Sport Football Five-star Man United crush Leverkusen

Five-star Man United crush Leverkusen

Antonio Valencia
AFP
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Manchester United, with their best performance since David Moyes became manager, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain qualified for the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

United excelled in a 5-0 rout of Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, while Real Madrid saw off Galatasaray 4-1 and PSG beat Greek champions Olympiakos 2-1.

This trio join already-qualified Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City.

That leaves the identity of the last eight teams still to be determined in the final round of group action in mid-December.

United confirmed their place in the knock-out phase with an emphatic win at an overwhelmed Bayer Leverkusen.

A volley from right-back Antonio Valencia and an own goal from Leverkusen centre-back Emir Spahic gave United a commanding early lead before defender Jonny Evans added a third with an hour gone.

England defender Chris Smalling added their fourth on 77 minutes after he met Wayne Rooney’s chip at the back post.

Nani then latched on to a Ryan Giggs long ball for a fine solo goal for the fifth on 88 minutes with the Leverkusen defence in tatters.

England’s Rooney proved he can create as well as finish as he had a hand in the first four goals in an outstanding performance.

In Group A’s other match, Shakhtar Donetsk of the Ukraine thumped Spanish side Real Sociedad 4-0 to move into second place in the group while Sociedad’s European football is over for the season.

In Group B, Gareth Bale scored a marvellous free-kick as 10-man Real Madrid eased into the last 16 with a 4-1 win over Galatasaray.

Madrid had to play just under three quarters of the game with a man less after Sergio Ramos was shown a red card for dragging back Umut Bulut as he broke clear on goal.

Bale then opened the scoring with his fifth goal in six games, but Bulut equalised for the Turkish champions just a minute later.

Alvaro Arbeloa restored Real’s lead just after the break and the full-back then teed up Angel di Maria to make the points safe 12 minutes later.

Isco rounded off the scoring with a wonderful piece of skill as he left Selcuk Inan on the floor before side-footing the ball home.

Galatasaray will have to beat Juventus at home on matchday six if they are to qualify after Arturo Vidal scored a hat-trick, including two from the penalty spot, as Juve relaunched their hopes of qualifying with a rousing 3-1 win over FC Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, substitute Rodrigo scored a 90th-minute winner as Benfica beat Anderlecht 3-2 in a Group C thriller.

Anderlecht defender Chancel Mbemba scored a goal and an own goal as the Belgian champions’ European campaign ended.

The result meant Anderlecht remained anchored to the bottom of Group C and Benfica went level on points with Olympiakos, who lost 2-1 at Paris Saint-Germain, who booked a place in the second phase.

Alvaro Negredo came off the bench to spare Manchester City’s blushes as the Spanish striker’s late goal inspired a 4-2 win over Viktoria Plzen, while Bayern Munich defeated CSKA Moscow 3-1.

City and Bayern were already secured a place in the next phase.