Football

A three-way battle for second spot

Looking ahead: Atletico Madrid will hope that Antoine Griezmann gets on the score-sheet against Porto.  

Porto, AC Milan and Atletico will battle it out for the second qualification spot behind Liverpool in Group B when the final round of group games in the Champions League kicks off on Tuesday night.

Two-time former European champion Porto hold a one-point edge over both rivals ahead of the visit of Atletico. Milan hosts a Liverpool side that Jurgen Klopp could rotate heavily ahead of a busy festive schedule.

Current La Liga champion Atletico is in danger of not advancing to the knock-out stage, as it sits last in Group B.

It has to win at second-place Porto on Tuesday and hope that AC Milan draws or loses at home against group-winner Liverpool.

Thirteen-time European champion Real Madrid, meanwhile, will be among those looking to clinch first place in its group, which is more likely to secure an easier match in the last 16.

Madrid hosts Inter Milan on Tuesday in a match between two teams who have already secured a last-16 spot and who can both still win Group D.

Madrid leads Inter by two points so a point will be enough for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

Club Brugge and RB Leipzig have no chance of reaching the last 16 but they can still join Borussia Dortmund and Sheriff in the playoffs for the Europa League knockout phase.

Club Brugge and Leipzig are fighting for third place in Group A behind group winner Manchester City and runner-up Paris Saint-Germain. Leipzig will host Man City on Tuesday in an empty stadium due to coronavirus restrictions and with an interim coach in charge after deciding to part ways with American Jesse Marsch on Sunday.

Marsch himself missed the team’s last three games due to his own COVID-19 infection amid an outbreak at the club, but he paid the price for three successive Bundesliga defeats. PSG hosts Club Brugge in the other group game. Both Leipzig and Brugge have four points.


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 3:28:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/a-three-way-battle-for-second-spot/article37873860.ece

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