Karim Benzema struck twice to lead Real Madrid to an unconvincing 2-1 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday and move the Spanish side provisionally three points clear at the top of Champions League Group D.
Real went ahead in the 15th minute when Vinicius Jr. stole the ball from a Shakhtar defender and set up Benzema to score with a powerful shot from inside the box.
Ukraine’s Shakhtar equalised five minutes before half-time with a stunning counter-attack finished off by Fernando.
Benzema and Vinicius Jr. combined again for the Real winner just after the hour mark, the latter linking up well with Casemiro before teeing up the France striker to find the net again.
A ruthless second-half performance earned Inter Milan a comfortable 3-1 win away to Sheriff Tiraspol to send them above the Moldovan debutants into second place in Group D.
Inter were left frustrated as they mustered 14 attempts to no avail before the break, but the hosts’ resistance eventually broke when Marcelo Brozovic fired home early in the second half.
Milan Skriniar doubled the Nerazzurri’s lead before substitute Alexis Sanchez powered home a third within a minute of his introduction, and Adama Traore headed in a stoppage-time consolation for Sheriff.
Inter climbed into second spot on seven points, one ahead of Sheriff in third and six clear of bottom side Shakhtar Donetsk, but two points adrift of group leaders Real Madrid.
Group A: RB Leipzig seal dramatic point against PSG
Georginio Wijnaldum scored his first two goals for his new club Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday but a stoppage-time penalty for RB Leipzig rescued a 2-2 draw in their Champions League Group A game.
The Dutchman, who had struggled this season after joining from Liverpool, struck in the 21st minute and headed in another goal six minutes before halftime.
Leipzig, eliminated from the competition with just one point from four matches, had taken the lead through Christopher Nkunku in the eighth minute and they missed the chance to double it when Andre Silva’s 12th-minute penalty was saved.
Substitute Dominik Szoboszlai did better from the spot in second-half stoppage time, however, to rescue a point for the Germans.
Manchester City got back to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Club Brugge to move to within sight of the Champions League knockout rounds although it was not a trouble-free night for Pep Guardiola’s side.
In the end, goals by Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus earned a comfortable enough victory to leave City top of Group A with nine points after Paris St Germain drew with RB Leipzig.
But there were periods after a John Stones own goal gave Brugge an early equaliser in which City looked uncomfortable.
Group B: Porto pegged back by Milan
AC Milan earned their first Champions League point of the season with a 1-1 draw against Porto at San Siro, but the result left the seven-time European champions on the brink of elimination.
Luis Diaz struck after six minutes to put the Portuguese side in front and they dominated the first half against an under-par Rossoneri side.
An own goal from Chancel Mbemba drew Milan level after the break and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a goal ruled out for offside, as the Italians’ wait for a victory goes on. Porto rose to second place with five points, four ahead of bottom side Milan.
Liverpool marched into the knockout stages of the Champions League with two games to spare after a convincing 2-0 victory over 10-man Atletico Madrid at Anfield guaranteed them top spot in Group B.
Diogo Jota put Jurgen Klopp’s side ahead in the 13th minute, nodding home at the back post after a great cross from the right by Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Alexander-Arnold was again the provider for the second eight minutes later when his low ball into the box was brilliantly met by Sadio Mane who fired past Jan Oblak.
The Spanish side’s troubles intensified after Felipe was sent off in the 36th minute for a deliberate trip on Mane that earned him a harsh straight red.
Group C: Ajax win at Dortmund to qualify for last 16
Ajax came from behind to beat 10-man Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in Champions League Group C and advance to the knockout stages of the competition.
Goals from Dusan Tadic, Sebastien Haller and Davy Klaassen in the last 19 minutes maintained the Dutch club’s 100% record after Marco Reus had converted a first-half penalty for the home team, who had to play for an hour with 10 men after Mats Hummels was sent off.
Ajax moved to 12 points at the top of the standings and booked a place in the last-16 with two matches to play. Dortmund share second spot with Sporting Lisbon on six points.
A double from Pedro Goncalves helped Sporting to a dominant 4-0 Champions League home win over Besiktas.
An injury-hit Besiktas were steamrollered by Sporting who scored their first three goals in a 10-minute spell late in the first half.
Former Wolves youngster Goncalves put in a man-of-the-match display, firing the hosts into a 2-0 lead while Paulinho scored their third from a counter-attack before halftime.
Pablo Sarabia wrapped up the scoring early in the second half. Besiktas are bottom and without a point.