Champions League round-up: Liverpool crashes while Ramsey wonder goal fails to net Arsenal top spot
A memorable Steven Gerrard strike could not prevent Liverpool from crashing out of the Champions League as Basel went through on Wednesday (Dec 10, Singapore time) while Juventus and Monaco also advance to the last 16.
Needing a win to put them through, Liverpool could only managed to draw against the Swiss side.
Liverpool are enduring a deeply disappointing season but the Anfield club knew that a win at home to Basel would take them through into the knock-out stage for the first time since 2009.
However, Basel, convincing winners when the sides met in Switzerland two months ago, needed only a point: A pinpoint strike by Fabian Frei in the 25th minute set them on their way.
An already enormous task for Liverpool appeared impossible when Lazar Markvoic was harshly sent off for a flailing arm in the direction of Behrang Safari.
Although Gerrard drew them level nine minutes from time with a beautifully-flighted free-kick, the Premier League side could not find a winner.
They now have to settle for the dimmer lights of the Europa League.
“The expectation was to get through the group.
We haven’t done that because we haven’t been good enough, but we’ll learn from that.” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, told Sky Sports after the match
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored two goals, one of them a contender for goal of the season.
But the Gunners were unable to wrest top spot in Group D away from Borussia Dortmund with a 4-1 win away to Galatasaray.
Manager Arsene Wenger said that even he wondered what Ramsey was doing when he set himself up for his shot. “I thought maybe that’s not the best of ideas but the way it went in was absolutely unbelievable,” he told Sky Sports.
The Welsh international scored twice, as did Arsenal’s Germany striker Lukas Podolski - whose opener (a brilliantly taken angled left-foot shot after three minutes) set them on the way to an easy win over the already-eliminated hosts.
Aaron Ramsey has his boot kissed by team-mate Lukas Podolski as he celebrates his second goal against Galatasaray. Photo: Reuters
Arsenal had to win and hope Dortmund lose at home to Anderlecht to finish top of the group.
But the German side drew, meaning the Londoners needed to triumph by six goals.
Though Dortmund and Arsenal both finished with 13 points, the German side took top spot with a better goal difference, leaving Wenger to praise his side’s performance on the night.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t enough but we finished with 13 points and did a job tonight.
We came out strong and that’s what I wanted from the players. This group has a good dynamic and they showed that from the start.” - Arsene Wenger
Elsewhere, Real Madrid set a Spanish record for consecutive victories of 19 thanks to a 4-0 success at home to Ludogorets in Champions League Group B on Tuesday.
Ronaldo slotted his spot kick down the middle with a cheeky chip for his 72nd Champions League goal, overtaking former Real striker Raul.
He moves into second overall, behind Barcelona forward Lionel Messi's 74 goals.
Gareth Bale headed in off the underside of the crossbar at a corner to make it 2-0 in the 38th minute.
Alvaro Arbeloa added an 80th-minute third and substitute Alvaro Medran struck the fourth for the dominant home side two minutes from time.
Monaco 2 Zenit St Petersburg 0
Olympiacos 4 Malmo 2
Benfica 0 Bayer Leverkusen 0
Juventus 0 Atletico Madrid 0
Source: Wires, vine