Rediff.com  » Sports » PIX: Ronaldo to Man Utd's rescue; Juve in knock-outs

PIX: Ronaldo to Man Utd's rescue; Juve in knock-outs

Last updated on: November 03, 2021 10:06 IST
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Images from Tuesday's action in the UEFA Champions League. 

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Nemanja Matic after scoring Manchester United's second goal in the Group F Champions League match against Atalanta, at Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy, on Tuesday.

IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Nemanja Matic after scoring Manchester United's second goal in the Group F Champions League match against Atalanta, at Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy, on Tuesday. Photograph: Alberto Lingria/Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two, including a stoppage-time equaliser, as Manchester United came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw away to Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old Ronaldo has now scored five goals in four games for United in this Champions League campaign and has nine in 11 outings for the club this season.

 

His outstanding finishing secured a vital point for United, who were minutes away from slipping to third in the group but instead find themselves top on seven points.

Atalanta took a 12th-minute lead when burly striker Duvan Zapata, a thorn in United's side all through the match, cut in from the left and fed Josip Ilicic and the Slovenian's low drive crept under the body of United keeper David De Gea.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side had found a system and style that looked effective in their 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday but their adoption of three central defenders had to be abandoned in the 38th minute when French centre back Raphael Varane suffered an injury and had to be replaced.

With Eric Bailly starting for the injured Victor Lindelof, United had no choice but to revert to an orthodox four-man defence and they once again struggled in that formation.

But just before the break, United produced a superbly worked goal with a flowing passing move ending with a clever back-heel from Bruno Fernandes to Ronaldo, who buried the chance.

Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta were well on top after the break and they restored their advantage in the 56th minute when Zapata broke past Harry Maguire, burst into the box and beat De Gea. The linesman's flag was raised for offside but after a lengthy VAR review the decision was over-turned and the Italian side had the lead.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring Manchester United's first goal.

IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring Manchester United's first goal. Photograph: Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

United desperately searched for an equaliser but they were ragged and lacked any sort of fluency in midfield or attack or solidity at the back.

But right at the death, Ronaldo pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the box and with his trademark technique and precision blasted home a low volley to earn a precious point.

"We never give up, we believe until the end, it is a good result for us," said Ronaldo.

"The beginning was tough, we knew Atalanta would do a lot of pressure, they have a fantastic coach, when I played at Juventus they were always difficult to play against. We were a little bit lucky in the end but that is football," he added.

"We have to still improve, we have different players, different system, we have to adapt with each other, but it will take time. We have time to improve and be better."

United and Villarreal are level on seven points with Atalanta on five and Switzerland's Young Boys on three.

Lewandowski hat-trick steers Bayern into knock-out stage

Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring Bayern Munich's fifth goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E match against Benfica, at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.

IMAGE: Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring Bayern Munich's fifth goal during the UEFA Champions League Group E match against Benfica, at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick, set up another goal and missed a penalty on his 100th Champions League appearance as they crushed Benfica 5-2 on Tuesday to cruise into the knockout stage with two Group E matches to spare.

The 2020 world player of the year headed home his first goal in the 26th minute and chipped in another just past the hour after also setting up Serge Gnabry for a sensational backheel flick in the 32nd.

He did miss a penalty in first half stoppage time but sealed his treble in the 85th minute. It was his 81st goal in Europe's elite club competition.

"I do not know if it was the perfect game because I did miss a penalty," Lewandowski said. "But better to miss early than late in the game. Luckily we scored several more goals and got the three points."

"I did not get the ball often in the first 20 minutes but you have to stay patent as a striker. To be honest I never thought I would ever play so many games in the Champions League and score so many goals."

Benfica cut the deficit before the break with Morato's 38th minute header, the first goal conceded by Bayern in their four Champions League matches, but a superb Leroy Sane shot early in the second half killed off hopes of a comeback.

The visitors scored again in the 75th through Darwin Nunez.

Bayern are top on 12 points following their fourth win in the group and record-equalling 17 goals, with Benfica on four. Barcelona moved into second place on six after winning 1-0 at Dynamo Kyiv, in last with one point. The top two advance to the knockout stage.

With Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann back on the bench after a two-week absence due to a COVID-19 infection, it was the Portuguese who had a better start when they put the ball in the net but the effort was ruled offside.

Lewandowski punished them not long after, heading in a Kingsley Coman cross at the far post to open his account.

