Spurs & Liverpool finish at summit


Erik Lamela scored a first-half hat-trick as Tottenham sailed into the Europa League knockout stages as group winners with a 4-1 win over Monaco.

The Argentina international looks a player reborn under Mauricio Pochettino this season and the winger completed his treble in just 37 minutes, before Tom Carroll added a late fourth following Stephan El Shaarawy’s second-half consolation.

The victory means Spurs qualify top of Group J and will now be seeded in the last 32, where they can meet the other groups’ runners-up or one of the four unseeded teams that dropped out of the Champions League.

Liverpool claimed the point they needed to top their group with an uninspiring goalless draw at Sion.

Having already qualified for the knockout stages there was little to aim for and far more to avoid – injury being the main concern on a pitch which appeared part frozen – but everyone emerged unscathed to add a fourth draw to their two wins in six matches unbeaten in Europe.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp had spoken before the game of the need to create rhythm but this was a performance so staccato and out of tune it is difficult to see what how the players benefited at all.

The German made six changes from Sunday’s defeat at Newcastle but even with the inclusion of 21-year-old left-back Brad Smith, making his first start, still fielded a side of 11 full internationals, even though they lacked cohesion and fluency.

A Kris Commons equalising header helped Celtic regain some pride in their Europa League campaign against Fenerbahce at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium but once again the Hoops were scarred by another self-inflicted wound in a 1-1 draw.

The Parkhead club had travelled to Turkey for the first time guaranteed to finish bottom of Group A after taking just two points from five fixtures.

The Scottish champions had held their own in the first half with striker Nadir Ciftci missing a good chance but a howler in the 39th minute by keeper Craig Gordon allowed winger Lazar Markovic to score.

An Efe Ambrose mistake just before the break when the two sides met at Parkhead in October led to the Hoops surrendering a two-goal lead.

But this game changed in the 67th minute when Fenerbahce midfielder Diego, booked early in the first-half after an altercation with Hoops midfielder Stefan Johansen, was shown a straight red by Belgian referee Serge Gumienny for a kick at the Norwegian.

Moments after replacing Scott Allan in the 73rd minute, Commons headed in a Mikael Lustig cross for the point which takes Fenerbahce into the knockout stages with Molde and offered some hope next season for Celtic.



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