Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.
Email Jon to talk about soccer.
GROUP A | Manchester United couldn't take advantage of a trip to formerly-pointless Real Sociedad, drawing 0-0 in Spain. Robin Van Persie missed a penalty and Marouane Fellaini managed to get sent off, and United couldn't find a way to win despite Sociedad not producing a single shot on goal.
Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayer Leverkusen couldn't find a goal in their match either, making Group A officially the most boring group in the history of anything. United are a point ahead of Bayer and three clear of Shakhtar, with two matches to play.
GROUP B | Real Madrid can still score, and still can't defend. Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale were canceled out by an Arturo Vidal penalty and a Fernando Liorente strike for Juventus, and the two finished 2-2 in Italy. The draw means that Juventus are on the bottom of Group D, though they can still go to the next round with wins against FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray, the former of which beat the latter 1-0 in Denmark.
GROUP C | Paris-St Germain beat Anderlecht 5-0 when the two teams met last week in Belgium, but Tuesday in Paris, the oil-soaked French club could only manage a 1-1 draw against the same team. They've still all but qualified - one point in their final two matches against Olympiakos and Benfica will accomplish it - but it was nice to see Anderlecht both get their first point, and deny PSG qualification.
In the group's other game, Olympiakos beat Benfica 1-0 to take control of the battle for second place. The Greeks are now three points clear of the Portuguese, with two games to play.
GROUP D | For the first time ever, Manchester City are going to the knockout round of the Champions League. Sergio Aguero scored twice and Alvaro Negredo had a hat trick for City, as they beat CSKA Moscow 5-2 at home. (For some reason, City games in Europe always seem to be goal-fests.)
Bayern Munich have also qualified for the next round, after their fourth win in four games. The defending champs beat Viktoria Plzen 1-0, and now Group D is officially decided, except to find out whether CSKA or Viktoria Plzen will finish third and end up in the losers' bracket of the Europa League.
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