Manchester United had to come from behind to secure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, after trailing to Benfica in Wednesday’s Group F encounter.
With United needing a draw to avoid elimination at the group stage for the second season in succession, the Old Trafford crowd was stunned on 28 minutes when Nelson fired home a brilliant drive from 25 yards.
United drew level at the end of the first half when Nemanja Vidic headed home Giggs’s free-kick. Giggs was put United in front on 61 minutes and Louis Saha’s header 15 minutes from time sealed his side’s progress to the second round.
In the group’s other game, Celtic, who had already qualified, went down tamely to FC Copenhagen. The Scottish champions fell behind after just two minutes when Atiba Hutchinson nipped in to score. And things deteriorated on 27 minutes when former Chelsea winger Jesper Gronkjaer scored from close range.
Celtic conceded a third goal for the third away game in a row in the competition when Marcus Allback was on target on 57 minutes. Celtic did claim a consolation through Jiri Jarosik on 75 minutes.
Steaua Bucharest stunned group leaders Lyon after just three minutes at Stade Gerland when Nicolae Dica volleyed home from the edge of the area. However, the French champions levelled on 12 minutes when Alou Diarra headed in Kim Kallstrom’s corner to consolidate their position at the top of Group E.
Dynamo Kyiv, the Group E whipping boys, took a 2-0 lead inside half an hour against Real Madrid. Maxim Shatskikh scored both goals for the Ukrainian outfit, who were without a win in the competition this season.
But Real rallied in the closing stages to claim a 2-2 draw, after Ronaldo pulled one back and then levelled the scores from the spot with seconds remaining.
Arsenal secured top spot in Group G after grinding out a dull 0-0 draw in Porto – the result was enough to take both teams through.
CSKA Moscow’s chances of qualification evaporated in a thrilling encounter in Hamburg. The Russian side went in front on 23 minutes when Ivica Olic converted a penalty after Milos Krasic had been brought down.
But Hamburg, without a point from the previous five matches, equalised five minutes later through Besart Berisha.
The Russians went back in front on 65 minutes through Yuri Zhirkov, but were denied even a point by Rafael van der Vaart’s on 84 minutes and Boubacar Sanogo’s late winner.
In Group H, Milan had already secured top spot and could afford to field an under-strength team in losing 2-0 at home to Lille. Peter Odemwingie scored early, and Abdulkader Keita added a second after the break to take Lille through to the last 16 for the first time.
Anderlecht needed a win to have any hope of gaining a Uefa Cup spot, but the Belgian side were held to a 2-2 draw by AEK.
Anthony vanden Borre put Anderlecht in front on 38 minutes and Nicolas Frutos added a second goal on 64 minutes.
However, goals from Vassilis Lakis and Bruno Cirillo within the space of five minutes, put the Greek side back in the game, and although a victory was beyond them, they will find some consolation in reaching qualifying for the Uefa Cup.