Real Madrid in pre-quarters

Real Madrid in pre-quarters

Borussia Dortmund also qualify

Holders Real Madrid breezed into the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare when a Karim Benzema strike secured a 1-0 win in their Group B match at home to a toothless Liverpool on Tuesday.

Another side who coasted to victory and assured qualification was Borussia Dortmund, who put aside their domestic troubles to qualify from Group D thanks to a routine 4-1 victory over Turkish giants Galatasaray, Arsenal, who were leading 3-0 at home to Anderlecht crashed in spectacular fashion to finish the game 3-3. 

Juventus kept alive their dreams with a stunning late comeback to win 3-2 over Greek side Olympiakos and Leverkusen continued Germany’s good show with an impressive away win over Russian side Zenit. 

But the marquee clash on Tuesday was no doubt between Real and Liverpool, two sides who have the Cup 15 times between them. And Liverpool, who face Chelsea on Saturday in the Premier League, opted to rest several of their A-listers and it had an immediate effect on the match.

Madrid started the match brighter and went ahead through Benzema’s clipped finish from close range in the 27th minute, the France forward's fifth goal in this season's competition, to maintain Real's perfect record in the section with 12 points from four games.

A remarkable late collapse scuppered Arsenal's hopes of qualifying early as Aleksandar Mitrovic's 90th-minute goal earned Anderlecht a deserved draw in Group D.A win would have ensured a place in the knockout rounds for the 15th season in succession and Arsenal appeared home and dry with fine goals by Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain building on Mikel Arteta's 25th-minute penalty.

But Anderlecht produced a late sting on a rainy night in north London, scoring three times in the last 29 minutes to keep alive their remote hopes of progressing.

Juventus scored twice in a minute as they came from behind to clinch a dramatic 3-2 win over Olympiakos after Andrea Pirlo had celebrated his 100th Champions League appearance by scoring from a characteristically effortless free kick on Tuesday.

But against the odds Olympiakos scored twice in the second half to take the lead before an own goal and a winner from Paul Pogba settled the argument for Juventus.

Results: Group A: Malmo: 0 lt to Atletico Madrid: 2 (Koke, Raul Garcia), Juventus: 3 (Andrea Pirlo, Roberto OG, Paul Pogba) bt Olympiakos: 2 (Alberto Botia, Delvin Ndinga); Group B: Basel: 4 (Breel Embolo, Derlis Gonzalez, Shkelzen Gashi, Marek Suchy) bt Ludogorets: 0, Real Madrid: 1 (Karim Benzema) bt Liverpool: 0; Group C: Zenit: 1 (Salomon Rondon) lt to Bayer: 2 (Son Heung Min 2), Benfica: 1 (Anderson Talisca) bt Monaco: 0; Group D: Arsenal: 3 (Mikel Arteta, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) drew Anderlecht: 3 (Anthony Vanden Borre 2, Aleksandar Mitrovic), Borussia Dortmund: 4 (Marko Reus, Sokratis Papastatathopoulos, Ciro Immobile, Semih Kaya OG) bt Galatasaray: 1 (Hakan Balta).