Gabriel Jesus’s late winner saw Manchester City come from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 on Wednesday, sealing top spot in Group A for Pep Guardiola’s men.
Mauricio Pochettino, who has been linked with City’s neighbours Manchester United, needed his team to avoid defeat if they were to stand a chance of winning the group, but ultimately the hosts’ dominance told.
Guardiola would have been frustrated with the amount of chances City spurned in the first half, though, particularly given Kylian Mbappe then put PSG in front four minutes into the second period.
PSG had improved considerably as an attacking threat, but City upped the intensity again and deservedly levelled through Raheem Sterling, before substitute Jesus completed an impressive victory.
RB Leipzig’s win at Club Brugge means PSG will qualify for the knockout phase regardless, however.
FULL REPORT: Jesus seals top spot for scintillating City
Thiago’s superb strike powers Liverpool
Thiago Alcantara’s sublime long-range strike set Liverpool on their way to a 2-0 Champions League win over Porto at Anfield.
The Reds had already qualified as Group B winners with two matches to spare, so teenager Tyler Morton made his Champions League debut as Jurgen Klopp rung the changes.
Liverpool maintained their perfect record in Europe this season despite being without key men, Thiago scoring his first goal of the season in style with a magnificent second-half finish.
Mohamed Salah added a second as Porto were made to pay for missed opportunities, leaving them facing a decisive final group match against Atletico Madrid in the battle for a place in the round of 16 along with Liverpool.
FULL REPORT: Reds maintain 100% record
Elsewhere, the group is wide open.
Milan kept their Champions League campaign alive as a late goal from substitute Junior Messias earned them a dramatic 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid.
Stefano Pioli’s side were staring elimination in the face before Messias rose to meet Franck Kessie’s cross in the 87th minute and converted to send the travelling supporters into raptures at the Wanda Metropolitano.
The goal clinched Milan’s first victory in this season’s competition and moved them ahead of Atletico in Group B with one game left to play.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone had seen his side frustrate Milan for over 80 minutes before their hopes of qualifying were thrown up in the air, and any one of Porto, Milan or Atletico can still reach the knockout stage along with group winners Liverpool.
FULL REPORT: Milan winner blows group wide open
Benzema powers Los Blancos into Round of 16
Karim Benzema scored on the same day he was handed a one-year suspended prison sentence as Real Madrid swept aside Sheriff 3-0 to book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
France forward Benzema was also fined €75,000 after being found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of former international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
It did not prove to be a distraction for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, however, as they brushed aside their less illustrious opponents with the minimum of fuss – at odds with their shock home defeat in the reverse fixture.
David Alaba and Toni Kroos put Madrid two goals ahead at the break, and Benzema added a third before the hour mark to seal his side’s place in the knockout stages with a game to spare in Group D.
FULL STORY: Off field issues no distraction for Benzema
Inter on brink of qualifying
Edin Dzeko scored his 50th European goal as Inter took a huge stride towards the Champions League knockout stages with a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
The former Manchester City striker netted a brace at San Siro as the Nerazzurri moved to the brink of the last 16.
Dzeko opened the scoring with a clinical finish in the 61st minute, before sealing the win six minutes later with a close-range header.
Simone Inzaghi’s side move to the summit of Group D and will secure a top-two finish if Real Madrid beat Sheriff Tiraspol later on Wednesday.
FULL REPORT: Inzaghi wards off complacency
Sporting triumph knocks Dortmund out
Meanwhile, Ajax won Group C thanks to Sebastien Haller’s second-half brace earning a 2-1 win at Besiktas, who led through Rachid Ghezzal’s first-half penalty.
The 27-year-old Haller has nine goals in five games in the group phase, tied with Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich in this season’s Champions League scoring chart.
Dutch giants Ajax have a perfect 15 points while Besiktas are out of Europe after five defeats.
Sporting Lisbon defeated Borussia Dortmund 3-1, with a special brace from Pedro Goncalves.