Saturday 16 December 2017

Heartache for McGeady as Marseille run riot to end Spartak hopes

champions league round-up

Aiden McGeady suffered European heartache last night as his Spartak Moscow team were hammered at home by Olympique Marseille.

The French champions reached the knockout round with a game to spare after an impressive victory, which ended 10-man Spartak's hope of qualification from Group F.

Mathieu Valbuena put Marseille in front in the 18th minute and Loic Remy doubled the lead nine minutes after the break.

Brazilian striker Brandao sealed a well-deserved victory in the 68th minute to ensure they'll progress from the group with Chelsea.

Spartak, who had Brazilian striker Welliton sent off for pushing Souleymane Diawara midway through the second half, will need to avoid a big defeat at bottom side Zilina in their last encounter to finish third and qualify for the Europa League.

French striker Karim Benzema, ex-Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa and a Cristiano Ronaldo brace earned Real Madrid a resounding 4-0 victory in their clash with Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena in Group G.


Benzema opened the scoring for the Spanish giants -- who finished the game with nine men -- after 36 minutes, with Arbeloa sweeping home a second a minute before half-time.

Ronaldo added a third after 70 minutes and stroked home a penalty nine minutes from the end as Jose Mourinho's men guaranteed themselves top spot in the group.

The match ended on a bizarre note for the visitors when Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos were both sent off after picking up second yellow cards for time wasting, meaning they will serve their suspensions in the dead rubber meeting with Auxerre.

In the same group Zlatan Ibrahimavic's 65th-minute goal and an injury-time effort from Ronaldinho gave AC Milan a 2-0 victory in Auxerre. They progressed to the last 16 as runners-up.

In Group E Roma fought back from 2-0 down to claim an incredible victory against Bayern Munich in Italy.

Mario Gomes goals in the 33rd and 39th minutes had the visitors in control, but Roma hit back through Marco Borrielo (49) and Daniele De Rossi (81), before a Francesco Totti penalty in the 84th minute completed the turnaround to keep Roma's hopes of qualification to the last 16 alive.

Basle ground out a crucial 1-0 success over Cluj in the group's other game, Federico Almerares nabbing the all-important goal after 15 minutes.

In Group H former Arsenal man Eduardo got one of the goals for Shakhtar Donetsk in a 3-0 victory away to Partizan Belgrade.

Irish Independent

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