Football

Injury-ravaged Liverpool makes the pre-quarterfinals

Crucial goal: Curtis Jones makes the most of Ajax goalkeeper Onana’s blunder to score Liverpool’s winner.  

Curtis Jones sent a depleted Liverpool through to the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, while Zinedine Zidane dismissed suggestions he might walk away from Real Madrid after another defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk left their European hopes in the balance.

Liverpool was without a host of key players for the visit of Ajax to Anfield in Group D, with 22-year-old Irishman Caoimhin Kelleher starting in goal in the absence of the injured Alisson.

Teenager Jones scored the only goal just before the hour, tucking the ball in after Ajax ‘keeper Andre Onana thought he could afford to let a Neco Williams cross sail over his head.

Liverpool will go through as group winner after Atalanta had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Midtjylland.

Two-time former European champion Porto also sealed a last-16 spot after drawing 0-0 at home to Manchester City.

Porto would have qualified regardless, because Olympiakos lost 2-1 to Marseille in France.

Real Madrid could yet be consigned to the Europa League after it went down 2-0 to Shakhtar in Kiev, its second defeat this season by the Ukrainians with substitutes Dentinho and Manor Solomon scoring second-half goals.

Upper hand

Gladbach is top by a point, while Shakhtar has the upper hand on Real thanks to its superior head-to-head record.

However, the damage was limited for Real after Inter Milan won 3-2 away to Gladbach to keep its own hopes alive.

Matteo Darmian put Inter ahead and Romelu Lukaku scored twice for Antonio Conte’s side.

It means Inter is bottom of the group but could still qualify, while Real will definitely qualify as long as it wins at home to Gladbach.

Tough for Atletico

Real’s city rivals Atletico Madrid will also still have it all to do in its group game after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by a weakened Bayern Munich.

Joao Felix gave Atletico the lead against a Bayern side which had already won Group A. Thomas Muller won and then converted a late penalty to earn the defending champion a draw.

Salzburg can snatch a last-16 place if it beats Atletico at home next week, after the Austrians won 3-1 away to Lokomotiv Moscow.

The results: Group A: Atletico Madrid 1 (Felix 26) drew with Bayern Munich 1 (Muller 86-pen); Lokomotiv Moscow 1 (Miranchuk 79-pen) lsot to Salzburg 3 (Berisha 28, 41, Adeyemi 81).

Group B: M’Gladbach 2 (Plea 45+1, 76) lost to Inter Milan 3 (Darmian 17, Lukaku 64, 73); Shakhtar Donetsk 2 (Dentinho 57, Solomon 82) bt Real Madrid 0.

Group C: Marseille 2 (Payet 55-pen, 75-pen) bt Olympiakos 1 (Camara 33); Porto 0 drew with Manchester City 0.

Group D: Atalanta 1 (Romero 79) drew with Midtjylland 1 (Scholz 13); Liverpool 1 (Jones 58) bt Ajax 0.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:53:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/injury-ravaged-liverpool-makes-the-pre-quarterfinals/article33234147.ece

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