Watch the highlights of goals and key plays as three powers battle for two berths in the Champions League knockout stage.

By Avi Creditor
December 11, 2018

The game of Champions League musical chairs ended with Napoli left standing.

PSG, Liverpool and Napoli all entered the final day of Group C play hoping to reach the last 16, but PSG's 4-1 win over Red Star Belgrade and Liverpool's narrow 1-0 win over Napoli at Anfield meant that Carlo Ancelotti's side had to settle for a third-place finish in a brutally tight group. Mohamed Salah's first-half goal and Alisson's stoppage-time save on Arkadiusz Milik sent Liverpool through, despite Sadio Mane missing a handful of chances.

In Serbia, Edinson Cavani, Neymar, Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe all scored, allowing PSG to top the group and sending Liverpool through in second place.

Here's how the action unfolded across both simultaneous matches:


At Anfield, Napoli looked to get out on the front foot in the opening minutes and threatened with combination play that had Liverpool on its heels, though the Reds were able to clear the early danger. The attack from Napoli continued to threaten in the seventh minute, when Virgil Van Dijk was forced into a sliding clearance to block a cross that had picked out Lorenzo Insigne. 

On the other end, Liverpool nearly struck immediately, when Salah overhit his first touch on a ball over the top. He had corralled it more cleanly, he would've had a point-blank look at goal.

Napoli then struck for a close call of its own, with Dries Mertens crossing for Marek Hamsik, whose first-time blast from 18 yards whizzed over the crossbar and emitted a gasp from the Kop.

Meanwhile, in Serbia, Cavani opened the scoring for PSG off an assist from Mbappe, provisionally putting the French side into the top spot in the group, with Napoli in second and Liverpool third.

Back in Liverpool, the hosts put one in the back of the net in the 22nd minute when Mane turned in a cross, but he was well offside, and the assistant referee made the correct call in wiping it off the board to keep it 0-0.

Liverpool finally got the goal it was looking for in the 34th minute through Salah, who turned on Kalidou Koulibaly, beat him for pace and nutmegged goalkeeper David Ospina from a tight angle to give the Reds a 1-0 lead and provisionally put them into second in the group.

PSG continued to do what it had to in Serbia, with Neymar doubling the visitors' lead in the 40th minute with a fantastic individual effort and reinforcing the club's place atop Group C.

As the second halves began in both matches, Liverpool nearly secured some added breathing room through Salah. The Egyptian star had a golden chance from about 12 yards out on a right-sided angle, but he hooked his chance just wide of the right post to keep it 1-0.

Red Star, meanwhile, continued to play opponents tough at home and pulled one back from PSG, with Marko Gobeljic scoring in the 56th minute. It did little to change the live table, but it did shrink PSG's margin for error over the final half an hour.

At Anfield, Ospina did what he could to keep Napoli alive, coming up with a tremendous kick save to rob Mane of a goal that would've given Liverpool a 2-0 lead in the 77th minute. That nearly paid off on the other end when Jose Callejon came inches from giving Napoli the goal it needed, only to put his chance over the bar.

Back in Serbia, PSG secured the breathing room it needed through Marquinhos, whose goal padded the visitors' lead at 3-1, before Mbappe finished it off in stoppage time.

As Liverpool pushed for a second, it looked like Mane would get it, with Salah setting it on a platter for his teammate, only for the Senegal star to hook his chance into the side netting.

On the other hand, Liverpool was reduced to requiring Alisson's heroics. In the second minute of stoppage time, Milik had a point-blank opportunity, but the Brazilian goalkeeper was equal to it, coming off his line and making the block that kept Liverpool alive and Napoli out.


Here were the lineups for both games:

LIVERPOOL vs. NAPOLI

RED STAR BELGRADE vs. PSG

The Champions League group stage concludes Wednesday, with the last-16 draw slated for Monday.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)