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  • Dele Alli's double and Sergio Aguero's record-setting goal helped the two Premier League sides punch their tickets to the round of 16, while Liverpool inched closer and Borussia Dortmund took a big step back.
By Jonathan Wilson
November 01, 2017

Tottenham enjoyed its finest European night in more than three decades, hammering Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley Stadium, a result that carries the club into the last 16 of the Champions League but, almost more importantly, confirms Spurs as serious players on the European stage.

Dele Alli got the first two before a Christian Eriksen goal on the counterattack sealed the famous win. Borussia Dortmund is five points adrift of Madrid for second place in the group after a second straight 1-1 draw against upstart APOEL.

Manchester City also confirmed its passage to the last 16 after a thrilling 4-2 win away to Napoli, with Sergio Aguero getting the winner to become City’s leading all-time goalscorer (178 goals in all competitions).

The Serie A leader now faces a major battle to take second place in the group. It trails Shakhtar Donetsk by six points with two games remaining after the Ukrainian champion beat Feyenoord 3-1, with Marlos scoring twice.

Monaco, a semifinalist last season, is still without a win in Group G after drawing 1-1 away to Besiktas. Rony Lopes put Monaco ahead just before halftime, but Cenk Tosun leveled from the penalty spot to leave the Turkish champions four points clear at the top of the group. Porto sits second after beating RB Leipzig 3-1.

Liverpool retains the lead in Group E after a 3-0 win over Maribor. Mohamed Salah touched in a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross to open the scoring after 49 minutes, and Emre Can added a glorious second after James Milner had had a penalty saved. Daniel Sturridge wrapped up the scoring with his first Champions League goal in almost seven years.

Sevilla sits two points back after a 2-1 win over Spartak Moscow. A Clement Lenglet header and an Ever Banega curler put the home side two up before Ze Luis pulled back a consolation strike.

Here are three thoughts on the day in the Champions League:

Tottenham affirms it's a serious player

Two defeats in a row had led to fears that Tottenham might have lost its momentum, but this was probably its finest European result since it won the UEFA Cup in 1984. Harry Kane didn’t look at his sharpest, but it’s probably no coincidence that the two defeats, to West Ham in the League Cup and to Manchester United in the league, came without the star center forward.

Marcelo put in a strangely lethargic display as Spurs seemingly made a concerted effort to exploit the space behind him. The opener came in the 29th minute, with Harry Winks chipping a pass for Kieran Trippier, who was just offside, to volley across goal, where Dele Alli, back after suspension to play his first Champions League game of the season, touched in.

Questions have been asked about Alli this season, but over the past couple of weeks he has returned to top form, operating both in the heart of midfield and, as he did Wednesday, higher up the pitch. He added his second 11 minutes into the second half driving forward as the back of the Madrid midfield melted away, scoring with a deflected shot from the edge of the box. Alli and Kane then combined to tee up Eriksen for a third. Cristiano Ronaldo rammed in from close range to make it 3-1 with nine minutes remaining, doing little more than padding his place atop the competition's scoring list.

Madrid is not in serious danger of failing to reach the last 16–and it will be remembered that it won the Champions League last season having gone through second in the group–but there are wider concerns. Defeat to Girona at the weekend left the club eight points adrift of Barcelona in the league, while Ronaldo’s strike was just his second in his last seven games. Good as Spurs were–and this probably surpasses the 3-1 win over Inter seven years ago as their best result in the Champions League Madrid were oddly lax.

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Man City fights back, impressively goes through

Pep Guardiola has spoken regularly over the past couple of weeks of his admiration for Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli, and two sides who share a similar conception of football produced a classic. City had dominated the first half two weeks ago before wobbling in the second half and being left clinging on for a 2-1 win. Here, Guardiola’s side was under pressure from the start and fell behind midway through the first half as Lorenzo Insigne exchanged passes with Dries Mertens before sweeping the ball over Ederson.

That was the first time City had been behind since August 26, but it was level again within 13 minutes as Nicolas Otamendi headed in an Ilkay Gundogan cross. Notably, both goals came down the same side of the pitch, with the corner that brought the City equalizer the result of a flowing move down their right that ended with an Aguero shot being deflected wide. Guardiola had preferred Danilo to Kyle Walker at right back, a huge risk given how Napoli prefers to attack down the left, presumably aimed at allowing City to attack the space behind Faouzi Ghoulam. As it was, Ghoulam was forced off after 31 minutes with what is feared to be a cruciate injury, and it was after he had been replaced by Christian Maggio that City came back into the game.

Three minutes into the second half, City took the lead, with John Stones heading on off the underside of the bar. Insigne then thumped bar before Jorginho leveled from the penalty spot. But with Napoli needing the win, it committed to the attack and was undone on the break. Leroy Sane led the charge before Aguero forced in the record-breaking goal. Raheem Sterling wrapped up a 4-2 win following another counter, sealing City's place along with Tottenham, PSG and Bayern Munich in the last 16.

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What's gone wrong at Dortmund?

After a flying start to the season, the pressure is beginning to mount on the Dortmund manager Peter Bosz. The Dutchman led Ajax to the Europa League final last season and became the first coach in Bundesliga history to keep clean sheets in his first five games. But since then Dortmund has lost top spot in the Bundesliga and is in danger of failing even to qualify for the Europa League after successive draws against APOEL. Here, a deft flick from Shinji Kagawa laid in Raphael Guerreiro to give Dortmund the lead, but Mickael Pote turned sharply to finish off a breakaway and level, scoring his second goal of the competition against the German power. Dortmund now trails second-place Real Madrid by five points–and has games against Real and Tottenham remaining.

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