Spotlight on Ronaldo for European homecoming
AFP Sports looks ahead to tomorrow morning’s selected Champions League action as Cristiano Ronaldo goes back to first club Sporting Lisbon: CSKA Moscow v Leverkusen Morale is on the floor in Moscow with CSKA bottom of Group E before Leverkusen’s visit. The defending Russian champions this week saw their midfielder Roman Eremenko hit with a two-year ban for cocaine use after a positive test following the reverse fixture between the teams in September.
Leverkusen can progress by avoiding defeat, provided Tottenham Hotspur lose away to Monaco. The Germans are unbeaten in the section, following up three draws by beating Tottenham at Wembley last time out. However, they are struggling in mid-table in the Bundesliga having lost at home to RB Leipzig at the weekend. Dortmund v Legia Warsaw Dortmund, the 1997 winners and 2013 runners-up, are already certain to progress to the last 16 having amassed 10 points from their first four matches.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are now looking to secure top spot and a win at home to alreadyeliminated Legia will guarantee them first place, as long as Real Madrid drop points at Sporting Lisbon.
At the very least, a win will ensure the Bundesliga club go to Madrid next month in a posi- tion to clinch the group.
Dortmund are fresh from beating Bayern Munich 1-0 in “Der Klassiker” at the weekend thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 12th Bundesliga goal of the season. Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo (caricature) takes on his first professional club Sporting as a champion of Europe with Real and Portugal and is widely expected to pick up his fourth Ballon d’Or.
He will doubtless receive a hero’s welcome on his return to the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Champions League holders Real won the reverse fixture 2-1 and are unbeaten in 29 games in all competitions. All Zinedine Zidane’s men need here is a point to secure passage to the next round, but with Dortmund top of the group by two points Real will want to hunt them down as a point of pride – and to earn an easier draw in the next round. Sporting are on an upturn and scoring regularly and are still in with a chance of the Europa League. Copenhagen v Porto Copenhagen bagged a 1-1 draw away to second-placed Porto in September and are fighting for Champions League survival in this game, in which a win for the Portuguese would see them qualify.
Porto go into the clash with the depressing effect of having lost a penalty shoot-out to Chaves in the Portuguese Cup at the weekend, while the hosts powered to yet another win in the league. A win for the Danes would see them leap-frog their opponents in the group. Has the makings of a classic. Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon Dinamo cannot qualify for the next round after a miserable Cham- pions League campaign that has seen them fail to earn a point or even score a goal in four matches. They still have the consolation of the Europa League just about alive, but must win this game for starters.
Lyon, with four points from four games, are only slightly better off and need a victory in Zagreb and for Juventus to fail to win to live another day. Bafetimbi Gomis – now at rivals Marseille – scored four, including an e ightminute hattrick, when Lyon won 7-1 in Zagreb in the 2011/12 group stage. – AFP