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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Night of Comebacks as Malaga, Porto Book Last 16 Slots

City boss Mancini has a word with referees after 2-2 Ajax stalemate
English champions Manchester City and German outfit Schalke 04 both had to come from two goals down to salvage a point against Ajax and Arsenal respectively as the Champions League return leg matches started Tuesday night.


Manchester City fell behind 2-0 in just over quarter an hour against Ajax at the Eitihad Stadium with Dutch international Seim de Jong scoring both goals. Yaya Toure pulled one back for the Citizens halfway through the first half and Argentine hotshot Sergio Aguero netted in the 74th minute to end it 2-2 at the final whistle but a point doesn’t look good enough for Roberto Mancini’s side who look certain to be eliminated.

City sit rock bottom in the Group D with two points and even victory in their two remaining matches against group leaders Borussia Dortmund and second-placed Real Madrid may still not be enough to sail them through to the knockout stages.

The ‘Group of Death’s’ other hopefuls Dortmund and Madrid were also involved in a 2-2 stalemate which ensured they remain first and second in the group respectively. Marco Reus gave the German champions the lead in the 28th minute with a fine swerving volley but Pepe restored parity in the 34th minute for Los Blancos only for Arbeloa to score an own goal to restore the German’s lead just before the interval.

Jose Mourinho’s men had the lion share of possession in the second period but could not break down a stubborn Dortmund defence. It took a Mesut Ozil master set piece in the dying minutes of the game to salvage a draw for Madrid and deny Jurgen Klopp’s charges from completing a historic double over the 9-time Champions League winners.

Meanwhile highflying Spanish side Malaga and Portuguese champions Porto became the first teams to book their slot in the round of 16. Malaga conceded their first goal of the Champions league season in their 1-1 away draw to AC Milan.

 

Eliseu put the visitors ahead five minutes before the break and they looked on course to maintain their 100% win record in Group C until Alexandre Pato popped in with the equalizer in the 73rd minute. The point however ensured the Boquerones progression from the Group with two games to spare while Massimiliano Allegri's side continue to struggle in the group.

 

Anderlecht brought themselves back into the qualification mix with a 1-0 win over Zenit Saint Petersburg, their first in the group. The win moved them above Zenit into third place, a point less than second-placed Milan.

 

Meanwhile Arsenal continued with their latest struggles as they surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Schalke. Contract rebel Theo Walcott continued his fine goal-scoring streak with the opener after 18 minutes and Olivier Giroud doubled the lead eight minutes later only for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jefferson Farfan to ensure the stalemates were shared in front of a home crowd.

 

The draw leaves the group as open as any other and both teams will have to look over their shoulders as Olympiakos Piraeus’s 3-1 win over Montpellier sees them only a point inferior to the Gunners and two adrift of Schalke who lead Group B on 8 points.

 

Porto also ensured their qualification from Group A in spite of their barren draw away to Dynamo Kiev. Big-spending French side Paris Saint Germain looks certain to join the Portuguese after they mauled Dinamo Zagreb 4-0. Alex’s first half strike was added onto in the second half by Blaise Matuidi, Jeremy Menez and Guillaume Hoarau as PSG ran the rings around their opponents who have been eliminated with no points thus far.

 

The fifth round of the return leg matches will be played in a fortnight. 


And That's thesteifmastertake!!