LONDON, Nov 2: English clubs shone in the Champions League on Wednesday as Tottenham humbled Real Madrid and Manchester City beat Napoli to secure their places in the knockout stages with two games remaining.
Tottenham ended Real’s five-year unbeaten run in the Champions League group stage with a storming 3-1 at Wembley. Dele Alli scored twice on his return from a three-game suspension. City muscled its way to a 4-2 win over Napoli as Sergio Aguero took the club’s all-time scoring record.
Liverpool made it three wins from three for English clubs with a straightforward 3-0 victory over Slovenian outsider Maribor. Liverpool can qualify by beating Sevilla in its next game.
Monaco and Leipzig risk elimination after their Group G rivals Besiktas and Porto picked up valuable points.
Liverpool wasn’t quite as imperious as in its previous 7-0 hammering of Maribor, but three second-half goals were enough for a win that makes the Reds highly likely to qualify.
Maribor’s defense managed to hold Liverpool at bay until Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 49th minute. More goals followed from Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge, while James Milner missed a penalty.
That leaves Liverpool in first place, one point ahead of Sevilla, which beat Spartak Moscow 2-1 to gain a measure of revenge for its 5-1 loss in the Russian capital two weeks ago.
In contrast to the disarray in Moscow, Sevilla played with a calm authority from the start and took a 2-0 lead through Clement Lenglet and Ever Banega. A consolation goal from Ze Luis came too late to spark a comeback from the Russian champion.
Manchester City made it four wins from four with victory in Naples as it qualified for the knockout stages for the fifth year in a row.
Lorenzo Insigne put Napoli ahead in the 21st — the first time since August that City had conceded the opening goal of any game. Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones scored for City to turn the match around, before Jorginho equalized for the hosts from the penalty spot. But Aguero’s goal on a counterattack, his 178th for the club, gave him the City scoring record and Raheem Sterling added the visitors’ fourth in stoppage time.
Shakhtar Donetsk hasn’t made it past the group stage since the 2014-15 season, but looks likely to do so this campaign after beating Feyenoord 3-1 to tighten its hold on second place.
For the second time in two games against Shakhtar, Feyenoord took an early lead but was later overwhelmed by the Ukrainian team, whose attacking midfielder Marlos finished with two goals.
Turkey’s Besiktas continued its strong group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw against Monaco that keeps it unbeaten.
With just two points from four games, Monaco is last in the group and facing an early exit. However, its prospects would have been very different if a shot by Keita Balde hadn’t been saved by Besiktas goalkeeper Fabri in stoppage time.
Monaco must now beat Porto and Leipzig in its last two games to stand any chance of qualifying.
Aiming for its first appearance in the knockout phase, Besiktas now sits four points clear at the top from Porto. The Portuguese club beat Leipzig 3-1 to move second in the group, two points ahead of the defeated German team, which is in its debut Champions League campaign.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will face criticism from fans of the reigning Spanish and European championa after a poor showing away to Tottenham.
Two goals from Dele Alli and one from Christian Eriksen gave Tottenham a commanding lead that ensured the London club qualified for the knockout stages for only the second time, and first since 2010-11.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 80th-minute goal meant little outside this season’s Champions League goalscorer standings, which he leads by one goal from Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
Madrid has now won only two of its last five games in all competitions, including a draw at home with Tottenham and a loss in the Spanish league to Girona on Sunday.
The group’s other two teams, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia, are mathematically still in contention to qualify but realistically have almost no chance after their 1-1 draw. Either would now need to beat both Tottenham and Madrid to stand any chance of reaching the knockout stages.