The fourth round of matches in this season’s Champions League group stage ended on Wednesday with several sides yet to guarantee their passage from the group stage to the knockout phase.
A number of African footballers were also in action for their clubs with mixed fortunes as majority of teams struggled to maintain their rhythm given the prevailing conditions under the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of the highlights of their performances.
Defending Europa League champions Sevilla edged Krasnodar 2-1 on Tuesday with Morocco’s Munir El Haddadi scoring a dramatic injury-time winner. The win preserved their unbeaten record in the group stage and sent them through to the last 16 together with group leaders Chelsea.
Nigerian defender Zaidu Sanusi was on target as Portuguese champions F.C. Porto defeated Olympique Marseille 2-0 in Group C at the Stade Vélodrome. Sanusi’s goal and a Sergio Oliveira penalty lifted Porto to nine points after four games meaning a draw in their remaining two games will guarantee qualification to the knockout stage.
In Amsterdam, Moroccan defender Noussair Mazraoui scored once and Burkinabe forward Lassina Traore set up another goal as four-time winners Ajax beat F.C. Midtjylland 3-1. The Dutch side remain in second place in Group D level on seven points with Atalanta who defeated group leaders Liverpool.
It was frustration at Anfield for 2019 champions Liverpool who, despite the return of Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah, went down 2-0 to the Italians.
Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi also had a night to forget after he netted an own goal in Inter Milan’s 2-0 home loss to Real Madrid. The Italians, who were reduced to 10 men, now have an outside chance of progressing to the knockout phase as they sit bottom of Group B with two points.