Champions League roundup: Benfica eliminate Juventus as PSG run riot | Champions League

Benfica’s Rafa Silva scored twice as the Portuguese side defeated Juventus 4-3 in a thriller at the Estádio da Luz to seal a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League and end the Italian club’s chances in this year’s competition.

Benfica have 11 points from five games, the same as the Group H leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who defeated Maccabi Haifa 7-2 in an equally stunning game at the Parc des Princes. Juve’s three points, meanwhile, leaves them to focus on winning a place in the Europa League, something they can secure on the final matchday when they host PSG.

Benfica are now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions this season and it was easy to see why on Tuesday night. They were inventive with the ball and might have been out of sight at half-time before a late Juve rally meant a nervous finish. As it was, it is the first time in the Italian giant’s history they have conceded three first-half goals in the Champions League, and the first time since 2013-14 they have failed to get out of their group.

The teenager Antonio Silva scored his first Benfica goal to give the home side the lead after 17 minutes before Juventus drew level when Moise Kean bundled the ball home four minutes later. Benfica were back in front thanks to a controversial penalty that was converted by João Mario before Rafa Silva appeared to make the points safe with two sublime finishes either side of the break.

The visitors pulled a goal back late on through Arkadiusz Milik after he was set up by the young English winger Samuel Iling, and the latter was key in creating a chance for Weston McKennie to score Juve’s third. That led to a tense finish on a night when Benfica looked as though they would humiliate their visitors but had to hold on as Rafa Silva missed out on a hat-trick by hitting the post.

“It’s really a pity and difficult to find the words,” the Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli said.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé both scored twice, with Neymar also on target, as the French club’s fearsome attack tore apart Maccabi Haifa in a 7-2 win to send them into the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring in the thrashing of Maccabi Haifa
Lionel Messi celebrates scoring in the thrashing of Maccabi Haifa Photograph: Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

The irrepressible trio were simply too much for Maccabi to handle although the Israeli side showed plenty of spirit in the Group H clash, with Abdoulaye Seck scoring twice. PSG’s romp means with one game remaining against Juventus they top the standings on goal difference from Benfica.

Despite their heavy defeat, Maccabi remain level on three points with Juve and will go into their last game at home against Benfica still hopeful of sealing a Europa League spot.

Christophe Galtier’s side took a while to find their attacking rhythm but once they clicked they were devastating as they threatened to surpass their 7-1 rout of Celtic in 2017.

“The 4-3-3 system meant the front three could be a little higher up the pitch and they had a little more freedom in their movements thanks to the work of the midfield,” Galtier said. “It’s a privilege to have those players and to see them play like that, for each other.”

Messi started things off in the 19th minute with a sumptuous opening goal scored with the outside of his left foot after being played in by Mbappé on the left side of the area. Mbappé’s opener was just as silky, the French forward bending a right-footer in the 32nd minute past goalkeeper Joshua Cohen who could not be faulted for any of PSG’s goals.

It began to turn ugly for Maccabi three minutes later when Mbappé and Messi combined to play in Neymar and the Brazilian’s shot went in on off the post. PSG switched off defensively to allow an unmarked Seck to head in from Omer Atzili’s free-kick but Messi then swapped passes with Neymar before dropping his shoulder and belting a left-footed shot low into the corner to make it 4-1 at half-time.

It took Messi’s Champions League total to 129, 12 behind the record of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Maccabi actually controlled the opening 10 minutes of the second half and when PSG made a hash of clearing a corner, Seck looped a header over Gianluigi Donnarumma and into the net. The visiting fans celebrated joyously but PSG then moved through the gears to run riot.

In the 64th minute Mbappé was picked out by a diagonal pass from Achraf Hakimi and he took a deft touch before picking out the far corner. As Maccabi finally lost heart Neymar’s dribble and low cross ended with Sean Goldberg netting an own goal.

Messi, who was denied a record ninth Champions League hat-trick by the crossbar, then set up Carlos Soler to wrap up the scoring with a low shot.

“We caught Paris on a good day. The smallest slip in concentration against players like that and they can score or have a big chance,” Maccabi defender Dylan Batubinsika said.”

RB Leipzig took a big step towards the Champions League knockout stage with a 3-2 home win against the holders Real Madrid.

With Real having already qualified for the last 16 their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, rested several regular starters and his side were dominated early on by a young Leipzig team. The hosts took the lead on 13 minutes with Josko Gvardiol scoring on the rebound from a Thibaut Courtois save after a bullet header by André Silva.

With the European champions still recovering from that blow, Leipzig extended their advantage five minutes later when David Raum tried to pass into the box but the ball deflected off a defender into the path of Christopher Nkunku who was quick to react and rifled the ball in off the crossbar.

