Liverpool, Spurs through to last 16 in dramatic night

Wednesday December 12 2018

 

Paris. Mohamed Salah's first-half goal and a stunning late save from goalkeeper Alisson saw Liverpool edge into the Champions League knockout stage after a tense 1-0 win over Napoli on Tuesday, while Lucas Moura's late strike saw Tottenham progress with a draw at Barcelona.

Last year's runners-up Liverpool knew victory by two goals or a 1-0 triumph would put them through to the last 16 from Group C, and Salah's cool 34th-minute strike proved enough as they finished ahead of Napoli on goals scored.

"Wow, what a game. I am not sure a manager could be prouder of a team than I am," Reds boss Jurgen Klopp told BT Sport.

Paris Saint-Germain reached the knockout rounds as group winners thanks to a 4-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade, with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani all on the scoresheet.

Liverpool grabbed the crucial goal at a raucous Anfield, as Salah jinked past Kalidou Koulibaly inside the area and slotted the ball beyond goalkeeper David Ospina.

Salah, who had already wasted an earlier chance with a heavy touch, continued to run Napoli ragged early in the second half, but Ospina saved from Jordan Henderson and James Milner curled wide as Carlo Ancelotti's men stayed a goal from turning the group on its head.

The atmosphere around Anfield became increasingly tense as the Premier League leaders continued to miss opportunities, with Ospina springing to his left to tip away Salah's attempted lob before denying Mane from point-blank range.

Senegal forward Mane was guilty of two further snatched efforts in front of goal, and Napoli almost made the Reds pay in the dying moments.

The ball fell for substitute striker Arkadiusz Milik unmarked in the area, but Alisson raced from his line to keep out the Pole's strike with his legs.

"I have no idea how Alisson made a save like this," gushed Klopp. "It was amazing."

PSG went into their match in Belgrade knowing that victory would send them through, and Edinson Cavani gave the French champions the perfect start by tapping in after an excellent run and pass by Kylian Mbappe.

Neymar's strike five minutes before half-time appeared to have put the game to bed, but Red Star, who had already beaten Liverpool and held Napoli in Serbia earlier in the campaign, pulled one back before the hour mark through Marko Gobeljic.

But PSG finally sealed their spot in the last 16 as Marquinhos headed in Angel Di Maria's free-kick with 16 minutes to go and Mbappe added further gloss to the scoreline in added time.

"We made mistakes, but I really liked the reaction after Belgrade's goal. We controlled the match," PSG coach Thomas Tuchel told RMC Sport.

- Spurs come back from the brink -

Spurs went into their final Group B game at the Camp Nou needing to match Inter Milan's result against PSV Eindhoven in Italy, but Mauricio Pochettino's side fell behind in only the seventh minute as Ousmane Dembele scored a wonderful individual goal.

Hirving Lozano gave PSV a shock early advantage at the San Siro, though, to leave Tottenham heading through as it stood.

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