Liverpool and Ajax prepare for Champions League round of 16

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GENEVA – Liverpool and Ajax extended their record of perfect Champions League wins on Wednesday to advance to the round of 16 – which is starting to take on an air of return in the 1970s.

Liverpool beat Atlético Madrid 2-0 at Anfield and Ajax hit Borussia Dortmund at 10 with late goals in a 3-1 win from behind in Germany.

The four teams with four consecutive wins – after Bayern Munich and Juventus sealed their places on Tuesday – have already given the knockout squad a nostalgic feel. Ajax, Bayern and Liverpool combined to win all eight European Cup titles 1971-78.

Liverpool had never opened a Champions League group stage with four wins, although they were rarely troubled against Atlético in Group B after Diogo Jota and Sadio Mané scored in the opening 21 minutes. Atlético fell to third place in the group behind Porto, held to a 1-1 draw behind AC Milan.

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Ajax are having an exceptional Champions League campaign after being ignored by the Super League founders of England, Italy and Spain when they lined up their ill-fated project several months ago.

The Dutch champion won back-to-back victories against Dortmund, which sent veteran defender Mats Hummels sent off in the first half.

Dortmund, second, are six points behind Ajax in Group C with two rounds remaining. Dortmund are tied on points with Sporting Lisbon, who beat Beşiktaş 4-0 and will then host the German side on November 24.

Real Madrid and Inter Milan – two of the 12 clubs in the Super League – have taken control of Group D from the new Sheriff after important wins on Wednesday.

Karim Benzema’s goals helped Madrid beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 and lead the standings two points behind Inter. The Italian champion won back-to-back victories against Sheriff, 3-1 away from the Moldovan champion.

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Manchester City dominated Club Brugge 4-1 and were awarded first place in Group A after a late drama in Leipzig where Paris Saint-Germain drew 2-2.

A PSG side missing injured Lionel Messi rallied around an early push from Leipzig to lead at half-time thanks to two goals from Georgino Wijnaldum. But PSG lost points after a penalty in stoppage time for Leipzig replacement Dominik Szoboszlai.

City took a one-point lead over PSG before meeting in Manchester in three weeks.

ALEXANDER-ARNOLD ASSISTS

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold typically creates as many scoring opportunities in a season as a playmaker wearing No.10.

His precision goes to the heart of the open mouth of the defense of Atlético Madrid to prepare Jota and Mané for goals simply taken.

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They assured Liverpool would be ranked the group winner in the round of 16 on December 13. The 2019 champion is seven points ahead of second-placed Porto.

Atlético’s defeat allowed seven-time European champions AC Milan to qualify for second place in the group, although they only took their first point on Wednesday.

A 1-1 draw with Porto at San Siro ended with 40-year-old Milan substitute Zlatan Ibrahimović, scored by 38-year-old Pepe. Ibrahimović saw a goal disallowed in the dying minutes because a teammate was offside.

Atlético welcome Milan in three weeks while Liverpool welcome Porto.

THE RENAISSANCE OF AJAX

Ajax sold their core of young Dutch talent after their brilliant Champions League run in 2019, just minutes away from reaching the final against Liverpool.

Serbian playmaker Dusan Tadic stayed on and he scored in the 72nd minute on Wednesday to trigger Ajax’s three-goal return to Dortmund.

Sébastien Haller has scored for the fourth game in a row and the former West Ham forward now has seven goals in the group stage.

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Dortmund had led when Marco Reus scored a penalty in the first half after Hummels was sent off. It seemed like a tough decision for a slipped tackle on non-dangerous Brazilian striker Antony.

PSG PAYS A PENALTY

Paris Saint-Germain were already down to an early goal from former player Christopher Nkunku, their fifth for Leipzig in the group stage, when the German side were awarded a 12th-minute penalty.

This Andre Silva shot on goal was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, and PSG turned the tide with Wijnaldum’s first goals for the club.

When a second shot on goal was awarded in the final minutes, Neymar tried to influence the result.

“He asked me, ‘Are you going to score?’ », Declared the taker of Leipzig, Szoboszlai. “I said yes’. He said, ‘Are you sure?’ I said to him, ‘I never fail.’ “

Szoboszlai didn’t and there is now an added advantage to PSG’s next visit to Man City with Club Brugge still in contention just four points from second place.

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“Being second to City doesn’t change anything for us,” PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino said of his resumption of rivalry with Pep Guardiola. “We have to want to go and win the game to try to be at the top of the group.

City have scored goals from Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus after leaving Kevin Kevin De Bruyne to rest before facing Manchester United this weekend.

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