MADRID: Former champions Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Internazionale all secured their places in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League with two of their group matches still to play.

Real Madrid beat Braga 3-0 to clinch their last-16 place from Group C with goals from Ibrahim Diaz, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo as the 14-times champions rested several regular starters, including top scorer Jude Bellingham with a shoulder injury.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s men thus maintained their 100pc record and could secure top spot with a point at home in their next game against Napoli.

The Italian champions are second on seven points, four clear of Braga in third. Union Berlin are bottom on one point after a 1-1 draw against Napoli.

Real got an early scare when Lucas Vazquez held Braga defender Cristian Borja inside the box to concede a penalty in the fourth minute. However, goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, who was a last-minute starter after a warm-up injury to Kepa Arrizabalaga, , palmed away a weak effort by Alvaro Djalo.

Vazquez went in hard on a challenge on winger Bruma inside the box in the 20th minute that could have cost Real another penalty and a second yellow card if the referee decided that it was an infringement, as Braga players complained heavily.

However, he was let off and Real then took control of the game. Diaz, who had an earlier goal ruled out for a foul in the build-up, opened the scoring with a first-time strike from close range in the 27th minute, assisted by Rodrygo with a low cross.

Diaz could have extended their lead in the 55th minute, but goalkeeper Matheus made two consecutive reflex saves to deny the Spanish midfielder’s double-effort from close-range.

Matheus also stopped a Rodrygo strike from the edge of the box to help Braga stay in the game, but Vinicius Jr doubled the lead in the 58th minute when he collected a low cross by Vazquez to strike home a tidy finish from inside the box.

Three minutes later, Vinicius started a counter-attack and played in his compatriot Rodrygo, who netted a brilliant chip over the goalkeeper to secure the result.

Kane double

Bayern Munich top scorer Harry Kane struck twice in seven minutes late in the game to guide his team to a 2-1 victory over visiting Galatasaray and secure their spot in the knockout stage with two games to spare.

The England captain, who had scored a hat-trick against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Saturday, headed in a Joshua Kimmich free kick in the 80th minute and then tapped in his second six minutes later to make sure of a top two finish.

The visitors cut the deficit in second half stoppage time with Cedric Bakambu.

The Bavarians, who also hit the post with Kane early in the second half, stretched their unbeaten run in Champions League group matches to 38, having won the last 17 in a row, both competition records.

They are top of Group A on 12 points and are certain of a top two finish with two matches left.

Inter leave it late

A late penalty by Lautaro Martinez helped Inter Milan book their spot in the Champions League last 16 with a 1-0 win at Salzburg, dashing the Austrian champions’ knockout stage hopes with two games remaining.

Substitute Martinez sealed the win for Inter from the spot five minutes from fulltime after Simone Inzaghi’s men were awarded a penalty for a handball.

Inter are second in Group D on 10 points, level with leaders Real Sociedad who earned a comfortable 3-1 win over Benfica in the other group fixture earlier and also secured a top-two finish with Inter’s victory.

Salzburg, who would have kept their last-16 qualifying chances alive with a draw, are third with three points.

The Austrian side pressed high from the early stages in front of a sold-out crowd but Inter grew as the half wore on and both Davide Frattesi and Alessandro Bastoni had chances to score before halftime.

Martinez, who has scored 12 goals in 11 Serie A games this season, eventually gave Inter the lead, minutes after hitting the bar with an earlier chance.

Inter, who last season reached the final and enjoyed their most successful Champions League campaign since lifting the trophy in 2010 under Jose Mourinho, edged Salzburg 2-1 in the reverse fixture last month.

########