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Up is down, down is up
by Paul Kennedy, November 26th, 2013 9:09PM

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TAGS:  arsenal, barcelona, chelsea, uefa champions league

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[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Matchday 5] Up was down, and down was up on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League. Ajax handed Barcelona its first loss of the Gerardo Martino era with a 2-1 win that may still not be enough to get Ajax through to the knockout stage.

Barca had previously clinched a berth in the knockout stage and was playing without the injured Lionel Messi and with a makeshift backline that could not stop a young Ajax team that led on goals by 23-year-old South African Thulani Serero and 22-year-old Dutchman Danny Hoesen.

"We have beaten them with the philosophy of both Ajax and Barcelona," said Ajax coach Frank De Boer said. "With pressure on the opponent. Our pressure was fantastic. We constantly put pressure on their creative midfielders. It was a great first half and we were deservedly in front 2-0."

Ajax held on for the win despite a red card to defender Joel Veltman, but it will be for naught if it doesn't win at AC Milan with the second spot in the knockout stage from Group H on the line.

"The first half was terrible, we lacked the right attitude," said Martino, a late summer replacement at Barcelona. "We lost the game in the first half. Ajax fought for a place in the next round and could play freely. Tactically a lot went wrong with us, we were only running after the ball. Ajax played very well."

Despite the 1-0 loss to FC Basel -- its second loss to the Swiss club in the tournament -- Chelsea clinched a berth in the round of 16 as Schalke 04 could do no better than tie last-place Steaua Bucharest, 0-0.

Chelsea's inconsistency in Jose Mourinho's second tour as manager continued as it deservedly fell to Basel on Egyptian Mohamed Salah's late goal.

The Blues had won all six games in October -- including wins over Steaua Bucharest and Schalke 04 that got them back in the hunt in the Champions League after an opening loss at home to Basel -- but since then they have not managed two wins in a row.

-- Elsewhere, Jack Wilshere scored two goals -- after only 27 seconds and in the 65th minute -- to give EPL leader Arsenal a 2-0 win over Marseille for its fourth win in five Champions League games, but it will still need a result at Napoli on Dec. 11 to be assured of advancing to the knockout stage for the  14th straight year.

TUESDAY: Results
GROUP E

FC Basel 1
(Salah 87) Chelsea 0.
Steaua Bucharest 0 Schalke 04 0.
Standings:
9 *Chelsea
8 FC Basel
7 Schalke 04
3 Steaua Bucharest
*Clinched berth in round of 16.

FC Basel-Chelsea:


GROUP F
Bor. Dortmund 3
(Reus 10 pen., Blaszczykowski 60, Aubameyang 78) Napoli 1 (Insigne 71).
Arsenal 2 (Wilshere 1, 65) Marseille 0.
Standings:
12 Arsenal
9 Bor. Dortmund
9 Napoli
0 Marseille

GROUP G
Zenit St. Petersburg 1 (own goal 74) Atletico Madrid 1 (Adrian 53).
Porto 1 (Martinez 48) Austria Vienna 1 (Kienast 11).
Standings:
13 *Atletico Madrid
6 Zenit St Petersburg
5 Porto
2 Austria Vienna
*Clinched berth in round of 16.

GROUP H
Ajax 2
(Serero 19, Hoesen 41) Barcelona 1 (Xavi 49 pen.).
Celtic 0 AC Milan 3 (Kaka 13, Zapata 49, Balotelli 59).
Standings:
10 *Barcelona
8 AC Milan
7 Ajax
3 Celtic
*Clinched berth in round of 16.

Ajax-Barcelona:


WEDNESDAY: Schedule
GROUP A

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Real Sociedad
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Man. United, Fox Sports 1, 2:45 pm ET (live)
Standings:
8 Man. United
7 Bayer Leverkusen
5 Shakhtar Donetsk
1 Real Sociedad

GROUP B
Juventus vs. FC Copenhagen
Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray, Fox Sports 2/Fox Deportes, 2:45 pm ET (live)
Standings:
10 Real Madrid
4 Galatasaray
4 FC Copenhagen
3 Juventus

GROUP C
Anderlecht vs.  Benfica
Paris SG vs. Olympiakos
Standings:
10 Paris SG
7 Olympiakos
5 Benfica
1 Anderlecht

GROUP D
Man. City vs. Viktoria Plzen, Fox Soccer Plus, 2:45 pm ET (live)
CSKA Moscow vs. Bayern Munich, Fox Sports 2/Fox Deportes, noon (live)
Standings:
12 Bayern Munich
9 Man. City
3 CSKA Moscow
0 Viktoria Plzen

Note: All games will air live on Fox Soccer 2Go.



1 comment
  1. ROBERT BOND
    commented on: November 27, 2013 at 8:57 a.m.
    Die Roten look awesome-looking forward to their Portland trip next year.....Gunners look better on the road up against it than at home.....

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