Barcelona knew they would finish as group winners coming into Tuesday’s clash with Inter Milan, but Ernesto Valverde’s side wanted to end group stage play on a high note.
The La Liga side did just that with a 2-1 road win at the San Siro, with 17-year-old Ansu Fati making history in the progress. Fati came off the bench and became the youngest ever goalscorer in the competition, scoring the eventual winning goal in the 87th minute.
Fellow second-half substitute Luis Suarez linked up with Fati, who rifled a shot off the far post and in. The goal eliminated Inter Milan from the competition and dropped the Serie A hosts into the Europa League.
Carles Perez opened the scoring in the 23rd minute for Barcelona, before Romelu Lukaku pulled Inter level in the 44th.
However, Antonio Conte’s men could not get a winning goal of even a tying one late as they finished group stage play in third place. Barcelona topped the group for the 13th-consecutive time in the competition.
Ajax 0 – Valencia 1
Valencia topped Group H on Tuesday after a 1-0 road win in Amsterdam over last year’s semifinalists, Ajax.
The lone goal of the match came in the 24th minute as Rodrigo beat Andre Onana to his near post. A fake from Ferran Torres allowed Rodrigo to get his effort on target and give the La Liga visitors the only goal they would need to claim three points.
Despite 64% possession, Ajax could not find an equalizing goal as they fell to third place in the group. USMNT defender Sergino Dest came off the bench and played the final 45+ minutes for Ajax, but could not help his side avoid a home loss.
Jaume made three saves to preserve the clean sheet for Valencia, who will now wait to see who they will face in the Round of 16.
Chelsea 2 – Lille 1
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea advanced to the Round of 16 after earning a 2-1 home win over bottom side Lille.
The London club scored a pair of first-half goals to earn the home win over their struggling Ligue 1 visitors. Christian Pulisic got in on the opening goal, a clever back heel finish from Tammy Abraham.
Pulisic played in a streaking Willian, who sent a cross into the box for the young forward to finish in the 19th minute.
Cesar Azpilicueta doubled the Blues lead in the 35th minute, streaking into the box to head home a cross from left back Emerson. It was the defender’s second goal of the competition this year.
Jonathan Bamba linked up with former Blues forward Loic Remy late in the second-half, but the Frenchman’s finish would be a mere consolation for Lille who are eliminated from European competition.
Salzburg 0 – Liverpool 2
Liverpool finished atop E after a 2-0 road win over Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday night.
The goals came in quick succession for Jurgen Klopp’s side who advanced one point ahead of second place Napoli. Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah scored a minute apart in the second-half to seal the win for the Premier League leaders.
Sadio Mane connected with Keita in the 57th minute to break the deadlock in Austria. Cican Stankovic was pulled away from his goal by Mane, allowing the Senegalese winger to set up his teammate for an easy finish.
Salah doubled the lead for Liverpool on the ensuing passage of play, scoring from a tight angle on the right wing. Stankovic raced out to win the ball, but could only watch as the Egyptian beat him to it and scored into an empty goal.
Alisson made seven saves for the Reds to preserve the clean sheet and their fourth win of the tournament.
Here’s all of Tuesday’s UCL results:
Napoli 4 – Genk 0
Red Bull Salzburg 0 – Liverpool 2
Borussia Dortmund 2 – Slavia Praha 1
Inter Milan 1 – Barcelona 2
Benfica 3 – Zenit St. Petersburg 0
Lyon 2 – RB Leipzig 2
Ajax 0 – Valencia 1
Chelsea 2 – Lille 1
Liverpool, Barcelona, Valencia, and RB Leipzig advance as group winners.
Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, and Lyon advance as runners-up.