points and keep his team in the fight for a berth in the knockout stage.

Even Inter, who came into Match Day 5 without a victory, remain in the mix thanks to a 3-2 away triumph over Mönchengladbach.

Matteo Darmian staked Inter to a lead with a goal in the 17th minute, only to see Alassane Plea equalize for the home side in first-half stoppage time.

Belgium international Romelu Lukaku restored the advantage for the Nerazzurri in the 64th and extended it with a second goal in the 73rd.

Two minutes later, Plea cut the deficit to 3-2 and the French striker was celebrating a hat trick after beating keeper Samir Handanovic in the 84th minute until the goal was disallowed because Breel Embolo was offside.

Inter came away with all 3 points and can finish second in the group if they defeat Shakhtar and Real Madrid best Gladbach on Match Day 6.

In Madrid, Atletico went ahead in the 26th minute with a goal by Joao Felix and looked capable of seeing out the contest against a Bayern squad missing top striker Robert Lewandowski and other key contributors.

With five minutes left, however, substitute Felipe fouled Bayern’s Thomas Müller in the area and the referee awarded a penalty.

Müller fooled Atleti keeper Jan Oblak and blasted the ball into the open side of the net to salvage a point for the visitors, who didn’t really need because they already clinched the top spot in Group B.

The Colchoneros have 6 points, 2 more than RB Salzburg, who came back from the dead Tuesday by defeating Lokomotiv 3-1 in Moscow.

Mergim Berisha put the Red Bulls up 2-0 with a brace in the first half. Lokomotiv moved to within a goal when Anton Miranchuk converted from the spot in the 79th minute after Ramalho fouled Ze Luis, but Karim Adeyemi restored the two-goal margin two minutes later.

Liverpool locked down first place in Group D by edging Ajax 1-0 at Anfield.

Jürgen Klopp disclosed ahead of the match that starting keeper Alisson will be out for a week after injuring a hamstring in last weekend’s Premier League contest with Brighton & Hove Albion.

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