Beşiktaş aims for Champions League knockout stage

Beşiktaş aims for Champions League knockout stage

Beşiktaş aims for Champions League knockout stage

Defending Turkish champion Beşiktaş hosts Monaco on Nov. 1 in a Champions League Group G match, with its eyes on a berth in the knockout stage.

A victory for Beşiktaş would secure a ticket for the last 16 for the first time in 31 years.

After three wins from its first three games, a win coupled with a draw between Porto and Leipzig would also confirm top spot for the Istanbul club.

A draw could also take it through if Leipzig beats Porto.

Monaco reached the semifinals last season but sits bottom the group without a win and defeat would leave it on the brink of bowing out of the competition.

Leonardo Jardim's principality outfit may also have to make do without unfit captain and star striker Radamel Falcao in Turkey.

Beşiktaş won the game in Monaco 2-1 two weeks ago and has never lost at home to a French team on the European stage and won the last three encounters, but it has never kept a clean sheet.

The Turkish side has won its last four European home fixtures, and is unbeaten in its last 10 matches in Istanbul, winning five of them, since a 3-1 loss to Club Brugge in the 2014-2015 Europa League round of 16. That game is the sole loss in the club’s last 18 European home games, 10 of which it won.

The game will kick off at 8 p.m. local time (5 GMT), an unusual time for Champions League games, since Turkey is using the summer time throughout the year.

Also in Group G, Leipzig visits Porto.

Last season's Bundesliga runner-up revived its hopes of progressing from the group with a 3-2 win over Porto a fortnight ago and is one point clear of the Portuguese side in second.

Champions League debutant Leipzig suffered two defeats to German title rival Bayern Munich last week in the Cup and the league, while Porto maintained its two-point lead in Portugal by beating Boavista.

The two-time European champion is looking to reach the last 16 for the third time in four seasons.

Elsewhere, Champions League holder Real Madrid takes on Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley with both Group H teams looking to secure a place in the last 16.

A victory for either side would guarantee a spot in the last 16, although Tottenham is winless against Real in five previous meetings.

Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful Harry Kane will be fit for the visit of the European champion to Wembley after missing Oct. 28's 1-0 loss at Manchester United.

Real Madrid, level at the top of the section with Spurs on seven points after three matches, is coming off a shock 2-1 defeat at Girona in its first appearance in Catalonia since the violence-plagued Oct. 1 referendum that plunged Spain into political crisis.

The result left Zinedine Zidane's team eight points adrift of La Liga leader Barcelona -- a deficit the club has never overcome to win the Spanish title.