Champions League: Sporting dump Dortmund out, Real and Inter progress
Sporting beat 10-man Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on Wednesday to clinch their spot in the Champions League knockout stages and eliminate their opponents.
Pedro Gonçalves scored twice in the first half to put the Portuguese side on track to progress from Group C, based on their head-to-head record against Dortmund. The playmaker pounced on a poor clearance from Nico Schulz to score the first, then rifled home from just outside the area.
The visitors, who were without the injured striker Erling Braut Haaland, saw Emre Can sent off 16 minutes from time after an altercation with Pedro Porro. Gonçalves had the chance to seal his hat-trick from the penalty spot but Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel denied him, only for Porro to head home the rebound.
Donyell Malen scored a late consolation for the German side, who will now drop into the Europa League. “We are discussing the same mistakes we keep making,” the Dortmund captain, Marco Reus, said. “Even with 10 [men] we were better than Sporting were. They did little but still won 3-1. It was a terrible evening. We are eliminated and that is the truth.”
Ajax, who had already secured their last 16 place, made it five wins from five in Group C as they came from behind to beat Besiktas 2-1 in Turkey. Rachid Ghezzal had put the hosts in front from the penalty spot but Sébastien Haller came off the bench to score two goals, taking his tally in the competition this season to nine.
Real Madrid sealed their place in the last 16 by winning 3-0 away to Sheriff Tiraspol. David Alaba fired the visitors ahead with a deflected free-kick in the 30th minute and Toni Kroos doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time with a fine shot that cannoned in off the bar.
Karim Benzema made it 3-0 to Carlo Ancelotti’s side with a sublime effort from the edge of the penalty area, before Adama Traoré and Sebastien Thill went close for the hosts, who had stunned Real with a 2-1 win at the Bernabéu in September but must now settle for a Europa League place.
That result also means Internazionale have reached the last 16 for the first time since 2011-12, after Edin Dzeko’s quickfire double earned a 2-0 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk. The Bosnian swept home after 61 minutes to give Inter a deserved lead at San Siro after they had been left frustrated by two disallowed goals and a string of missed opportunities. Dzeko then headed in an Ivan Perisic cross to secure victory; Inter travel to the Bernabéu for their final group game with top spot in Group D up for grabs.
In Group A, RB Leipzig sealed third spot and Europa League football with a 5-0 win at Club Brugge. Emil Forsberg and Christopher Nkunku both scored twice as Leipzig hit four goals in the first half.
In the Europa League, Spartak Moscow defeated Napoli 2-1 thanks to two goals from striker Aleksandr Sobolev – a result that leaves Group C wide open before Leicester’s match with Legia Warsaw. Sobolev fired Spartak ahead with a third-minute penalty amid driving snow in Moscow, and made it 2-0 with a far-post header in the 28th minute. Eljif Elmas pulled a goal back with a second-half header, and Spartak keeper Aleksandr Selikhov produced a number of saves to deny the visitors an equaliser.
Spartak top the group on seven points, edging Napoli on head-to-head record. Legia have six points, with Leicester bottom on five – but Brendan Rodgers’ side can go top with a home win on Thursday.