Champions League: Reds roll, Ajax exit
Sensational Salah helps Liverpool beat Salzburg 2-0 and seal Last-16 spot; Dutch team suffers shock loss
Paris: Holders Liverpool safely negotiated Tuesday's trip to Salzburg to take their place in the Last 16 of this season's UEFA Champions League while Chelsea are also through, but Ajax suffered a shock group-stage exit.
Six clubs secured spots in the draw for the first knockout round in their final group games, with Ajax and Inter Milan the big names to miss out. Jurgen Klopp's side just needed to draw in Austria to keep alive their bid to retain the European Cup, and they duly beat Salzburg 2-0 thanks to two goals in two second-half minutes, by Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah. The result allowed Liverpool to progress as Group E winners, with Napoli going through in second place, while Salzburg are out and drop into the Europa League instead.
Napoli axe Ancelotti
Napoli made sure of their progress by trouncing Genk 4-0 in Italy with Arkadisuz Milik scoring a first-half hat-trick, the third goal coming from the penalty spot. Dries Mertens converted another spot-kick in the second half to seal the win, but the Italian side still sacked coach Carlo Ancelotti in the wake of the game. There was high drama in Group H as Valencia beat Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam, Rodrigo Moreno's strike taking the Spaniards through to the Last 16 at the expense of last season's semi-finalists, and leaving their hosts stunned.
No blues for Chelsea
Ajax had again been impressive this season but were left to rue their inability to win either of their two matches against Chelsea, as Frank Lampard's team progressed in second place, a point ahead of the Dutch giants, thanks to a 2-1 victory against Lille. Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta netted first-half goals for Chelsea, who held on after Loic Remy pulled one back for Lille. Chelsea finish level on points with Valencia but come second due to their inferior head-to-head record.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe