Dangerous Dortmund crush Ajax to progress
By Dylan King
German champions Borussia Dortmund made sure of their place in the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2003 with a comprehensive dismantling of Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA last night.
Goals by Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and a Robert Lewandowski brace earned unbeaten Dortmund top spot in Group D with a game to spare.
Danny Hoesen netted Ajax’s consolation in the closing minutes.
Porto and Paris St Germain will play off in Paris next month to determine the winners of Group A after both sides underlined their progression to the knockout stages with easy wins.
Porto remain a point clear at the top of the group after a 3-0 home win over pointless Dinamo Zagreb, Lucho Gonzalez putting them ahead in the 20th minute before second-half strikes from Joao Moutinho and Silvestre Varela.
Ezequiel Lavezzi struck both goals as Paris St Germain secured their place in the last 16 with a 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev.
Schalke have joined Arsenal in the knockout stages of the competition after a solitary goal from Christian Fuchs guided them to a 1-0 victory over Olympiacos.
Fuchs struck with 13 minutes remaining as the Bundesliga side finally broke down a stubborn Olympiacos side.
It means Schalke are top of Group B, one point ahead of Arsenal, with one game to play.
In Group C, Malaga qualified for the knockout phase as winners despite a second-half comeback from Zenit St Petersburg in a 2-2 draw in Russia last night.
The points looked like they were heading in only one direction when the La Liga side took a two-goal lead inside nine minutes — Diego Buonanotte opening the scoring and Sebastian Fernandez profiting from a goalkeeping error.
But Zenit fought back and goals from Danny (49) and Viktor Fayzulin (86), earned them a share of the spoils.
AC Milan will join Malaga in the knockout stages. Philippe Mexes scored a stunning overhead kick as the Italians assured themselves of a place in the knockout stages with 3-1 victory over 10-man Anderlecht at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
The in-form Stephan El Shaarawy gave Milan the lead in the 47th minute before Mexes doubled the advantage in the 72nd minute with his magnificent effort, which rivalled Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s recent effort for Sweden against England for pure audacity.
Bram Nuytinck saw red for Anderlecht but they pulled a goal back through substitute Tom De Sutter.
Brazilian Alexandre Pato sealed the Italian side’s triumph with a stoppage-time third.
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