Man City, PSG and Real Madrid advance in Champions League

WINNING GOAL Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus shoots to score their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 (November 25 in Manila). AFP PHOTO

WINNING GOAL Manchester City’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus shoots to score their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 (November 25 in Manila). AFP PHOTO

PARIS: Manchester City beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) but both clubs qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, along with Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Sporting Lisbon.

Gabriel Jesus tapped in from Bernardo Silva’s deft knockdown on 76 minutes to settle an absorbing match at the Etihad after Raheem Sterling had cancelled out Kylian Mbappe’s goal.

Before Jesus sent the crowd wild in Manchester, Neymar shot wide to blow a golden chance to put the Parisians ahead.

Lionel Messi had a low-key game and Sergio Ramos, named among the substitutes, was not called on to make his PSG debut.

Pep Guardiola’s City, the beaten finalists last season, are guaranteed of winning Group A, while PSG qualified in second place despite the defeat because RB Leipzig thrashed Club Brugge 5-0 in Belgium.

Meanwhile, Karim Benzema scored just hours after being found guilty by a French court in a blackmail case as Real Madrid eased past Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 to reach the knockout stage.

The French striker notched his team’s third goal of a confident display in Transnistria after David Alaba’s free-kick and Toni Kroos’ strike as Real took revenge for their shock 2-1 loss to Sheriff in Madrid earlier this season.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said the court verdict, and the one-year suspended jail sentence Benzema received for his part in blackmailing former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sextape, had not affected the striker.

The victory sent the Spanish giants back to the top of Group D, two points clear of second-placed Inter Milan, who also qualified for the last 16 after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 thanks to two Edin Dzeko goals.

Sporting Lisbon reached the knockout phase for the first time since the 2008-2009 season as they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the Portuguese capital.