Philippe Mexes wonder goal helps AC Milan progress
Dortmund win Group D after 4-1 win at Ajax Amsterdam
Man City exit Champions League after 1-1 draw at home to Real Madrid
Schalke and Arsenal qualify from Group B
A wonder goal from French international Philippe Mexes helped seven-time winners AC Milan into the last 16 of the European Champions League with a 3-1 win at 10-man Anderlecht Wednesday.
With an effort reminiscent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s incredible goal for Sweden against England earlier this month, Mexes scored with an acrobatic bicycle kick to put Milan 2-0 ahead in a vital game.
Anderlecht conceded a 70th minute free kick after Bram Nuytinck was shown red for bringing down Alexandre Pato as he burst clear.
Ricardo Montolivo took the kick to set up Mexes to control the ball on his chest before unleashing his strike from outside the penalty area and into the home goal.
With Group C winners Malaga held 2-2 at Zenit St Petersburg earlier in the day, both teams sought three points to seal the runners-up spot.
Stephan El Shaarawy put the Serie A side ahead just after half time before Mexes added his stunning effort.
Tom De Sutter pulled one back for the Belgian side, but Milan had Pato to thank for a late third to seal the victory.
In the formidable Group D, Manchester City exited the competition as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by 10-man Real Madrid.
It is the second successive year the English Premier League champions have failed to progress from the group stages and with a round of matches still remaining.
Borussia Dortmund have won the group after their 4-1 drubbing of Ajax Amsterdam, with Real advancing to the last 16 in second place.
Real went ahead through Karim Benzema in the ninth minute, allowed time and space by City defender Maicon to convert an Angel Di Maria cross.
Jose Mourinho’s men had ample opportunities to make the game safe, with Cristiano Ronaldo wasting the best chance.
The home side improved in the second half and were rewarded for their efforts when Alvaro Arbeloa clumsily pulled down Sergio Aguero to concede a penalty and earn his marching orders for a second yellow card.
Aguero converted from the spot in the 73rd minute, but Roberto Mancini’s side could not press home the advantage of an extra man.
German champions Dortmund continued their impressive form in Amsterdam with Marco Reus putting them ahead early against their Dutch counterparts.
Mario Goetze capped a fine display with the second goal while Poland striker Robert Lewandowski scored either side of half-time.
Striker Danny Hoesen grabbed a late consolation for the hosts who are still battling Manchester City for the Europa League spot for third place in the group in the final round of games.
In Group B, Schalke and Arsenal booked their passage to the knockout stages with home victories over Olympiakos and Montpellier.
Royal Blues Schalke needed a late strike from Christian Fuchs to seal their 1-0 win and stay one point clear of the EPL side at the top of the section.
Arsenal beat the French champions 2-0 with Jack Wilshere, returning to his best form after injury, setting them on their way just after half time.
German international Lukas Podolski fired a magnificent second goal for the Gunners on 63 minutes.
Big-spending Paris Saint Germain qualified for the group stages for the second time with a 2-0 win at Dynamo Kiev.
Ezekiel Lavezzi scored both goals for PSG, who are still pressing Porto for top spot in Group A. Porto thrashed bottom club Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 to stay a point clear.