Leipzig had two more great chances but Courtois saved Amadou Haidara’s strike from the edge of the box and Nkuku put a close-range shot wide after beating the onrushing Real goalkeeper to the ball but ending up with a tight angle trying to find the empty net.

“I think we came out very distracted in the beginning of the game and were caught sleeping against a team that is very aggressive,” Courtois said.

Leipzig are second in Group F on nine points, one behind the leaders Real and three ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, who they face in their final group game next week in need of a draw to guarantee a top-two spot.

Milan revived their hopes of reaching the last 16 with a 4-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb. Back-to-back defeats by Chelsea in their two previous matches had left the Serie A champions with plenty to do to qualify for the knockout stages, but Matteo Gabbia’s first-half header set them on their way to a crucial victory in Croatia.

Rafael Leão’s solo run and finish early in the second half put the game beyond the home side before Olivier Giroud made sure of the three points with a penalty just before the hour mark. A late own goal put the seal on the second win of Milan’s European campaign and one that moves them up to second place in Group E on seven points. If they avoid defeat next week against Salzburg they will reach the last 16.

“I think it is clear that our growth continues with qualification,” the Milan head coach, Stefano Pioli, said.

Sevilla kept alive their slim hopes of reaching the last 16 after second-half goals from Youssef En-Nesyri, Isco and Gonzalo Montiel secured a convincing 3-0 home win against 10-man FC Copenhagen in Group G.

Pep Guardiola promises more rotation as injury issues hit City’s defence | Champions League

Pep Guardiola has said he cannot field the same back four for Manchester City because Nathan Aké, Rúben Dias, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are unable to play every three days because of injury problems.

Stones and Kyle Walker are unavailable because of hamstring and groin problems respectively, Laporte has just returned after knee surgery, Aké has sustained a number of different issues and last season a muscle strain ruled Dias out for weeks. This means Guardiola has to constantly tinker with the rearguard, fielding a different one in the past six matches.

“I would love to have the same back four but they cannot handle it,” Guardiola said before City’s Champions League group game away to Copenhagen on Tuesday. “The players we have cannot handle every three days of being fit, other teams might be able to, but we can’t.

“Nathan can’t, Rúben last season, Stones. Aymeric came back from a big injury so it’s important for us that everyone can play and everyone can perform well.

“If you want to be in there with all the titles we are fighting for, and with the World Cup [coming up], and be in that position to fight until the end then we need to be ready, otherwise it will be so difficult.”

City have conceded 10 times in all competitions this season and Guardiola offered a view on how well his side are defending. “It’s good but we can do better in many aspects,” he said. “If we have a period when we play every three games we don’t have much time to analyse or think about the situation.

“After Liverpool [on Sunday] we have a week and have more time but now you don’t have much time to reflect on how we’re attacking or defending. In general it’s good because in the last two games we have played better, scored a lot of goals and conceded few chances. It is the level we had in the previous four or five seasons and I like that, it means the team is still here, it didn’t disappear.”

City take on Copenhagen having claimed a maximum of nine points from their three group games so far, the most recent of which was the 5-0 victory against the Danish side at the Etihad Stadium last week. Another victory would guarantee qualification to the knockout stages, while a draw would all but do the same for the Premier League champions.

Relentless Erling Haaland sparks Manchester City’s Copenhagen rout | Champions League

As the ball hit the net and Erling Haaland wheeled away yet again, Pep Guardiola simply laughed out loud. The stadium announcer declared: “Goal for City, who else?” Supporters were shaking their heads in disbelief. That’s the thing about what Erling Haaland is doing. He manages to make even a routine night’s work for Manchester City like this interesting, and leave you wondering how you’re going to react.

The bad news for supporters of Southampton, City’s next opponents, is that Haaland was given the second half off here to freshen him for the games ahead. By the time he had been withdrawn at half-time though, Guardiola’s side had already done more than enough to see off a helpless FC Copenhagen and take another step towards the Champions League knockout stages with time to spare. They led 3-0 at the break and added another two thereafter to ultimately run out comfortable winners.

Haaland scored two more here to add to his seemingly never-ending tally. The first was with his first touch of the match to take his total for City this season to 19 in 12 matches. He has 28 Champions League goals already, too. But City, even sans Haaland in the second half, were impressive everywhere you looked. That’s the thing about this side though: they are impressive in almost every aspect – they just have a player who has a habit of plucking the headlines.

