Madrid, Sociedad advance; Man U fall in Champions League
GENEVA, Switzerland (AP):
On a royally good evening for standout Spanish teams, Manchester United fell to another wild loss in the Champions League yesterday.
Real Madrid and Real Sociedad advanced to the round of 16 with two games to spare after impressive home wins over Portuguese opponents, respectively, 3-0 against Braga and 3-1 over Benfica.
Bayern Munich and Inter Milan also won and will be in the knockout phase after getting key late goals from their talismanic strikers, Harry Kane and Lautaro Martinez.
Kane scored in the 80th and 86th minutes in a 2-1 win over Galatasaray, and Inter's 1-0 win at Salzburg was sealed by Martinez's penalty in the 85th.
Man United rarely have straightforward games in the English giant's drama-filled season on and off the field.
A 4-3 loss at Copenhagen - the same result as United's opening game at Bayern - after twice letting leads slip left United last in Group A.
The three-time European champion seemed in total control with a two-goal lead after 28 minutes earned by US$80 million forward Rasmus Hojlund, returning to face his former club.
A red card for United's forward Marcus Rashford in the 42nd sparked the chaos to follow, which saw Copenhagen level the score in 13 minutes of first-half stoppage time because of two pauses in play, including a protester on the field.
United led again when Bruno Fernandes scored from the penalty spot in the 69th but could not hang on. Lukas Lerager levelled in the 83rd before 17-year-old substitute Roony Bardghji won it in the 87th.
Arsenal took a four-point lead in Group B by comfortably beating Sevilla 2-0, while PSV Eindhoven rose from last place to second with their first win, 1-0 at home to Lens.
In Madrid's group, Napoli have a grip on second place despite failing to extend Union Berlin's losing run in all competitions to 13 games.
Napoli wasted a lead in a 1-1 draw that Union earned when David Datro Fofana, a forward on loan from Chelsea, scored in the 52nd for his first goal in almost a year.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti's plans included resting breakout star Jude Bellingham in a vibrant game with Braga for the record 14-time European champion.
Not in the plan was selecting Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, who got a late call when first-choice Kepa Arrizabalaga got a leg muscle injury before warm-up.
Just six minutes into his third game of the season for Madrid, and first since August, Lunin saved a penalty from Braga's Alvaro Djalo.
Brahim Diaz had a goal disallowed before he gave Madrid a first-half lead, and Brazil teammates Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo added goals in three minutes around the hour mark.
Real Sociedad threatened to sweep aside Benfica in the first half of a 3-1 win that saw their three goals all scored by the 21st and a penalty missed minutes later.
In their first Champions League campaign for 10 years, Real Sociedad and long-serving coach Imanol Aguacil are impressing with a largely home-grown group of players from the Basque region.