Copenhagen advanced to the Champions League round of 16 for the first time, as Tottenham, Manchester United and Schalke finished atop their groups.
Copenhagen beat Panathinaikos 3-1 last night to finish second in Group D to Barcelona, which had already qualified for the knockout stage of European soccer’s elite club competition. Barcelona defeated Rubin Kazan 2-0.
“We made history,” Copenhagen captain William Kvist told reporters after his squad became the first Danish team to reach the last 16. “Tomorrow we have our Christmas party with the team and we’ll celebrate with a few beers.”
Tournament newcomer Tottenham tied FC Twente 3-3 to win Group A over defending champion Inter Milan, which lost 3-0 at Werder Bremen.
Manchester United finished top of Group C ahead of Valencia after the teams drew 1-1 and Bursaspor tied Rangers 1-1. Schalke topped Group B after beating Benfica 2-1, with Lyon second following a 2-2 tie with Hapoel Tel-Aviv.
The top two teams in each of the eight groups advance to the round of 16, with the group winners to be kept apart in the Dec. 17 draw. The remaining three places will be decided today.
Goals from Martin Vingaard and Jesper Gronkjaer, plus an own goal from Djibril Cisse carried Copenhagen to the home win last night. Andreu Fontas and Victor Vazquez scored in Barcelona’s win over Rubin Kazan.
Jermaine Defoe scored two goals for Spurs, which also benefited from an own goal by Peter Wisgerhof. Inter, which began the day tied with Tottenham, settled for second place after losing in Germany.
“It was the toughest group and to top it is brilliant,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports.
Manchester United lost its perfect defensive record by drawing with Valencia in a meeting of already qualified teams.
Pablo Hernandez scored the first goal allowed by United in six group games in the 32nd minute, before Brazilian midfielder Anderson tied it in the second half. Bursaspor earned its first point in the group by rallying for the draw with Rangers.
Jose Manuel Jurado and Benedikt Hoewedes gave already qualified Schalke the 2-1 win at Benfica to win Group G. Alexandre Lacazette’s goal with three minutes left gave Lyon, which had also already progressed, the home tie with Hapoel Tel Aviv.
FC Twente, Benfica, Rangers and Rubin Kazan finished third in their groups to qualify for the knockout stages of the second-tier Europa League.
The final eight group games take place today, with Roma and Basel vying to join Group E winner Bayern Munich in the last 16. Group H, where Shakhtar Donetsk has a three-point lead over Arsenal and Sporting Braga, is the only section where both spots are still available.
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