In Manchester City’s group, as expected Ajax went down to defeat at Real Madrid but the English champions could not take advantage and clinch a place in the Europa League.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Maria Callejon put Real 2-0 ahead after 28 minutes at the Bernabeu as Jose Mourinho’s side shook off the uncertainty about their coach’s future.
Forgotten man Kaka, who has been linked with a move to LA Galaxy, added a memorable third just after the break, finishing a mazy run with a shot that curled into the top corner, before Derk Boerrigter pulled one back for Ajax. Callejon made it 4-1 near the end.
Arsenal’s disappointment at losing to Olympiakos was compounded by their failure to take advantage of Schalke’s inability to beat Montpellier to finish top of their group.
Huub Stevens’ side needed a win to make sure of topping Group B and avoiding Barcelona or Manchester United in the next round. Benedikt Höwedes put them ahead in the 56th minute but Emanuel Herrera equalised for Montpellier three minutes later to earn the French champions only their second point. However, Arsenal could not capitalise on the 1-1 draw.
Carlos Ancelotti enjoyed some respite from Paris Saint-Germain’s recent defeats in Ligue 1 as his expensively assembled side beat Porto 2-1 to leapfrog the Portuguese team and finish top of their group. PSG’s £25m striker Ezequiel Lavezzi got the winner thanks to a second-half blunder by Porto goalkeeper Helton who allowed his low shot to slip under his dive.
Heavy falling snow in Zagreb forced the players of Dinamo and Dynamo Kiev off for 15 minutes as the white lines on the pitch had been obliterated. The ground staff hastily remarked them using red paint and after about 15 minutes the match resumed – much to the relief of the 3,000 crowd who had braved the weather, one of the lowest attendances for a Champions League group game. It finished 1-1.