November 3 – Paris Saint-Germain’s quest for a first ever Champions League crown got potentially tougher on Wednesday when they were relegated to second place in their group despite winning 2-1 at Juventus.
Incredibly Benfica topped the group due to more away goals scored after thrashing Maccabi Haifa 6-1. A stoppage-time sixth goal secured the win that knocked PSG off top spot, adding additional interest to Monday’s last-16 draw.
PSG’s superstar strike force of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar can now face the likes of defending champion Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Manchester City.
“It’s a problem for them, too. We’re not worried,” said PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who acknowledged being unaware of the situation until after the game.
Elsewhere seven-time European champion AC Milan are back in the knockout stage for the first time in nine years following a 4-0 victory over Salzburg
Leipzig also advanced by beating Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 and ending the Ukrainian club’s improbable run in its adopted home stadium in Poland during the Russian invasion.
Shakhtar’s European campaign will continue in February with a place in the Europa League playoffs handed to third-place teams in Champions League groups. Juventus also go into Europa League despite earning just three points in total.
Monday’s draw takes place more than three months before the first-leg games start February 14 because of the World Cup. No one can be drawn against another team from their home country or a team they already played in their group.
Seeded Champions League teams as group winners: Napoli, Porto, Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Benfica.
Unseeded teams: Liverpool, Club Brugge, Inter Milan, Eintracht Frankfurt, AC Milan, Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain.
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