Real Madrid's forward Cristiano Ronaldo runs with the ball during the Champions League football match against Borussia Dortmund in Madrid on December 6. -AFP
Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to ever score in all six Champions League group games in one season as Real Madrid edged out a dispirited Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on Wednesday. Philippe Coutinho's first Liverpool hat-trick propelled Jurgen Klopp's side to a 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow on Wednesday that swept the Merseyside club into the Champions League last 16. Sadio Mane scored twice and Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah both found the net as Liverpool's 'Fab Four' emphatically returned the five-time champions to the knockout rounds after a nine-year absence.
Ronaldo took his tally to nine goals in six Europan appearances this season with a spectacular long-range effort into the top corner after Borja Mayoral's opener to give Real a 2-0 lead inside 12 minutes. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his excellent record against Madrid with a quickfire double either side of half-time to bring Dortmund level. Zinedine Zidane now faces a defensive crisis ahead of the visit of Sevilla on Saturday with captain Sergio Ramos, right-back Dani Carvajal and holding midfielder Casemiro all suspended.
"With Rafa he has done some damage to himself, but we will see tomorrow when we do the scans as always," said Zidane. Zidane made six changes from the side that started Saturday's 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao, but the hosts still made a flying start. Group E winners Liverpool joined Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in progressing from the group phase, making England the first country to send five teams into the round of 16.
"We opened the game perfectly and after we took the lead, we didn't have to defend," Klopp told. It was Liverpool's second hefty group-stage win after a 7-0 rout of Maribor and erased memories of their previous outing in the competition, when they squandered a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 away to runners-up Sevilla. With Liverpool having plundered 32 goals in their last nine games, few teams will relish the prospect of facing off against Coutinho, Salah, Mane and Firmino in the last 16, the draw for which takes place on Monday.
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