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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 24 March, 2018

Bayern gain revenge but PSG win group as Barcelona progress unbeaten

Here are the teams who have progressed through to the knock-out stages.

BARCELONA ROUNDED OFF an unbeaten Champions League group stage as Paco Alcacer’s header and a late own goal from Jeremy Mathieu secured a 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday.

Spain Soccer Champions League Paco Alcacer heads Barcelona into the lead. Source: Manu Fernandez

Juventus will join the Spanish giants in the last 16 after they too were 2-0 victors away at Olympiakos, relegating Sporting to the consolation of a place in the Europa League in the new year.

With Barcelona already guaranteed top spot in Group D, Lionel Messi was left on the substitutes’ bench for the second consecutive Champions League game as Ernesto Valverde made eight changes from the side that started Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo.

Sporting needed to inflict Barca’s first home defeat in the Champions League for five years to have any chance of joining the Catalans in the knockout stages.

However, the Portuguese side showed little ambition until falling behind.

Barca pressed for an opener before the break but lacked the magic Messi so often provides to unlock a packed defence.

Luis Suarez nearly provided the spark when he cut inside Uruguayan international teammate Sebastian Coates, but placed his shot too close to Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Alcacer opened the scoring just before the hour mark by flicking home Denis Suarez’s corner at the near post past a helpless Patricio.

And despite going in front, Valverde still handed Messi the final half-hour moments later as he replaced Aleix Vidal.

Bas Dost had a huge chance to at least hand Sporting a point, but he was left hugging fellow Dutchman Jasper Cillessen in disbelief after the Barca ‘keeper parried his effort from point-blank range.

Messi was denied his 98th Champions League goal by a stunning stop from Patricio 10 minutes from time.

However, Barca got a helping from one of their former players to round off the scoring in stoppage time when Mathieu turned Denis Suarez’s cross into his own net with Alcacer waiting to apply the finishing touch once more.

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain missed the chance to finish the Champions League group stage with a 100 per cent record as they suffered a 3-1 defeat at Bayern Munich.

Imago 20171205 Corentin Tolisso celebrates the first of his two goals against PSG. Source: Imago/PA Images

Bayern’s 3-0 defeat at the Parc des Princes in the reverse fixture in September marked the end of the Carlo Ancelotti era at the Allianz Arena and Die Roten fans may now see that painful evening as a blessing as PSG’s star-studded forward line was delivered a lesson in ruthlessness by Jupp Heynckes’ men.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar spurned chances for PSG while Edinson Cavani, save for a neat touch to set up Mbappe for the goal that cut Bayern’s lead to 2-1, struggled to make a lasting impression.

By marked contrast Bayern needed little invitation to take full advantage of their attacking openings, Robert Lewandowski’s opener and a brace from former Lyon midfielder Corentin Tolisso doing the damage.

For all PSG’s lavish spending, there was some irony in the fact Kingsley Coman, who they allowed to join Juventus in 2014, supplied the assist for the opener and the goal that put the game to bed.

A disappointing evening for the Ligue 1 leaders was compounded by Thiago Silva being forced off through injury, but PSG can at least console themselves with top spot in Group B, second-placed Bayern unable to record the four-goal margin of victory needed to leapfrog them.

Group A:

Winners: Manchester United
Runners-up: Basel
Europa League: CSKA Moscow

Group B:

Winners: Paris Saint Germain
Runners-up: Bayern Munich
Europa League: Celtic

Group C:

Winners: Roma
Runners-up: Chelsea
Europa League: Atletico Madrid

Group D:

Winners: Barcelona
Runners-up: Juventus
Europa League: Sporting Lisbon

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