On Tuesday, reigning champions Manchester City and RB Leipzig secured their places in the Champions League last 16, making them the first teams to do so this season.
Norwegian striker Erling Haaland opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half and later added another goal after the break, taking his season tally to 15 goals.
Phil Foden also found the back of the net during first-half stoppage time. Young Boys’ task became even harder when Sandro Lauper was shown a red card, reducing them to 10 players.
This win marked Manchester City’s 10th consecutive home victory in the Champions League group stage.
Guardiola expressed his satisfaction after the game, speaking to TNT Sports: “Of course we are incredibly happy to have qualified with two games left.”
“Finish first. We have time to think about it.”
“Maybe we were not, clinical is not the right word. not clear, sweet, soft enough in the last moment to score more goals. But I love to see the team.”
“The word that define this group of players for many years is the consistency. We have high standards and and that is why we are still in the Premier League up there and qualified from the Champions League.”
Leipzig confirmed their place in the Champions League last 16 alongside City with a 2-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade in Group G.
Xavi Simons ignited the scoring for the German side with a magnificent finish into the far corner, while Lois Openda extended their lead to 2-0 in the rainy Belgrade conditions, marking his 10th goal of the season.
Despite Red Star’s goal courtesy of a Benjamin Henrichs own goal, they now face a battle with Young Boys for a spot in the Europa League knockout phase.
In Group H, Shakhtar Donetsk pulled off a stunning upset against Barcelona, thanks to Danylo Sikan’s decisive goal.
Barcelona had the chance to progress to the last 16 with a victory over Shakhtar Donetsk. However, the Ukrainian club kept their hopes alive with a memorable 1-0 win in Hamburg.
Danylo Sikan, the 22-year-old forward, scored the crucial goal late in the first half with a header, and Shakhtar managed to maintain their lead until the end of the Group H game.
Despite their possession dominance, the Spanish champions struggled to create chances, registering only one shot on target even after introducing Pedri, Lamine Yamal, and João Félix in the second half.
“It feels very sweet,” smiled coach Marino Pusic.
“I am tremendously proud of my players and all the people in the club, working very hard to support me in this, what we achieved tonight.”
Barcelona’s coach admitted the team’s shortcomings in his post-game news conference, stating,
“We deserved to lose, We have to be honest. We played badly and nothing we had planned came off.”
“The level of our performances is really low at the moment. This was one of the worst games of my two years in charge. We have to be self-critical.”
“There was a reaction in the second half but it wasn’t enough. This competition demands your best and we were not at it today. It is clear a step back.”
“We are angry. Confidence has dropped, we are in a bit of a rut and we need a reset.”
In Group H, Porto’s Pepe etches his name in history books as the oldest scorer in a Champions League game. Brazilian forward Evanilson opened the scoring for Porto with a first-half penalty, capitalizing on their numerical advantage after Antwerp’s Jurgen Ekkelenkamp was sent off early in the second half.
Porto sealed the victory in stoppage time when the experienced defender Pepe headed in, setting a new record at the age of 40 years and 254 days as the oldest player ever to score in the Champions League.
This achievement surpasses the previous milestone held by Francesco Totti, who last scored for Roma in the competition at the age of 38.
Meanwhile, in Group E, Atletico Madrid seized the top position by crushing 10-man Celtic 6-0 in Spain, marking their most significant victory in the modern Champions League era.
Antoine Griezmann initiated the onslaught with an early goal, and Celtic’s Daizen Maeda received a red card midway through the first half.
Alvaro Morata doubled the lead to 2-0 just before halftime, and Griezmann completed his brace in the 60th minute.
Samuel Lino contributed a spectacular fourth goal, Morata added his second, and Saul Niguez wrapped up the scoring.
In the same group, Lazio secured a 1-0 victory against Feyenoord, thanks to Ciro Immobile’s 200th goal for the club, highlighting his remarkable milestone in the Champions League.