Champions League: Coutinho Treble Fires Reds, Ronaldo Hits Milestone in Madrid Win

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Philippe Coutinho netted a hat-trick as Liverpool roared to a 7-0 win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday to join Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto in qualifying for the Champions League knockout rounds.

It was the second time the Reds will hit seven in this season’s competition to finish top of Group E after they beat Maribor 7-0 in October.

Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Reds were 3-0 up inside 19 minutes on a night that saw Coutinho notch his first hat-trick for the club, with further goals from Sadio Mane, who bagged a brace, and one each for Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

This means there will be a record five English clubs in next Monday’s last 16 draw, and they will not be able to face each other.

Spartak’s defeat also meant Sevilla were through regardless of their 1-1 draw with Maribor in Slovenia. Paulo Henrique Ganso came off to score the leveller after Maribor captain Marcos Tavares had given his side the lead.

The final night of group-stage action also saw another Cristiano Ronaldo goals record in the competition as the Portuguese superstar scored his ninth in the competition this season in reigning champions Real Madrid’s 3-2 win at home to Borussia Dortmund.

He now becomes the first player to score in all six Champions League group-stage matches in a season while also equalling his Barcelona rival Lionel Messi’s record of 60 group-stage goals in total.

Real Madrid were already through before beating Dortmund 3-2 in a Bernabeu thriller, Borja Mayoral and Lucas Vazquez scoring either side of Ronaldo’s goal to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace.

Group H winners Tottenham Hotspur eased to a 3-0 win at home to APOEL, with Fernando Llorente, Son Heung-min and Georges-Kevin N’Koudou scoring at Wembley.

Shakhtar Donetsk are through to the last 16 in Group F after beating Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City – who had already won the group – 2-1 in Kharkiv, while Napoli lost by the same score at Feyenoord.

Cameroonian Vincent Aboubakar scored twice as Porto hammered Monaco 5-2 to clinch a spot in the last 16 alongside Group G winners Besikstas who ran out 2-1 winners at RB Leipzig.

Emmanuel Offor

An avid sports fan who is also hooked on movies, music and books. Basically, I PLAYpen & PUNCHlines

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