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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 1, 2006

Lyon and Real reach last 16 of Champions League

LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon and Real Madrid went through to the last 16 of the Champions League when Matchday Four was completed on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich, Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven and Valencia qualified on Tuesday and were joined by Lyon and nine-times champions Real, who scored 1-0 Group E wins over Dynamo Kiev and Steaua Bucharest respectively.

Manchester United and Celtic from Group F, and AC Milan in Group H, could also have qualified but must now wait a little longer.

Lyon stayed top of Group E with a maximum 12 points and a goal tally of 9-0 after their 1-0 home win over Dynamo Kiev, who were eliminated after a fourth successive defeat.

The only goal was scored by 18-year-old striker Karim Benzema in the first half, giving Lyon their 14th consecutive victory in all competitions.

Real are assured of at least finishing second after their win over Steaua.

Even if Steaua (3 points) were to match Real's tally of nine with wins in their last two matches, the Spanish giants would finish above them on the head-to-head record after beating the Romanians home and away.

A farcical own goal from midfielder Banel Nicolita was enough to give Real victory after he rolled the ball past goalkeeper Cornel Cernea from outside the penalty area with 20 minutes to go.

Real could have doubled their lead three minutes later but Ruud van Nistelrooy blasted a penalty wide after being brought down by Cernea.

Although Steaua and Dynamo are out of contention they may settle their battle for a UEFA Cup spot when they meet in three weeks' time in Bucharest.

AC Milan are virtually through from Group H after a thumping 4-1 home win over Anderlecht which included a hat-trick from Kaka.

The Italian team must wait to claim their last-16 place after AEK Athens ended a record 21-match run without a victory by defeating Lille 1-0 in the same group.

That result, theoretically at least, means Milan could finish out of the top two spots, although that is highly unlikely.

Milan have 10 points, Lille are on five, AEK have four and Anderlecht two.

Greece striker Nikos Liberopoulos gave AEK their first win in the competition at the 22nd attempt against a Lille side reduced to 10 men when Greek defender Efstathios Tavlaridis was sent off after 22 minutes for two yellow cards.

AEK have a chance of qualifying, with the race for second place opening up between the Greek team, Lille and bottom club Anderlecht. Manchester United and Celtic could have secured places in the last 16 with victories but lost away from home to leave Group F open.

FC Copenhagen scored and won for the first time in their debut season in the competition when a second-half Marcus Allback goal earned a 1-0 victory over an under-strength Manchester United at the Prater Stadium.

Benfica thumped Celtic 3-0 in Lisbon to give themselves a fighting chance in the group.

United remain top with nine points, followed by Celtic (6), Benfica (4) and FC Copenhagen (4). Benfica play Copenhagen on Nov. 21 while Celtic are at home to United.

CSKA Moscow frustrated Arsenal at their new Emirates Stadium, escaping with a point from a one-sided 0-0 draw after the Londoners spurned more than 20 scoring chances.

Porto won 3-1 at Hamburg SV to pull level with Arsenal on seven points, eliminating the German side who have lost all four matches in Group G.

CSKA, who have scored only two goals in four matches but not conceded any, stay top on eight points.

The competition resumes in three weeks' time after European qualifiers and friendly internationals are played in two weeks time.

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