A dramatic night of Champions League action on Tuesday saw almost everything—spectacular goals, a flurry of red cards and even an abandonment due to adverse weather.
With three places in the last 16 of the competition still up for grabs, plenty of teams had every incentive to come away with a win, while Manchester United and Bayern Munich still had to officially secure top spots in their respective groups.
Click through the slideshow to see how all eight of the night's contests panned out.
A second-half volley from Phil Jones enabled Manchester United to edge to a 1-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk and confirm a top spot in Group A, easing some of the pressure on David Moyes in the process.
In an even game that saw the visitors create their share of chances, particularly in the first half, Moyes cut a frustrated figure as United—and Ashley Young in particular—wasted some glorious openings before Jones lifted spirits around Old Trafford with his clinical finish.
Afterward, Moyes said, "
On target: 2-3
Pass completion: 86 percent to 81 percent
Possession: 55 percent to 45 percent
Manchester City came from two goals down to defeat Bayern Munich 3-2 at the Allianz Arena, although they fell one goal short of what they needed to supplant their opponents as Group D winners.
Manuel Pellegrini saw some abject defending put his side two goals behind within the first 12 minutes, as Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze took advantage of disorganization in the City ranks.
City fought back on terms through David Silva's 28th-minute strike and Aleksandar Kolarov's second-half penalty before James Milner completed a remarkable turnaround with a precise right-foot finish.
That gave City 28 minutes to find the extra goal they needed to top the group (on head-to-head away goals, no less) but one was not forthcoming, as Bayern held on to win the game despite its first defeat of the European campaign.
Afterward, Bayern manager Pep Guardiola said:
On target: 6-6
Pass completion: 88 percent to 77 percent
Possession: 60 percent to 40 percent
The only winner-takes-all tie of the night was abandoned with just 33 minutes of action played, as a persistent—and violent—hailstorm gave the referee little choice but to halt the action.
The two sides will now return on Wednesday at noon GMT to complete the remaining part of the match, with Galatasaray needing to win in order to usurp their Italian opponents and finish second in Group B.
The game will resume with the score at 0-0 and the same amount of time played, after measures on Tuesday evening—including clearing the hail from certain areas and repainting lines—were rendered irrelevant by the continued onslaught.
Real Madrid eased to a group-concluding 2-0 victory over FC Copenhagen in Denmark, despite Cristiano Ronaldo missing a late penalty.
Ronaldo did score his side's second goal—his ninth of these group stages, which ties with a competition record—to clinch a fairly routine victory after Luka Modric opened the scoring with what was perhaps the goal of the night.
Some uncharacteristically wayward finishing from the likes of Gareth Bale prevented the score from being more emphatic, as Ronaldo saw a chipped late penalty anticipated and palmed away by the Copenhagen goalkeeper.
Afterward, Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid's manager, said:
On target: 1-10
Pass completion: 82 percent to 90 percent
Possession: 37 percent to 63 percent
With Shakhtar Donetsk losing to Manchester United in Group A's other match, Bayer Leverkusen stole second in the group, thanks to a narrow 1-0 win in Spain.
Needing to beat Shakhtar's result in order to leapfrog them, Omer Toprak grabbed the game's only goal shortly after halftime to send Sami Hyypia's side into the next phase.
Afterward, Hyypia said,
On target: 4-17
Pass completion: 78 percent to 84 percent
Possession: 49 percent to 51 percent
Knowing a win would put them into the knockout stages of the Champions League, Olympiakos duly clinched that result in an ill-tempered game against Anderlecht.
The Belgian side, crumbling out of Europe entirely, had three players—including goalkeeper Silvio Proto, who had saved two penalties—sent off during the course of the match.
Javier Saviola opened the scoring with a smart finish in the first half before Anderlecht struck back on the counter-attack through Sacha Kljestan to quiet the home crowd.
Prior to that, Saviola missed one penalty and, subsequently, Vladimir Weiss before Alejandro Dominguez finally showed his team-mates how it was done in injury time (after Proto had been dismissed) to spark delirious celebrations.
Anderlecht's Cheikhou Kouyate and Fabrice N'Sakala were also sent off, and three more players picked up yellow cards—a display of poor discipline that is likely to see UEFA action.
On target: 10-3
Pass completion: 85 percent to 74 percent
Possession: 63 percent to 37 percent
Benfica's 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain was eventually all for nothing, as the Portuguese side finished where they started the evening—third in Group C—due to Olympiakos' win elsewhere.
Edinson Cavani gave PSG, which had already sewn up the top spot, an early lead with a close-range finish before strikes from Lima (from the penalty spot) and Nicolas Gaitan (with 30 minutes remaining) gave Benfica the win they really needed.
The result in Greece, however, meant they were eventually forced to settle for a Europa League spot when European competition resumes in the New Year.
On target: 7-3
Pass completion: 82 percent to 89 percent
Possession: 46 percent to 54 percent
Tuesday's final match was between two sides already out of the knockout stage reckoning, yet there was still drama as Viktoria Plzen came from behind to steal a Europa League spot with a 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow.
CSKA, ahead in the group by three points, went ahead in the second half of the match through Ahmed Musa but were dealt a blow when Alan Dzagoev received his marching orders.
Having lost 3-2 to the Russians in the reverse fixture, Plzen knew a 2-1 win would send them into the Europa League on head-to-head away goals—and they duly achieved that result in the final 15 minutes, as Daniel Kolar and Tomas Wagner (in the 90th minute) breached the CSKA back line.
CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky said,
On target: 4-5
Pass completion: 78 percent to 76 percent
Possession: 56 percent to 44 percent