Before Benfica had time to recover, Bayern, who a week ago suffered their heaviest German Cup defeat ever with a 5-0 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach, struck again as Lewandowski set up Gnabry whose backheel left keeper Odisseas Vlachodimos frozen.

The visitors pulled a goal back when Brazilian Morato rose to head home seven minutes before the break and they grew more hopeful when Lewandowski's tame penalty was saved by Vlachodimos in stoppage time before the interval.

But the hosts moved into turbo drive after halftime with Sane thundering in a half-volley to make it 3-1 before setting up Lewandowski for a delightful chip over the keeper in the 61st.

The hosts were caught napping with Darwin Nunez pulling a goal back with 15 minutes left. But Lewandowski was not yet done, bagging his fourth Champions League hat-trick in the 85th to book Bayern's spot in the last 16.

Dybala double as Juve secure spot in Champions League knock-outs

Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring Juventus's second goal with Leonardo Bonucci during the Champions League in the Group H against Zenit Saint Petersburg, at Allianz Stadium, in Turin, Italy, on Tuesday.

IMAGE: Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring Juventus's second goal with Leonardo Bonucci during the Champions League Group H match against Zenit Saint Petersburg, at Allianz Stadium, in Turin, Italy, on Tuesday. Photograph: Massimo Pinca/Reuters

Juventus booked their spot in the Champions League last 16 with two group games to spare after a double from Argentine striker Paulo Dybala steered them to a 4-2 win over Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday.

Knowing they only needed a point against Zenit to be assured of a knockout-stage spot in Group H, Juve raced into a deserved early lead through Dybala, who hammered the ball into the roof of the net in the 11th minute.

The hosts had several chances to make it 2-0 before Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci put through his own net in the 26th minute to draw Zenit level.

Dybala benefited from a slice of good fortune to put Juve back in front in the 58th minute, as he converted a penalty at the second attempt, after the referee had ordered his first effort, that he dragged wide, be retaken.

Goals from Federico Chiesa and Alvaro Morata made sure of the victory late on as Juve made it four wins from four in this season's competition to top Group H, three points ahead of holders Chelsea in second.

Sardar Azmoun netted a stoppage-time consolation for Zenit, who must win both of their remaining group matches to have any hope of reaching the knockout stages.

"The team had a good game, we were also impressive technically," coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "Our intensity and courage were important and we did not lose our flow when we conceded the goal.

"It was almost all positive. We passed the ball around, but the last five minutes are where we need to improve. Those minutes are the emblem of who we are -- we made three counter attacks and we conceded a goal."

While things have not gone well in Serie A this season for Juventus -- they are ninth in the standings, 16 points behind leaders Napoli -- Allegri's side have had no issues on the continent.

Three wins from three, including a 1-0 success over Chelsea in September, put them on course for the last 16 ahead of Zenit's visit, and it looked like it was going to be a comfortable progression after Juve made a lightning start.

Dybala and Chiesa were both denied by smart saves from away goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk in the opening exchanges, before Dybala was clinical on his 50th appearance in the Champions League.

Morata wasted a glorious chance to double Juve's lead before Zenit grew into the contest and levelled things up, with Bonucci's attempt to clear a cross looping into his own net.

From that moment on, however, it was all Juve, with Dybala and Chiesa a constant menace.

Chiesa's trickery won Juve a penalty to give his side the opportunity to retake the lead, which Dybala seemingly wasted.

The referee, however, insisted Zenit players had encroached in the penalty area, giving Dybala another chance, which he did not pass up.

The relentless Chiesa got the goal his performance deserved as he darted into the penalty area before drilling into the bottom corner and Morata finished well under pressure to put Juve out of sight.

Juve have now won each of the opening four group stage games of a Champions League campaign for the third time, having also done so in 1995-96, when they went on to win the competition, and 2004-05.

Ziyech on target as Chelsea battle to win at Malmo

Hakim Ziyech celebrates scoring for Chelsea during the Champions League Group H match against Malmo FF, at Eleda Stadium in Malmo, Sweden, on Tuesday.

IMAGE: Hakim Ziyech celebrates scoring for Chelsea during the Champions League Group H match against Malmo FF, at Eleda Stadium in Malmo, Sweden, on Tuesday. Photograph: David Lidstrom/Getty Images

Chelsea beat Malmo 1-0 in Sweden thanks to a Hakim Ziyech strike but an expected glut of goals never materialised against the defensive-minded hosts in Champions League Group H on Tuesday.

