Bayern Munich beat Barcelona 3-0 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night to advance to the Champions League round of 16 as group winners.
Xavi Hernandez’s side went into the match knowing they already had no chance of reaching the knockout round for the second year in a row after Inter Milan beat Viktoria Plzen 4-0 in the early window on Monday.
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First-half goals from Sadio Mane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting saw Bayern clinch top spot in Group C on 15 points with one game to play, while Inter Milan finish second. Barcelona, who will finish third regardless of results on the final matchday, are headed for the Europa League.
Bayern raced into the lead with an early goal from Mane, who ran on to a pinpoint through ball from Serge Gnabry, fended off Barca’s Hector Bellerin and cleverly chipped the ball past an onrushing Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Choupo-Moting doubled the lead for the visitors right on 30 minutes, finishing from a tight angle through Ter Stegen’s legs after being played in with another clever ball from Gnabry.
Barca looked set to halve the deficit from the penalty spot just before the break, but referee Anthony Taylor overturned his call for a foul in the area on Robert Lewandowski after a visit to the pitch-side monitor showed the Poland striker had stepped into his defender to initiate the contact.
Gnabry continued his torrid night netting a third for Bayern, but his well-taken shot for the left side of the penalty area was ruled out for a marginal offside call in the buildup.
With the match all but over, substitute Benjamin Pavard scored at the back post after Gnabry’s cross-shot fell kindly to him for Bayern’s final goal of the evening.
Wednesday’s results are another setback for the Catalan club and could prove costlier than last season as the team went on a spending spree in the summer to boost their squad in the hope of recovering some of that money with a deep run in European competition.