London: Just when some of Europe’s top teams risked failing to advance from their Champions League groups, they steadied the ship.
Real Madrid and Tottenham both earned their first European wins of the season on Tuesday against overmatched opponents — but in very different style.
Real had to work hard to win 1-0 against a Galatasaray team with their own problems, while last season’s finalists Tottenham swept aside Red Star Belgrade 5-0.
That emphatic win was sorely needed for Tottenham, who had won just two of their last 11 games and conceded seven against Bayern Munich in their last Champions League outing. But Tottenham are not out of the woods yet.
“We still know we’ve got a long way to go,” striker Harry Kane said. “We can hopefully build on this.”
Juventus came within 13 minutes of a loss, which could have endangered their hopes of reaching the knockout stage before Paulo Dybala scored twice to beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-1.
Meanwhile, Paris St-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester City are all firmly on course to advance after recording their third wins to top their groups.
Having won just one of their last four games, Real were looking to regain some momentum with a big victory over Turkish champions Galatasaray, but had to settle for a narrow win.
A deflected goal from Toni Kroos gave Real a 1-0 victory but it was far from a sure thing.
On his return to the squad after missing Saturday’s loss to Mallorca, Eden Hazard was Real’s most effective attacking threat, setting up the goal for Kroos and hitting the bar in the second half. But Real were fortunate to get away with poor defensive positioning, which handed two good chances to Florin Andone, whose shots were saved by Thibaut Courtois.
PSG are headed for qualification after a drama-free 5-0 win over Club Brugge, who drew 2-2 with Real in the previous round.
After being humiliated 7-2 by Bayern in their last game, Spurs responded with a big win of their own.
While Red Star were hardly of Bayern’s calibre, scoring five goals for the first time since January could be a solid morale-booster for the Londoners.
Son Heung-min and Harry Kane scored two goals each, while Erik Lamela marked his 200th appearance for Tottenham with a goal and two assists.
Bayern briefly risked dropping Champions League points for the first time this campaign, but two goals from Robert Lewandowski helped them recover from 1-0 down against Olympiakos to win 3-2.
Shakhtar Donetsk 2, Dinamo Zagreb 2
Atletico 1, Leverkusen 0
Club Brugge 0, Paris St-Germain 5
Galatasaray 0, Real Madrid 1
Tottenham 5, Red Star Belgrade 0
Olympiakos 2, Bayern Munich 3
Manchester City 5, Atalanta 1
Juventus 2, Lokomotiv Moscow 1