Real Madrid beat an under-strength Liverpool 1-0 to advance in the Champions League on Tuesday although Cristiano Ronaldo failed to equal the competition scoring record.
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was beaten by Karim Benzema in the 27th minute but repeatedly stopped Ronaldo scoring the goal he needs to match Madrid great Raul Gonzalez’s 71 career goals in Europe’s top club competition. It also ended Ronaldo’s 12-game scoring streak in all competitions.
”I don’t think he got frustrated (by not scoring),” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said about Ronaldo. ”I used to be frustrated when I didn’t score, Ronaldo keeps on scoring and I think he was just happy that we won the match.”
Defending champion Madrid also earned its round-of-16 place with two rounds to spare after a fourth straight win in Group B. Basel is second after routing Ludogorets Razgrad 4-0.
Borussia Dortmund also kept its 100 percent record to secure advancement by beating Galatasaray 4-1. The Germans seemed certain to be joined by Group D rival Arsenal when the London club was up 3-0 against Anderlecht with 30 minutes to play.
However, Arsenal again showed the fragility that has marked the later years of coach Arsene Wenger’s lengthy reign and let the visiting Belgianchampion level at 3-3 in the 90th.
Juventus earned a thrilling 3-2 win against Olympiakos, fighting back to score twice in a minute midway through the second half, to stay in contention in Group A. Atletico Madrid won 2-0 at Malmo and still leads the group.
Group C leader Bayer Leverkusen won 2-1 at Zenit St. Petersburg, and Benfica avoided potential elimination by beating Monaco 1-0.
After Ronaldo set a single-season scoring record of 17 goals in Madrid’s march to its 10th European title last May, the career mark seemed likely to fall as well for the 29-year-old Portuguese.
Especially after Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers chose a surprising starting lineup, resting Steven Gerrard, Mario Balotelli, Raheem Sterling and several others ahead of a weekend Premier League match against Chelsea.
Mignolet denied Ronaldo for the first time with a diving stop in the 6th and stopped two later free kicks among the Madrid star’s 10 attempts on goal, five of which were on target.
Benzema needed just one shot on target, connecting from close range with Marcelo’s cross. Ronaldo’s great rival Lionel Messi, who has 69 career Champions League goals, takes his aim at Raul’s record when Barcelona plays at Ajax on Wednesday.
Basel tripled its goal tally in this season’s competition, getting goals from 17-year-old Cameroon-born Breel Embolo, Paraguay forward Derlis Gonzalez, Albania midfielder Shkelzen Gashi and Czech Republic defender Marek Suchy against Ludogorets.
Basel has six points, three clear of Liverpool and Ludogorets.
Dortmund has won only two matches in the Bundesliga all season but made it four straight in the Champions League.
Germany midfielder Marco Reus, Greece defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Italy forward Ciro Immobile all scored for the 2013 runner-up.
Galatasaray faces further sanctions from UEFA after fans again set off firecrackers, smoke bombs and flares, briefly interrupting the match twice.
Arsenal was cruising after an hour thanks to Mikel Arteta’s penalty, a stunning volley by Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s darting run and shot.
But Anderlecht struck back when Anthony Vanden Borre scored twice, including a penalty, and Aleksandar Mitrovic headed in the equalizer in the 90th.
Though Arsenal trails Dortmund by five points, it remains five points clear of Anderlecht in second place.
Juventus seemed all but eliminated from contention for the round of 16 when visiting Olympiakos took a surprise 2-1 lead in the 61st minute after withstanding waves of Italian pressure.
Then Olympiakos goalkeeper Roberto scored an own goal in the 65th, and a minute later France midfielder Paul Pogba restored Juve’s lead at 3-2.
”We had to win and we did. Now everything depends on us,” Pogba said.
Veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo had opened the scoring with a trademark free kick on his 100th Champions League appearance. Alberto Botia and Delvin N’Dinga scored with headers for the Greek champion.
Atletico leads with nine points after Koke and Raul Garcia scored in Sweden against luckless Malmo. Olympiakos and Juventus have six each, and the Greeks now hold the edge in a head-to-head tiebreaker if the teams finish level on points next month.
Leverkusen eased to victory in Russia through second-half goals from South Korea forward Son Heung-min. Zenit got an 89th-minute consolation from Jose Salomon Rondon.
The Germans have nine points, four clear of Monaco in a tight group. Zenit is a point further back with Benfica, which needed an 80th-minute goal from Brazilian striker Talisca to beat the French visitors.