PICS: Spurs win group; Liverpool finish behind Napoli

A round-up of Tuesday’s action in the UEFA Champions League.

Late goals from Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez earned Liverpool a 2-0 victory over Napoli on Tuesday but it was not enough to deny the Italians top spot in Champions League Group A.

Both teams had already sealed a knockout-stage place, but top spot in the group, and a potentially more favourable last-16 opponent, was still up for grabs, with Liverpool needing to beat Napoli by four goals or more to sneak to the summit.

The first half felt like an encounter where both teams’ main priority had been fulfilled, but the game sprang to life early in the second when Leo Ostigard thought he had put Napoli in front, only for his header to be ruled off-side after a VAR check.

With nothing to lose and top spot out of reach Liverpool did at least manage to secure victory on the night, with Salah prodding home at the far post five minutes from time, before Nunez added a second in stoppage time.

Napoli’s 4-1 demolition of Liverpool in their group opener in September proved crucial in the end, as they finished on 15 points, the same as Liverpool, but with a better goal difference in clashes between the pair.

When the draw was made, few would have tipped Napoli to be group winners ahead of last season’s finalists Liverpool, but Luciano Spalletti’s team have been in sensational form right from the start of the campaign.

Napoli travelled to England unbeaten in all competitions all season, having won their last 13 games in a row – a run stretching back to before their humiliation of Liverpool in September.

They took a more reserved approach from the off at Anfield, happy to sit back and invite pressure from the hosts.

Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen, who had scored six goals in his previous four games in all competitions, should have done better from a good position in the first half, before Liverpool countered and Thiago Alcantara brought a fine save out of Alex Meret in the away goal.

The game needed something to ignite it, and Napoli’s overturned opener did just that, with the Italians frustrated by how long the decision took to make.

Liverpool stepped it up a gear after that, with Nunez making a real difference when he came off the bench.

It was the Uruguayan whose header was saved before Salah prodded in, and he showed his poacher’s instincts at the death to tap home, a goal awarded following another lengthy VAR review.

Salah has now scored 43 Champions League goals and is just one goal away from equalling Didier Drogba as the top scoring African player in the competition.

Spurs beat Marseille, qualify as Group D winners

Tottenham Hotspur grabbed an unlikely last-gasp 2-1 victory at Olympique de Marseille to reach the Champions League last 16 as Group D winners after a nerve-jangling conclusion.

The Londoners, who needed only to avoid defeat to go through, suffered a first-half siege and trailed to Chancel Mbemba’s header in stoppage time before the break.

However, French central defender Clement Lenglet proved to be Tottenham’s saviour when he headed in his first goal for the club in the 54th minute to bring the scores level.

Spurs, who lost forward Son Heung-min to a head injury in a torrid opening period, were a different team after the interval and took control after Lenglet’s equaliser.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg struck the crossbar for the visitors but Marseille should have scored late on when Sead Kolasinac somehow missed an open goal with a header.

Hojbjerg then sealed the victory in stoppage time to put Tottenham top of the group and leave Marseille, who at one point in the evening were top, in fourth spot and out of Europe.

Marseille’s Virage Nord section of their Stade Velodrome was closed because of crowd trouble but the noise was still deafening from the moment the game kicked off.

Only a victory would do for the home side and they set about trying to get it in frenzied fashion, swarming all over Spurs whose coach Antonio Conte had to sweat in the stands after his red card in last week’s draw with Sporting.

Former Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez almost scored in the third minute with a deft header and soon after produced a great turn to force a save from Hugo Lloris.

Lloris also kept out Jordan Veretout’s fierce volley and Tottenham’s night took a turn for the worse when Son had to go off after a nasty collision with Mbemba.

The visitors were hanging on and hoping for the halftime whistle when Mbemba rose high into the air to thump a header past Lloris from Veretout’s cross to open the scoring.

At that stage it was hard to see how Spurs could recover but they were transformed after the break.

Lenglet headed in Ivan Perisic’s pinpoint delivery to get Tottenham level and their confidence soared.

A goal would still have taken Marseille through and they came close on several occasions but Spurs wrapped it up in stoppage time when Harry Kane released Hjojberg who smashed a shot into the net to send the visiting fans into ecstasy

Tottenham won the group on 11 points with Eintracht Frankfurt on 10, Sporting with seven and Marseille on six.

Eintracht rally to down Sporting and reach last 16

Eintracht Frankfurt staged a second-half comeback by scoring twice in 10 minutes to beat hosts Sporting 2-1 and qualify for the Champions League last 16 for the first time, knocking the Portuguese out of the competition.

The Europa League champions pulled themselves out of the depths of despair at half-time when they were facing certain elimination and with goals from Daichi Kamada and Randal Kolo Muani after the break left the pitch as unlikely winners.

Eintracht finished Group D in second place on 10 points from six games, with Tottenham Hotspur top on 11 after their last-gasp 2-1 victory at bottom club Olympique de Marseille. Sporting are third and will continue in the Europa League.

Sporting needed only a point to advance to the knockout stages but would have fallen a goal behind in the 13th minute were it not for a reflex save by Sporting keeper Antonio Adan to stop team mate Paulinho from heading an own goal.

The hosts had Nuno Santos taken off with what looked like a serious ankle injury early in the game but still took the lead when winger Arthur Gomes volleyed home at the far post after a looping cross was headed on in the 39th minute.

Eintracht hardly got a look-in during the first half and were clearly lacking ideas, with Sporting doing really well to quickly shut down spaces.

But the hosts lost their way when Eintracht came out fighting, desperate for a win to secure a top-two finish.

The pressure soon paid off when a handball by Sporting captain Sebastian Coates in the 62nd gave Frankfurt a penalty and Kamada drew them level with a well-taken spot kick.

France international Kolo Muani then powered into the box and drilled home the winner in the 72nd to complete their comeback and secure a place in the knockout stages of their first Champions League campaign.

Bayern end perfect group stage with win over Inter

Bayern Munich completed a perfect group stage by beating fellow qualifiers Inter Milan 2-0 thanks to goals from Benjamin Pavard and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in their final Group C game.

Bayern ended top on 18 points, eight ahead of second-placed Inter with both teams having already reached the knockout stage.

Barcelona finished third on seven points, eliminated in the group stage and having to settle for a Europa League place for the second year in a row.

With Bayern and Inter having nothing riding on the game, it was an affair that won’t live long in the memory.

Having won their last six games in all competitions and with Group C top spot already secured, Bayern’s Julian Nagelsmann rested several regulars and Inter were better at the beginning.

They pressed the hosts early and complained about a handball inside the area by a Bayern defender at the beginning of the first half but the referee, after checking the pitchside monitor, decided there was no infringement.

Inter could have scored first in the 27th minute if Lautaro Martinez had not missed a sitter. Robin Gosens made a great run down the left and delivered a perfect low cross to the Argentine who ballooned his close-range finish over an empty goal.

In the very next move, Pavard did score for Bayern with a header from a perfectly placed Joshua Kimmich corner.

Bayern took control but only extended their lead midway through the second half when Choupo-Moting drilled an unstoppable long-range strike into the top right corner.

The Cameroon striker has six goals and two assists in the last five games for Bayern in all competitions.

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