Champions League Update

By: Gyang Dakwo

Arsenal secured qualification to the UEFA Champions League knockout stage in some style as they hit Lens 6-0 in a sublime performance at the Emirates Stadium.

Five goals came in a remarkable first half that saw Mikel Arteta’s side produce some of their very best attacking football to rip Lens apart time and again.

Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard all scored before Jorginho stepped up in the 86th minute via a penalty to give Arsenal the sixth goal of an extraordinary night.

The Gunners qualified for the knockout stages as Group B winners with one match still to play, giving Arteta the chance to turn his attention on the busy December Premier league schedule.

However, Manchester United blew a two-goal lead as their hopes of reaching the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League suffered a major blow following a 3-3 draw away to Galatasaray.

The Red Devils led 2-0 and 3-1 in Istanbul but once again failed to protect significant advantages in Europe this season to leave their hopes of progressing from Group A hanging by a thread.

The result leaves United bottom of the group with four points from five games played while Galatasaray are currently second on five points..

United will now host Bayern Munich on Matchday 6 on December 6 hoping for a minor miracle. They must beat Bayern and hope Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen draw their fixture to progress.

There was a cracker in Group D as Inter Milan remarkably fought back from a 3-0 half-time deficit to grab a 3-3 draw away to Benfica.

A much-changed Nerazzurri side knew they were already through before kick-off and played like it, as they were blown away at the start.

Joao Mario scored a hat-trick inside 34 minutes to send Benfica cruising towards their first European win of the season, but Inter battled back after the break as Marko Arnautovic, Davide Frattesi and Alexis Sanchez scored in less than 20 minutes.

Things got worse for the hosts when Antonio Silva was sent off with six minutes to go, but they held on to take their first point of a disappointing Champions League campaign.

Real Madrid were already through to the last 16 before hosting Napoli and they clinched top spot in Group C with a 4-2 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Jude Bellingham notched his 15th goal of the season for Real Madrid as the 14-time European champions continue their perfect UEFA Champions League start.

That result prevented Napoli from clinching qualification as they could still be caught by Braga, who drew 1-1 at home to Union Berlin in Portugal despite having Sikou Niakate sent off in the first half.

Napoli are now second with seven points, three clear of Braga – who they host in the final gameweek – and five ahead of Union Berlin, who are out.

In Germany, Bayern Munich had a penalty awarded and then withdrawn in stoppage time as they dropped points for the first time in the Champions League this season with a 0-0 draw against FC Copenhagen.

The Germans thought they had a golden chance to win it late on when handball was called in the box, but the decision was overturned following a VAR intervention.

It marked the first time for more than five-and-a-half years that Bayern have failed to score in a home Champions League game, with Thomas Muller and Harry Kane having the best chances for the hosts.

The point boosts Copenhagen’s hopes of reaching the last 16, leaving them in second place in Group A, level on five points with Galatasaray, who they face in their final game.