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Manchester "big two" crash out of champions league

12-08-2011 11:34 BJT

LONDON, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Two football giants Manchester United and its city rival both failed to qualify for the last-16 berths here on Wednesday as the group stage of UEFA Champions League concluded.

On a night of drama, Manchester City, the hottest club in Premier League this season with its unstoppable attacking football, though beating group leader Bayern Munich 2-0 and seemingly on course to progress, was shattered in mood by the second-placed Napoli in Group A.

The Italian upward side overcame a first half slump, staging a strong comeback 2-0 victory over Villarreal to confirm its advantageous status in the group.

With one more point, Napoli grabbed the last ticket of the group from Man City, qualifying for the knockout rounds with Bayern, who had already booked the berth before the final group rounds.

Also on a black night for Manchester United, the three-time European champions failed to hold the one-point superiority in Group C, tasting a bitter and shocking 2-1 away defeat against a low-profile Basel.

The last season's runner-up ended the Champions League journey in group stage for the first time since 2005/06.

Both the Manchester clubs had to move on to the low-level Europa League after Wednesday's early exit.

Elsewhere, two big games produced two uneasy qualifiers.

French strength Lyon created a miracle to progress in Group D by winning 7-1 at Dinamo Zagreb.

However, before the final whistle, it was not enough for them to go through as Lyon needed Ajax with three-point advantage to lose at home.

Fortunately, group leader Real Madrid breezed past the Dutch side with a 3-0 victory, finishing a perfect six-win record in group stage and also giving Lyon a lift.

In Group B, CSKA Moskva told another unlikely qualifying story. They won 2-1 at group winner Inter Milan and made it move fourth to second to progress, eliminating the third-placed Trabzonspor with a minor point.

So far, all the last-16 teams were produced. They are the group winners: Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Benfica, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal, APOEL FC, Barcelona and the runners-ups: Napoli, CSKA Moskva, Basel, Lyon, Leverkusen, Marseille, Zenit St Petersburg and AC Milan.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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