Another big European superpower is on the brink of playing in the Europa Cup next year and the most expensive player in the world made his long-awaited return from injury.
Bordeaux secured their place at the top of the group with a 2-0 home win over Italian side Juventus. Fernando nodded the French side ahead before Marouane Chamakh struck with an injury-time header to leave Juventus second with eight points but still in danger of failing to qualify for the knockout stages.
The Serie A side will play Bayern Munich at home in their final group game and the German side will need to win after moving on to seven points after a 1-0 victory over Maccabi Haifa courtesy of an Ivica Olic goal.
If Bayern fail to beat Juventus in Turin, then Franck Ribery will be sold as he was Champions League football and not Europa League.
Manchester United have qualified for the knockout stages but, after being beaten 1-0 by Besiktas, they now need a point at Wolfsburg to make sure of top spot in Group B. But Wolfsburg have their own agenda to work to after being beaten 2-1 at CSKA Mosow, leaving both the teams level on seven points.
A couple of seasons Fergie was in this same position and fielded a very young team for a game in Turkey, if my memory serves me right. United lost that night and ended up finishing second in the group and drawing a big name team in the knockout stages, which United lost.
There is a huge difference between finishing first and second in the group.
Edin Dzeko had put the German side ahead but goals from Tomas Necid and Milos Krasic kept alive CSKA’s hopes of reaching the last 16. CSKA travel to Besiktas in the final group game with the Turkish side needing a comprenhensive win over them to have a chance of overtaking the Russian side and stealing a Europa League place.
Real Madrid, AC Milan and Marseille can each still qualify for the next round going into the final round of group games. Real beat the group’s bottom club FC Zurich 1-0 thanks to a Gonzalo Higuain goal to go top on 10 points. And their night’s work was made all the sweeter when winger Cristiano Ronaldo made his first appearance in eight weeks following an ankle injury as a 70th minute substitute.
But AC Milan are on eight points and Marseille on seven after both fought out a 1-1 draw at the San Siro following the French side’s Lucho Gonzalez’s cancelling out Marco Borriello’s opener.
In matchday 6, Real must travel to Marseille, who know that a win will put them through to the knockout stages and send Ronaldo to the Europa League.
Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka scored as his side beat Porto 1-0 to confirm top spot in Group D while their beaten opponents will have to content themselves with the runners-up place. Both knew they were going through to the knockout phase ahead of the game at Estadio do Dragao and the only thing to be resolved in Group D is who goes into the Europa League.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Simao Sabrosa equalised against Apoel Nicosia, who had taken the lead through Nenad Mirosavljevic, and the Spaniards are now a point ahead of their Cypriot rivals.