By Niall Clarke
- Manchester United lose to Wolfsburg; PSV defeat CSKA Moscow
- United are out of the Champions League and will enter the Europa League
- Manchester City seal top spot with 4-2 victory against Borussia Monchengladbach
Manchester United are out of the Champions League after suffering a 3-2 away defeat at Wolfsburg.
Football: Full Results, Fixtures, Tables & More
The Red Devils had been criticised pre game for the lack of impetuous going forward, and if anything it was said a lack of goals might cost them.
However that was not the case, in fact it was the exact opposite of what people were expecting. Going forward, Louis Van Gaal’s had far more cutting edge than in recent matches. Scoring two goals away against a tricky Wolfsburg side is nothing to be scoffed at.
What was laughable however was the leaky defence that ultimately ended up costing them. Twice United were in a good position to advance, and twice they conceded almost straight away.
The Red Devils made a good start when Juan Mata’s pass was latched on to by Anthony Martial who calmly slotted by the on rushing Diego Benaglio.
The lead would last in exess of three minutes when Naldo’s sharp volley caught out the United defence for the equaliser.
It went from bad to worse for the Premier League side when Vierinha finished off an excellent passing move from close range.
Just before half time, it looked like the Red Devils had pulled it level, but Mata was ruled to be impeding the goal keeper as he attempted to head in Jesse Lingard’s cross, which ended up going all the way into the net.
It was a controversial decision, but replays showed that the Spaniard did make an attempt towards the ball, and thus under the new rules was rightly judged offside.
Needing to score with the risk of the PSV Eindhoven vs CSKA Moscow game not going their way, United pushed forward in the second half but found a resilient Wolfsburg defence hard to break down.
Instead it would be an own goal that put United in a good position to qualify. Marouane Fellaini proved difficult to handle in the air, and it was his header that caused Josuha Guilavogui to head into his own net.
But like in the first half when they took the lead, Van Gaal’s switched off at the back and once again conceded almost straight away. It was Naldo again, this time with his head, that dealt the crucial blow that ended United’s hopes of progression.
That was because PSV Eindhoven ran out 2-1 victors at home to CSKA Moscow. The Dutch side came from behind to seal a famous victory that takes them into the knockout stage for the first time since the 2006/2007 season.
United fans may point to Mata’s disallowed goal, but in truth it was the usually solid defence that let them down on the night. But the key result may have come when they drew 0-0 at home to PSV in matchday 5.
City win thriller to finish top of group
For the Blue half of Manchester it was a night of celebration. Not only did the Citizens’ fierce rivals, Manchester United, crash out of the competition, City themselves secured top position in group D with a 4-2 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.
Sevilla’s 1-0 victory over Juventus secured City’s standing as group winners, and it means they will avoid the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona in the last 16.
Having secured qualification, one would not have blamed Manuel Pellegrini for resting a few players given the recent injury issues with Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero. However the Chilean fielded a strong side against the inform Gladbach, who themselves defeated Bayern Munich 3-1 over the weekend.
Despite the Premier League side taking the lead with David Silva’s thunderous finish, the German side controlled the first period. Silva’s effort was quickly cancelled out by Julian Korb and Raffael completed the turn-around just before half time.
However, in the second half we saw a completely different Manchester City. They pressed the Bundesliga outfit more off the ball and therefore gained control of the match.
Raheem Sterling capped his 21st birthday celebrations with two goals in as many minutes to turn the match completely on its head, before Wilfried Bony sealed a potentially crucial victory for City.
In Spain, Fernando Llorente came back to bite his former club Juventus with a head that sealed a 1-0 victory for Sevilla. The Europa League champions will now re-enter the competition as a result of their third place finish.
Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo made history with an 8-0 win over a sorry Malmo side at the Bernabeu.
The result matches the highest win margin in Champions League history which was previously held by Liverpool when they defeated Besiktas by the same scoreline. Fun stat: Rafael Benitez was the manager both times.
Ronaldo grabbed four goals in the rout and in the process broke his own record of goals scored in the group stage with 11.
In the group’s other game, Paris Saint Germain ran out 2-0 victors against Shakhtar Donetsk with goals from Lucas Moura and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The good news for Madrid did not stop with Real. Atletico secured top spot in their group with a 2-1 win at Benfica. Galatasaray and Astana played out a 1-1 draw in Istanbul.
The Champions League returns tomorrow with Chelsea and Arsenal in crucial Matchday six games.
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