Arsenal in pre-quarters

Real win to top group; Ludogorets hold Liverpool

Arsenal in pre-quarters

Arsenal held their nerve, their lead and their record of reaching the Champions League knockout stages when they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 on Wednesday to reach the last 16 for the 15th season in a row.

Three weeks after collapsing to a 3-3 draw with Anderlecht at the Emirates stadium after holding a 3-0 lead, Arsenal went ahead in the second minute through Yaya Sanogo and made it 2-0 after 57 minutes through Alexis Sanchez.

This time, though, a similar self-inflicted implosion never looked likely.
Arsenal looked far more assured than they have done recently following two successive Premier League defeats and they inflicted a first Champions League defeat on Dortmund, who stay top of the group with a game to play.

Arsenal can still finish top if they win their last match at Galatasaray and Dortmund lose to Anderlecht, who, like Galatasaray are eliminated.

In Brussels, goals at the end of each half from defender Chancel Mbemba secured Anderlecht a place in the Europa League and consigned visitors Galatasaray to last spot in Champions League Group D.

Liverpool stumble again
A late header from defender Georgi Terziev earned Ludogorets a 2-2 draw with an unimpressive Liverpool that left the English side facing a winner-takes-all final match with FC Basel.

Ludogorets went ahead in the third minute when Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet failed to deal with an awkward bounce following Marcelinho's long-range effort and Dani Abalo was on hand to tap in from close range.

Liverpool levelled five minutes later when Rickie Lambert netted a header from close range following farcical defending by Romania centre back Cosmin Moti. Jordan Henderson made it 2-1 eight minutes before the break, making no mistake at the back post from Raheem Sterling's precise left-wing cross.

Yet the home side refused to surrender and Terziev headed home with four minutes remaining.

The Reds are third in the standings on four points, two behind Basel, and need to beat the Swiss side at Anfield in the final round of Group B matches to secure a last-16 spot.
Meanwhile the Group B toppers, Real Madrid made their way into the last 16 of the competition as Cristiano Ronaldo renewed his personal battle with Lionel Messi by scoring his 71st Champions League goal, putting him three behind the Argentine's newly-set record, in Real Madrid's 1-0 win at FC Basel.

Mandzukic spurs Atlectico
A fired-up Atletico Madrid swept into the last 16 with a game to spare when Mario Mandzukic netted a hat-trick in a crushing 4-0 win at home to Olympiakos Piraeus in Group A on Wednesday.

Germans stunned
Monaco stunned Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 with a late goal against the run of play from substitute Lucas Ocampos to revive their Champions League qualifying hopes and scupper the Germans' plans to top Group C with a game to spare.

Ocampos had been on for only two minutes when he sneaked into the box in the 72nd to slide the ball home after the Germans, who had won their previous three group games, had dominated but were again frustrated by an overly defensive Monaco outfit.

Leverkusen, who have now lost twice to Monaco, had already qualified for the Round of 16 without kicking a ball after Zenit St Petersburg beat Benfica 1-0 earlier.

Results: Group A: Atletico Madrid: 4 (Garcia 9th, Mandzukic 38th, 62th, 65th) bt Olympiakos Piraeus: 0; Malmo FF: 0 lt to Juventus: 2 (Llorente 49th, Tevez 88th). 
          
Group B: Ludogorets: 2 (Abalo 3rd, Terziev 88th) drew Liverpool: 2 (Rickie Lambert 8th, Jordan Henderson 37th); Basel: 0 lt to Real Madrid: 1 (Ronaldo 35th).      
                       
Group C: Bayer Leverkusen: 0 lt to Monaco: 1 (Lucas Ocampos 722nd); Zenit St Petersburg: 1 (Danny 79th) bt Benfica: 0. 

Group D: Anderlecht: 2 (Chancel Mbemba 44th, 86th) bt Galatasaray: 0; Arsenal: 2 (Yaya 2nd, Sanchez 57th) bt Borussia Dortmund: 0          

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