Champions League wrap: Bayern seals group, Real Madrid tops Inter

Nicholas Mendola
·5 min read

The general buzz after some sleepy first halves around the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday was that Europe’s attacks were unconsciously paying their respects to one of the world’s greatest after Diego Maradona passed away at the age of 60.

[ MORE: Champions League Tuesday round-up ]

There was more robust action in the second halves, as Bayern Munich sealed its group and Manchester City a spot in the knockout rounds following wins in the UCL.

USMNT back and Bayern Munich surprise starter Chris Richards got the better of countryman Jesse Marsch’s Red Bull Salzburg as the only Yanks to play influential roles in Wednesday’s match (apologies to Zack Steffen at Man City’s win over Olympiacos, but the No. 2 keeper is just off the influential path for our purposes).

There will be plenty of heat on Antonio Conte as Inter Milan’s knockout round berth is far from assured and AC Milan remains above them on the Serie A table.

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Atleti’s dominant home day at the Wanda Metropolitano did not produce a goal that could withstand VAR, leaving second place in the group up for grabs.

Koke’s second-half goal was offside and caught by the Video Assistant Referee. A 20-4 shot advantage for the hosts did not lead to a breakthrough, and Atleti’s five points are incapable of catching Bayern Munich.

Lokomotiv now sits two back of Atleti while Salzburg’s one point is four back of Diego Simeone’s men.

Bayern Munich 3-1 Red Bull Salzburg

Bayern held a 2-0 lead on a Robert Lewandowski goal before halftime and a Salzburg own goal when Marc Roca was sent off for his second yellow card.

Leroy Sane scored soon after that and Jesse Marsch’s Salzburg only managed a Mergim Berisha goal on a day they missed some prime chances (none bigger than star Dominik Szoboszlai’s lash over the goal).

Marsch wasn’t the only American in the Allianz Arena, as 20-year-old USMNT defender Chris Richards started at left back for Hansi Flick. Richards went 79 minutes, making five tackles, two interceptions, and three clearances while completing 3-of-4 long balls as part of his 85 percent passing day.

Inter Milan 0-2 Real Madrid

Eden Hazard’s conversion of an early penalty won by Nacho Fernandez put Real Madrid ahead in the seventh minute, and Real can thank an old rival for an easier route to victory.

Inter’s Arturo Vidal got two yellow cards in the 33rd minute for his demonstrations after not being given a penalty of his own.

An Achraf Hakimi own goal was prodded by second-half sub Rodrygo as Zinedine Zidane’s men pull in front of Inter for the group’s second spot in the knockout rounds.

Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

It’s Gladbach, not Real Madrid or Inter Milan, who has a hold of Group B after four match days.

The Bundesliga’s clinical hosts were out-attempted 14-13 but had a 3-0 lead by halftime thanks to a Lars Stindl goal and assist to Nico Elvedi plus a Breel Embolo marker before the break.

Three saves from Yann Sommer helped make sure there was no way home but a losing route for Shakhtar.

Oscar Wendt rounded out the scoring and Gladbach has a one-point lead on Real and four-point advantage on Inter with two matchdays left.

Marseille 0-2 Porto

Zaidu Sanusi had the Portuguese up at the break before a pair of red cards set up a 10v10 final 20 minutes.

Marko Grujic saw his second yellow for Porto three minutes before Leonardo Balerdi got his second in the 70th.

That one led to Sergio Oliveira’s penalty, though, and Porto stood firm to take a six-point lead over third-place Olympiacos with two matches to play.

Olympiacos 0-1 Manchester City — RECAP + THREE THINGS

Pep Guardiola says the goals will come for City after a 22-2 advantage in shots included 11 efforts on target but just one ball beyond the grasp of 10-save Jose Sa.

Phil Foden got that goal, finishing off a Raheem Sterling backheel pass in the 36th minute as City’s back line did not allow Olympiacos a shot on target.

Ajax 3-1 Midtjylland

The Danish visitors are out of Europe after their fourth-straight loss of the group stage.

Dusan Tadic had two assists just after halftime as Ryan Gravenbach, Noussair Mazraoui, and David Neres scored and an 80th-minute penalty was Midtjylland’s only route onto the score sheet.

Former Celtic man Erik Sviatchenko was sent off for a last-man-back foul in stoppage time as the Danes finished with 10 men.

Liverpool 0-2 Atalanta — RECAP + THREE THINGS

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds just didn’t have it against desperate Atalanta, failing to muster a shot on target in a rare Anfield loss.

That said, Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens goals without reply mark a fourth-straight season with a Liverpool loss to Serie A competition in the UCL. The Reds lost to Roma in the second leg of a 2017-18 UCL knockout round tie, then fell to Napoli in successive group stages.

The Reds still lead Group D by two points with two matches to play, and chasers Ajax and Atalanta still have to scrap once more.

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Champions League wrap: Bayern seals group, Real Madrid tops Inter originally appeared on NBCSports.com