Over two days on December 8 & 9, 2015, all Match-Day 6 ties were played and everything fell in place. In a low stake match, rampaging Real Madrid drowned Malmo 8-0 in a goal-riot with Ronaldo leading from front with 4 goals. The other Pool-A team; Paris Saint Germain also won their last match defeating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 in match that did not hold much consequence for the already qualified Paris. The only highlight was Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s second-half goal that made the Swede an all-time leading scorer with 17 goals in Europe as he surpassed George Weah. Some teams had heartbreaks on the last Match-day as they exited this season of Champions League on other team’s performances. One was Bayern Leverkusen, who drew 1-1 with FC Barcelona but because Leverkusen could not better Roma’s 0-0 result against Bate Borisov with a winner against Barca, it signaled their exit. Similarly, the 2-1 victory of PSV Eindhoven over CSKA Moskva coupled with Manchester United’s 2-3 loss against Wolfsburg opened the exit door for Louis Van Gaal’s side. In another notable result, KAA Gent became the first Belgian side in 16 years to enter UEFA Champions League, when they handed a 2-1 loss to the hitherto undefeated FC Zenit coupled with Lyon’s win against Valencia.
In Tuesday night’s Group-A game, Real Madrid sunk Malmo 8-0 with 4 goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and a hat-trick from Karim Benzema. One more goal was added by Mateo Kovacic. Madrid opened the scoring through Benzema in 12th minute before the Frenchman made it 2-0 in 24th minute. Madrid’s frontrunner Cristiano Ronaldo made it 3-0, 5 minutes before halftime. Ronaldo completed his hat-trick soon after the restart and scored his fourth goal in the 59th minute. There was little Malmo could do against the onslaught as Kovacic took the tally to 7-0 in the 70th minute. Benzema completed Malmo’s rout with his hat-trick in the 80th minute. Ronaldo wrote his name in history books by becoming the first player to reach 11 goals in UEFA Champions League’s group-stage. In another Group-A match, Paris Saint Germain defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 with second-half goals from Lucas and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ibra also became part of Champions League history in emerging PSG’s all-time lead scorer in Europe with 17 goals. Malmo’s huge defeat secured Shakhtar a berth in UEFA’s Europa League.
In Group-B, PSV Eindhoven defeated CSKA Moskva 2-1 in a thrilling game. After the goalless first half, CSKA took the lead in 76th minute, when Sergey Ignashevich converted a penalty but PSV equalized two minutes later, when home captain Luuk De Jong restored parity. A stunning goal from Davy Propper, four minutes from final whistle took PSV into the round-of-16 since Wolfsburg had defeated Manchester United 3-2. Wolfsburg had a bad start in the crunch game, when Man-United took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute. However, scores were leveled immediately. Not only that, the home side took a 2-1 lead by halftime. The second half was a rollercoaster ride with Josuha Guilavogui’s own-goal bringing the scores level again. However, an 84th minute decider from Naldo took Wolfsburg into the Top-16 while Man-United had to settle for a place in the Europa League.
In Group C, Atletco de Madrid defeated Benefica at Lisbon to top the Group but both sides had already qualified into Top-16. The other Group-C match between Astana and Galatasaray ended in a 1-1 draw and the result sent Galatasaray into the Europa League round-of-32 draw. In Group-D, Sevilla’s 1-0 win over already qualified Juventus didn’t help the Spanish side to make any dent. With Manchester city also winning 4-2 against Borussia Monchengladbach, the English side finished Group toppers with Juventus at second place while Sevilla marched to the Europa League.
In Group E, FC Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Bayer Leverkusen but the German side were relegated to Europa League as AS Roma’s 0-0 draw with Bate Borosov allowed the Italian club to fall right behind Barca for qualification into the Top-16. In Group-F, Arsenal snatched a miraculous 3-0 victory over Greek Club Olympiacos and advanced into the Top-16 with Bayern Munich, who defeated Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in their last Group match. Olympiacos had to settle for a Europa League berth.
In Group G, Chelsea played dominantly to beat Porto 2-0 and topped the Group. Porto’s loss coupled with Dynamo Kyiv’s 1-0 victory over Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-0 sent the Kyiv into top-16 with Porto getting the consolation Europa League berth. In Group H, FC Zenit tasted their first defeat of league stage, when KAA Gent won at home 2-1 against the Russian side. With Valencia losing 0-2 against Lyons at home, Gent secured the Top-16 berth to become the first Belgian side in 16 years to qualify in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16. But despite the defeat, Valencia still got into the Europa League round-of-32.
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