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Chelsea Advances In Champions League Despite Loss

Chelsea-WestBrom-penaltyChelsea qualified for the final 16 of the Champions League despite losing again to Basel. AC Milan and Arsenal won, but did not yet advance.

Mohamed Salah’s late goal Tuesday earned Basel a 1-0 win and a second straight Group E victory over the 2012 champions. But Chelsea is guaranteed a top-two finish after Schalke drew with Steaua Bucharest.

Milan cruised past Celtic 3-0, but needs a point against Ajax in its last match after the Dutch side upset already-qualified Barcelona 2-1 to keep its hopes alive. It was the first loss for Barca after a 25-game unbeaten streak dating back to last May’s loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinals.

Arsenal also requires another point after beating Marseille 2-0 in Group F. Napoli lost 3-1 to Borussia Dortmund to leave both teams three points behind the English side.

Chelsea sailed through its group with three straight victories since opening with a 2-1 home loss to Basel. It knew a point would be enough to advance and that appeared to hold back manager Jose Mourinho’s team, which failed to have a shot on goal before Salah sprinted clear of Chelsea’s defence to clip a left-footed shot over advancing keeper Petr Cech in the 87th minute.

“I did not like anything from the first minute,” Mourinho said. “A bad performance, a deserved defeat. But because of other results, we qualify. That is the only positive thing from this night.”

Mourinho’s team joined Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.

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