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After Extra Time
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vs Atletico Madrid. UEFA Champions League First Knockout Round.
Inter Milan are considering a January move for Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley.
The Serie A club are prepared to offer an initial loan until the end of the season with an obligation to buy him in the summer.
Inter are among an increasing number of top clubs sending scouts to watch O’Riley, amid an increase in his performance level again this season.
Aston Villa and West Ham have been watching him recently, as well as PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid, and all of these clubs have been present for his Champions League appearances, in which he made three assists.
Inter are discussing whether to steal a march on potential rivals by making a move when the January transfer window begins, but it would take a record fee for Celtic to agree to any deal.
Their current record sale is around £25m for Jota from Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad last summer, which trumped the £23m they earned from Arsenal for Kieran Tierney in 2019.
Ahead of their Scottish Premiership match against Livingston Brendan Rodgers insisted he remained focused on adding to his squad in January.
“I don’t have a fear on any of the players.
“I’m delighted for Matt that he’s made a fantastic step forward this season as a Celtic player and in his career.
“That shows that focus and mentality in the training and the confidence that he’s taking into the game, he’ll always attract interest of teams.
“I don’t have any fear, he’s a good guy and he works very hard and when you do that you’re always going to have interest that will come your way.
“For now he’s very much focused on performing for Celtic and until the break.
“There’s still such a long way to go. We were consistently good then in the last week or so we haven’t been good enough, I can’t be any more clear on that.
“We want to add to the squad rather than take any away and the likes of Matt is a very important player for us.
O’Riley recently broke into the Denmark national team. In his first 24 games of the season in all competitions he has scored nine goals and notched eight assists.
In September, the 23-year-old ended contract speculation by agreeing a new deal with Celtic.
O’Riley committed his future until 2027 after the club turned down a £10m bid from Leeds United in the summer.
Speaking after Celtic’s 2-1 win at Hearts in October, Sky Sports’ Kris Boyd said O’Riley would be “one of the next ones to go in terms of big money”:
“Celtic have got this knack of bringing players in, giving them a platform to go and perform. They then go and move them on for big money.
“Matt O’Riley will be one of the next ones to go in terms of big money.
“Last season, everyone was raving about his assists, and rightly so, but there was always the doubt about whether he could add goals. He’s doing that now.
“You could sit and watch Matt O’Riley play football all day. He’s a top-class player. He glides about the pitch and Brendan Rodgers has obviously asked him to get forward more this season. He is reaping the benefits of that.”
The transfer window opens on Monday January 1, 2024 and will close at 11pm on Thursday February 1, 2024.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.
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Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Real Sociedad all booked their places in the knockout stages of the Champions League with two games to spare on a dramatic night of European action.
Bayern made it four wins out of four in Group A but only after a frantic finish in their 2-1 win over Galatasaray.
The visitors had the ball in the net just after the hour but Lucas Torreira was offside, and Bayern took the lead when Harry Kane flicked in Joshua Kimmich’s free-kick with 10 minutes to go, with the goal awarded following a VAR check after initially being ruled offside.
Kane then doubled the lead with his 25th career Champions League goal, turning in Mathys Tel’s cross in the 86th minute, and they needed the cushion as Cedric Bakambu scored for Galatasaray in stoppage time.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid cruised through with a 3-0 win over Braga. They overcame an early scare when Alvaro Djalo missed a penalty for the visitors after Lucas Vazquez fouled Cristian Borja just four minutes in, but once Brahim Diaz put them in front in the 27th minute there was no looking back.
Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo added to the scoreline with two goals in five minutes early in the second half, and there was no way back for the visitors.
The other Group C game between Napoli and Union Berlin ended 1-1 as David Fofana’s first Union goal – and the club’s first away from home in the Champions League – cancelled out Matteo Politano’s opener.
Inter edged out RB Salzburg 1-0 in Austria to secure their progress, with the game decided by Lautaro Martinez’s 84th-minute penalty after Mads Bidstrup handled in the area.
And that result also saw Real Sociedad go through from Group D after their 3-1 win over Benfica earlier in the evening.
Early goals from Mikel Merino and Mikel Oyarzabal had Sociedad in control after just 11 minutes and it was 3-0 10 minutes later as Ander Barrenetxea fired into the roof of the net.
Brais Mendez hit the post with a penalty just before the half hour and Rafa Silva pulled one back for Benfica early in the second half, but Sociedad comfortably took the points.
And in Group B, Luuk de Jong’s 12th-minute header was enough to hand PSV Eindhoven a 1-0 win over Lens, who had substitute Morgan Guilavogui sent off late on.
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