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Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012

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Head master: Arsenal defender Sebastien Squillaci heads the ball as Olympiakos' Kostas Manolas looks on during their Champions League game on Tuesday. AFP-JIJI

PSG, Schalke secure Champions League second-round seeds

AP

GENEVA — Paris Saint-Germain and Schalke sealed first place in their Champions League groups on Tuesday, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored his tournament-leading sixth goal to help Real Madrid beat Ajax 4-1.

A 17-minute snow delay during the Dinamo Zagreb-Dynamo Kiev match offered something unexpected on a night when all places in the last 16 were decided before kickoff.

Kaka also scored for Madrid, but Borussia Dortmund had the group won before beating winless Manchester City 1-0 and will be seeded in the Dec. 20 draw.

PSG beat pre-match leader FC Porto 2-1 to top Group A. Last-place Zagreb collected its first goal and first point of the campaign in a 1-1 draw with Kiev.

Arsenal lost 2-1 at Olympiakos, allowing Schalke to be No. 1 in Group B despite drawing 1-1 with Montpellier.

Malaga had already clinched Group C before drawing 2-2 with Anderlecht, and second-place AC Milan lost 1-0 at home to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Madrid and Milan shape as dangerous unseeded teams in a well-balanced knockout stage. Teams cannot be paired with anyone from their home country, or an opponent already faced in the groups.

"Come February we will likely have to play against a difficult team that came top of its table and probably thought it would get an easy rival," Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said.

Ajax and Zenit join Kiev and Olympiakos as the third-place teams entering the last 32 of the Europa League. That draw is also made Dec. 20.

Ronaldo finished an excellent attack in the 13th minute that was started by Luka Modric's strong tackle in his own half and long diagonal pass to send Karim Benzema clear of the Ajax offside trap.

The Portugal winger's goal-a-game ratio in the group stage takes him clear of Lionel Messi, Burak Yilmaz and Alan, who each have five goals but could all play on Wednesday.

Modric set up Jose Callejon for the first of his two goals in the 28th. Callejon added a header in the 88th from Alvaro Morata's cross.

In between, Kaka curled in a perfectly placed left-foot shot from 25 meters in the 49th to give Madrid a 3-0 lead.

Ajax scored in the 59th when Derk Boerrigter volleyed into an unguarded net after backup goalkeeper Antonio Adan had weakly punched the ball out of his penalty area.

Kagawa set for return

Kyodo

LONDON — Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa has resumed training for Manchester United following a knee injury and could feature in the derby match against Manchester City this weekend, according to comments made by manager Alex Ferguson on Tuesday.

In comments posted on United's website ahead of its Champions League match against CFR Cluj, Ferguson said, "Kagawa started running today. He may make the bench (against City)."

The Japan star, who was named the Asian Football Confederation's international player of the year last week, has been sidelined since suffering from a left knee injury sustained in a Champion's League tie against Braga on Oct. 23.

United takes on Cluj on Wednesday in the final match of the Champions League group stage before playing City at the Etihad Stadium on Dec. 9th.



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