UCL Review: Chelsea and Arsenal safely through to last 16 of Champions League


Chelsea and Arsenal progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League, with both clubs winning on Wednesday night.

Olivier Giroud scored a hat-trick as Arsenal ensured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with an emphatic victory away to Greek champions Olympiakos.

The France international ensured that the Gunners’ tough start to the group stage, which saw them lose their first two games and suffer home defeat to Olympiakos, was put safely behind them.

He gave them the lead at the break with a header that squirmed past goalkeeper Roberto before doubling the lead soon after the break following superb control and a sharp pass from Joel Campbell.

And Giroud wrapped up the points from the penalty spot after a handball to steer Arsene Wenger’s side through.

Chelsea beat Porto 2-0 to secure passage into the Champions League round of 16 as Group G winners. Chelsea took the lead in the 12th minute, and they needed a stroke of luck. Diego Costa forced his way through on goal, and although Iker Casillas saved the Spain international’s shot, the ball then rebounded off the unlucky Ivan Marcano and the Porto defence couldn’t prevent it crossing the line.

Willian blazed wide of the Porto goal early in the second half but got Chelsea’s second in the 53rd minute, when Eden Hazard played a square ball to the Brazilian and he blasted past Casillas from the edge of the area.

Gary Neville’s first game in charge at Valencia began promisingly but ended in frustration.

The former Manchester United defender saw his side fall behind after 37 minutes when Maxwell Cornet took advantage as Valencia defenders backtracked, curling the ball high into the corner.

And Lyon, with only one Champions League point to their name this season, doubled their advantage inside the last 15 minutes when Alexandre Lacazette rounded off a sharp counter-attack.

Bayer Leverkusen fell just short of sealing their qualification from the group stages as they drew 1-1 with Barcelona at the BayArena.

The visitors went in front after 20 minutes when Ivan Rakitic played a perfect through ball to Lionel Messi, who rounded Bernd Leno and slid his finish home.

But the lead lasted for only three minutes, with the Bundesliga side finding an almost instant answer when Javier Hernandez scored his 11th goal in 12 games after neat build-up play gave Admir Mehmedi the chance to cross from the left.

Leveruksen had chances in the second half, Karim Bellarabi denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen when clean through, but were unable to find the second goal that would have put them through and have to settle for a place in the Europa League.

Bayern Munich cruised to victory at Dinamo Zagreb, with lethal striker Robert Lewandowski again the man who made the difference.

After a goalless first half, the Poland international struck twice in as many minutes, heading home a fine Thomas Muller cross and then lifting the ball over goalkeeper Eduardo from Sebastian Rode’s through pass.

The result means Bayern top Group F by six points; Dinamo finish third with only their matchday one success against Arsenal to show for their efforts.

Dynamo Kyiv reached the knockout phase for the first time since the 1999-2000 season after getting the win they needed at home to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The Ukrainian side finished second behind Chelsea in Grooup D thanks to Denys Garmash, who pounced on the rebound when Serhiy Rybalka’s deflected free-kick was stopped by Predrag Rajkovic.

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