Sunday, March 29, 2020
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New captain Cesc Fabregas got the win he wanted after his vision allowed Nicklas Bendtner to show that he really is a footballer by thrashing home a superb strike to down ten-man Dynamo Kiev 1-0 at the Emirates.  A less than convincing performance, albeit from a very young team, was enough to edge an unpredictably dull encounter.

 

 

Not that Arsene Wenger will care; a point against Porto will be enough to top the group having already qualified for the knock-out stages.  Porto themselves are through, beating Fenerbache in Istanbul. Once a rarity, the Turkish giants are now making a habit of it. Losing 2-0 at half time, the indefatigable Londoner Colin Kazim-Richards gave the hosts some hope - false though it eventually was - by pulling one back. 

 

Manchester United and Villarreal both qualified from Group E after playing the out the most predictable draw since Denmark and Sweden conspired to send the Italians packing at Euro 2004. In the same group Celtic proved that they are making absolutely no year-on-year progress by losing to Aalborg in Denmark. This despite being 1-0 up with 10 minutes to go. Surely the best opportunity for years to win an away game in the Champions League has just been passed up, as odds of 2-1 on a home victory indicated.

 

 

Real Madrid ensured progress to the latter stages thanks to Raul’s strike after 7 minutes away to BATE in front of 5,000 people and no Sky red button viewers. Qualification was only possible thanks to Juventus playing out a 0-0 draw against Zenit St.Petersburg. The Old Lady of Turin will now just need to keep BATE entertained for an evening, to make sure she makes future nights just as easy.  

 

Finally, in Group F, things did not improve for Fiorentina as they lost 2-1 at home to Lyon. The French champions will be joined in the last sixteen by Bayern Munich who thrashed Steaua Bucharest 3-0. Playing very much like Celtic, the Italian team have disappointed throughout this campaign and now need a point to ensure they join the UEFA cup.  

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