Tuesday 16 January 2018

Benzema hat-trick snuffs out Auxerre's Europa hopes

Real Madrid snuffed out Auxerre's hopes of a Europa League place when Karim Benzema's hat-trick and a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo lifted the La Liga giants to a 4-0 win in Champions League Group G last night.

The French club needed a point at the Bernabeu to have any hope of pipping Ajax to third place, with Real already through to the last 16 as group winners and Serie A side AC Milan assured of second spot.

Ajax bagged the Europa League place from the group in Frank De Boer's first game as caretaker manager with a 2-0 win over a second-string Milan outfit.

Demy de Zeeuw rifled in after 57 minutes and Toby Alderweireld smashed home from further out.

Shakhtar Donetsk completed a fine campaign as Group H winners after a 2-0 win over Braga sent the Ukraine side into the last 16 for the first time. Former Celtic winger Aiden McGeady helped consign Rangers to the bottom half of the Europa League draw as his Spartak Moscow side bettered the Scottish side's Champions League record.

Group winners:Tottenham, Schalke, Man United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Group runners-up: Inter Milan, Lyon, Valencia, FC Copenhagen, Roma, Marseilles, AC Milan, Arsenal.

  • The eight group winners are seeded, with the eight runners-up unseeded. The runners-up are drawn first and play the first-leg matches at home. They cannot be paired with either the winners from their section or clubs from the same association.
  • Draw for first knockout round on Dec 17.

l Ties to be played on Feb 15-23 and March 8-16.

Europa League qualifiers: FC Twente, Benfica, Rangers, Rubin Kazan, Basel, Spartak Moscow, Ajax, Braga.

Irish Independent

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