Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It Happened in Europe: Arsenal survive, Chelsea romp into knockout rounds

Group E
AS Roma 0-0 BATE Borisov
A scoreless draw was enough for the Italians to enter the knockout stage over Leverkusen. BATE was less enamored, as they needed all three points to move on.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Barcelona
Barcelona has everything wrapped up, but Leverkusen are playing for their tournament lives, so it was sort of a bad start for them when Lionel Messi scored 20 minutes in. Thankfully, the Mexican international Chicharito Hernandez was able to level three minutes later. That would not be enough for Leverkusen to mage it through however, as the 1-1 draw still keeps then behind Roma.

Roma's thrilling draw means they join Barcelona in the round of 16 while sending Leverkusen to the Europa outrage and BATE Borisov out of Europe for the year.

Group F
Olympiacos 0-3 Arsenal
Arsenal needed to score three goals or win by a two goal margin in order to avoid joining Manchester Uninted in the Europa League. They were off to a good start in the 29th minute when Olivier Giroud gave them the lead. He would double that lead, and, at the time, give Arsenal their round of 16 place, in the 49th minute. A sliding handball in the box in the 66th minute gave Arsenal the third goal that sealed their advancement. Olivier Giroud grabbed his hat trick on the ensuing penalty kick to make it 3-0 to the Arsenal.

Dinamo Zagreb 0-2 Bayern Munich
With first place in the group all swen up, Bayern Munuch left a few of their superstarts at home and threw some youngsters, including American international Julian Green, out there against Dinamo Zagreb. It was one of their stars scoring for them, however. Robert Lewandowski, who else, gave them a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute and scored his second all of two minutes later.

Arsenal get a huge win and qualify for the knockout rounds for the 17th straight season as they leap frog Olympiacos into second on the final day. They join Bayern Munich in the next stage.

Group G
Chelsea 2-0 FC Porto
Chelsea needed a win in order to feel secure about advancing to the knockout rounds in this disappointing season. They got the leg up on Porto thanks to an own goal against Ivan Marcano in the 12th minute. Willian put a real stamp on their spot in the 52nd minute. That would be enough to see the Blues through acc pot one positive mark on Jose Mourinho's ugly season.

Dynamo Kiev 1-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
A win coupled with a Porto loss or draw in the other match meant Dynamo Kiev would go through. Against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, that was hardly a tall order. Their only goal came at the quarter hour mark from Denys Garmash.

Kiev didn't need to hammer the visiting Israelites to move on, one fish was enough to get them in over Europa bound Porto. Chelsea, for all the turmoil they've experienced this season, end up winning the group.

Group H
Gent 2-1 Zenit St. Petersburg
Zenit had nothing to play for other than a perfect group stage campaign, which is a pretty big deal in this competitive group. Gent had other plans however as they looked to secure thier own spot in the knockout rounds. Laurent Depoitre put the Belgians in front in the 18th minute to aid their cause. Zenit would grab an equalizer in the 65th minute from Artem Dzyuba. I'm the 78th minute, it was Daninel Milicevic making Gent the unlikeliest of knockout round qualifiers.

Valencia 0-1 Lyon
Valencia was in need of a win against eliminated Lyon and a Gent loss or draw against perfect Zenit in order to go through. Their opposition struck first, though.  Maxwell Cornet put Lyon on top in the 37th minute. Alexander Lacazette would bury Valencia in the 76th minute when he doubled the Lyon lead.

Thanks to spoiling Zenit's perfect record, Gent enters the knockout rounds while sending Valencia to the Europa league.

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