Guardiola made five changes from the derby victory over Manchester United. The injured Kyle Walker dropped out, meaning a switch to right-back for João Cancelo, with Rúben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Sergio Gómez making up an almost entirely new-look back four. Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden were rested after their derby displays, with Riyad Mahrez and Julián Álvarez given a chance to shine.

Yet despite all those changes, City were almost immediately into their stride. And when the first goal came after seven minutes, not only was the team that scored it an inevitability, but the player in question was, too. Cancelo drove forward and fired across goal, and when the ball deflected into the path of Haaland, you suspected even Copenhagen’s goalkeeper, Kamil Grabara, knew what was coming next. Haaland finished with the usual precision, and City were up and running.

Grabara, the former Liverpool goalkeeper who spent five years at Anfield without making a competitive appearance for the Reds, was almost single-handedly keeping Copenhagen in the match as the first half wore on. He saved well from Ilkay Gündogan and Mahrez on two separate occasions, and had already prevented Haaland from scoring on two more occasions with smart saves, too.

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s fourth goal.
Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s fourth goal. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

If it felt like Copenhagen were already retreating into damage limitation mode, then that’s because they were probably were. But just as you were beginning to wonder if those two misses were rendering Haaland something like human, the world suddenly began spinning on its familiar axis again just after the half-hour mark. As City’s pressure intensified once again, a Mahrez corner found its way to Gomez on the edge of the area.

Grabara saved well, but he could only palm it into the path of Haaland, for his 28th Champions League goal in 22 games, already taking him past the likes of Rivaldo and Luis Suárez. There was even time for a third before the break. Haaland wasn’t involved this time though, as Gómez’s shot deflected off Denis Vavro before bouncing off the helpless body of Davit Khocholava and past Grabara. He had made five or six superb saves in the first half but mercifully, by the break, all he had done was prevent City – and Haaland, probably – from clocking up some sort of record.

And that was that for Haaland, his work complete for the evening. He was replaced by Cole Palmer at half time but City didn’t relent. It took them only nine minutes to add their fourth, Mahrez converting from the penalty spot after Laporte was fouled in the box. That led to further changes from Guardiola, with the youngsters Rico Lewis and Josh Wilson-Esbrand coming on for their first Champions League appearances.

Copenhagen came close to sending their boisterous travelling home support with at least a goal when Valdemar Lund Jensen headed narrowly wide. But within seconds, City had sprung up the other end and scored a fifth as a driving run from Jack Grealish led to Álvarez prodding home. Victory in Denmark next Tuesday guarantees a place in the last 16 for City with two games still to play. Copenhagen will probably be hoping Haaland has the night off.

Copenhagen’s Mat Ryan tasked with stopping Haaland in Champions League | Champions League

Socceroos captain Mat Ryan is bracing himself for the toughest task in football – trying to stop the goalscoring machine that is Erling Haaland.

FC Copenhagen’s Australian goalkeeper, who never found Manchester City the easiest opposition, will have his work cut out in the Danish side’s Champions League tie at the Etihad Stadium against the 22-year-old Norwegian.

Fresh from his latest hat-trick in the weekend’s 6-3 derby defeat of Manchester United, Haaland is expected to be on the pitch against on Thursday morning AEDT as he seeks to add to the 17 goals already scored for City in 11 appearances.

And after his third treble in successive home matches, Ryan will provide the last line of defence for the Danish Superliga champions.

Ryan moved to Denmark this season after a brief spell in Spain but knows all about the perils of facing City, against whom he conceded 21 goals in seven Premier League matches when at Brighton.

Haaland during training in preparation for Manchester City’s Group G match against FC Copenhagen.
Haaland during training in preparation for Manchester City’s Group G match against FC Copenhagen. Photograph: Matt McNulty/Manchester City/Manchester City FC/Getty Images

The 30-year-old World Cup-bound keeper has settled in well at his new club and enjoyed a clean sheet at the weekend in a win over Aarhus but is now facing a player who City manager Pep Guardiola says “at his age, no one can compete with him.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” Guardiola saud. “And inside, in the locker room, and on the pitch, we see things that are not in the stats that make us feel happy to have him here.”

Haaland averages a goal every 54 minutes for City, with 42 shots and three assists, two of which came alongside his hat-trick in Sunday’s derby win.

Against Copenhagen he will seek to add to his 26 Champions League goals from 21 matches.

Haaland is just the start of Jacob Neestrup’s worries after the Copenhagen manager lost his captain Zeca for the season to a serious knee injury.

“Haaland is obviously one of the best strikers in the world at the moment – if not the best – and we will do what we can to limit his possibilities,” said Neestrup.

“But there are also 10 other players we will need to be aware of. People talk about their big names but I am more impressed by them collectively.”