MANCHESTER — Erling Haaland scored twice as holders Manchester City cruised into the last 16 of the Champions League with two group games remaining after a 3-0 victory over Swiss side Young Boys on Tuesday.
Pep Guardiola’s side maintained their 100% record and lead Group G with 12 points from four games. Young Boys, who were reduced to 10 men when Sandro Lauper was shown a red card in the 53rd minute, are fourth in the group with one point.
“Still the job is not done because we have to finish first because it’s better in the last-16 to have the weapon of the second game at home,” Guardiola said.
“But the first step to qualify is done, (and) we scored two fantastic goals.”
Haaland now has 39 Champions League goals from 34 appearances, and is on course to smash the record for fewest appearances to reach 40 goals, which is 45 games by Ruud van Nistelrooy. The 23-year-old injured his ankle in Saturday’s 6-1 trouncing of Bournemouth in the Premier League, raising questions about whether he would even play on Tuesday.
The one negative on the night was the loss of John Stones, who recently returned from a hip injury but was replaced at halftime after suffering what Guardiola said was a muscle issue.
“He will be awhile out, it’s a pity, it’s bad news for us,” Guardiola said.
AC MILAN striker Olivier Giroud’s powerful header early in the second half secured a 2-1 Champions League Group F home victory over Paris St Germain in a pulsating match for the first win in this season’s competition by the Italian side. Former Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar had put PSG ahead but their advantage lasted only three minutes before Rafael Leao netted an acrobatic equaliser and Giroud then sealed a precious victory just after the break in front of 75,649 at the San Siro.
Milan now have five points from four games in third behind second-placed PSG with six points. Leaders Borussia Dortmund have seven points after winning 2-0 earlier on Tuesday at home to Newcastle United who are bottom on four points.
Danylo Sikan’s towering header gave SHAKHTAR DONETSK a 1-0 win against LaLiga champions Barcelona in their Champions League Group H clash.
It was a disappointing display from the Spanish side who won their first three games in the competition and needed one point to book a place in the last 16 with two games remaining.
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez made several changes to his starting eleven and, despite dominating possession throughout the match, struggled against a well-organised Shakhtar defence, earning only one shot on target in the game.
FC PORTO stayed on course for a place in the Champions League last 16 with a 2-0 home victory over 10-man Royal Antwerp thanks to Evanilson’s first half penalty and veteran Pepe’s late header in the Group H clash.
Brazilian Evanilson, who had netted a hat-trick when Porto beat the Belgians 4-1 away in their previous Champions League clash last month, tucked away a 32nd minute penalty after a clumsy foul by Gyrano Kerk on Stephen Eustaquio.
Porto dominated the game after Antwerp midfielder Jurgen Ekkelenkamp was sent off seven minutes into the second half.
However, despite their numerical superiority, Porto had to wait until one minute into stoppage time for their second goal, headed home by the 40-year-old Pepe.
The result sees Porto move level on nine points with leaders Barcelona, with both sides three points ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk.
ATLETICO MADRID’S Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata both struck twice to help thrash 10-man Celtic 6-0, sending the Spaniards top in Group E.
Atletico made a strong start and Griezmann opened the scoring in the sixth minute, slotting in a low shot from the edge of the box.
Celtic were then reduced to 10 men when forward Daizen Maeda received a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Atletico defender Mario Hermoso in the 23rd minute.
Some fine saves from Celtic’s veteran goalkeeper Joe Hart from close-range efforts kept them in the game and the visitors almost found a shock equaliser in the 28th minute.
Atletico keeper Jan Oblak made a stunning one-handed save to deny what would have been a comical own-goal by Morata as he attempted to clear a corner from inside Atletico’s six-yard box. Morata made amends in added time before the break, when Griezmann found Jose Maria Gimenez with a brilliant cross from the right touchline to the far corner and he headed it to the Spain captain to tap in.
A first-half goal by Ciro Immobile handed Lazio a 1-0 home win over Feyenoord in the Champions League on Tuesday, keeping the Italians’ knockout stage hopes alive as Maurizio Sarri’s side moved up to second in Group E.
Lazio, who lost 3-1 in the reverse fixture last month, are second on seven points from four games, one point behind leaders Atletico Madrid who hammered Celtic 6-0 in the other group fixture. — Reuters.