Chelsea, who hammered Malmo 4-0 when the sides met in London two weeks ago, remain second in the standings, level on nine points with leaders Juventus, who meet Zenit St Petersburg later on Tuesday.

Malmo, who are yet to score a goal in this year's group stage, remain bottom without a point. The defeat was their fourth in four games and means that they can no longer make the knockouts.

The Swedish champions and current league leaders frustrated their visitors in the opening 45 minutes as goalkeeper Johan Dahlin mixed up some superb saves with a few hair-raising spills as his side were forced to defend for long periods, but he managed to keep his clean sheet intact until the break.

Soren Rieks blazed a shot over from a rare Malmo corner six minutes into the second half before Ruben Loftus-Cheek's mazy dribble and shot was blocked by Dahlin at the other end, but it would not take Chelsea long to make their breakthrough.

The goal finally came in the 56th minute as Callum Hudson-Odoi out-paced Franz Brorsson down the right and played a perfectly-weighted pass across the face of the goal for Ziyech to slam home.

Malmo's best chance of the second half fell to Erdal Rakip in the 64th minute, but he ignored several team mates in better positions before blazing a shot harmlessly over the crossbar.

That almost proved costly a few minutes later when Thiago Silva ventured forward to meet a Chelsea corner. His effort was cleared off the line, but a single goal proved enough for Thomas Tuchel's side to claim the three points.

Capoue, Danjuma keep Villarreal on course for last 16

Etienne Capoue scores Villarreal's first goal in the Champions League Group F match against Young Boys, at Estadio de la Ceramica, in Villarreal, Spain.

IMAGE: Etienne Capoue scores Villarreal's first goal in the Champions League Group F match against Young Boys, at Estadio de la Ceramica, in Villarreal, Spain. Photograph: Pablo Morano/Reuters

Villarreal boosted their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stage after goals from Etienne Capoue and Arnaut Danjuma gave the Spanish side a 2-0 home win over Swiss rivals Young Boys in Group F on Tuesday.

The result left Villarreal second on seven points from four games, behind Manchester United on an inferior head-to-head record and two ahead of third-placed Atalanta. Young Boys have three points and only a slim chance of advancing.

The home side, who won the reverse fixture 4-1 last month, were made to work harder this time as Young Boys always looked dangerous on the break and missed a string of chances.

Capoue delighted the home fans in the 36th minute when he knocked in his own rebound from close range after visiting goalkeeper Guillaume Faivre parried the French midfielder's header straight back into his path.

Young Boys dominated the second half and had the ball in the back of the net in the 55th minute, but Christian Fassnacht's header was scrapped after a VAR check deemed Nicolas Buergy offside in the build up.

The home side's defender Raul Albiol then headed a long-range Fabian Rieder lob off the line before Faivre parried Danjuma's fierce shot and Capoue fired inches wide of the far post at the other end.

Young Boys pressed in the closing stages as Meschack Elia came close but they were caught cold in the 89th minute as Danjuma pulled away from his marker and slipped the ball past Faivre to seal Villarreal's win.

Fati stunner gives Barcelona vital win in Kyiv

Ansu Fati celebrates with Oscar Mingueza after scoring for FC Barcelona during the Champions League Group E match against Dynamo Kyiv, at NSC Olympiyskiy, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

IMAGE: Ansu Fati celebrates with Oscar Mingueza after scoring for FC Barcelona during the Champions League Group E match against Dynamo Kyiv, at NSC Olympiyskiy, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

Barcelona's Ansu Fati scored a superb second-half goal to secure a crucial 1-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday and revive his club's faltering Champions League campaign.

Barca's 19-year-old prospect rescued his team in the 70th minute with a fierce volley from inside the area after the home defence failed to clear Oscar Mingueza's cross from the right.

However, the Ukraine champions gave Barcelona a hard time in a frantic game, with both teams missing several chances.

The victory put Barca into second place in Group E with six points, two ahead of Benfica. Leaders Bayern have qualified for the knockout stage with 12 points after beating Benfica 5-2.

It was Barca's first away win in all competitions this season.

"We all knew that we had to win at any cost. The players were nervous before the game and you look at them now and their faces are different. Winning always helps and I hope we keep momentum for the next game," Barcelona's caretaker coach Sergi Barjuan told reporters.

After losing Sergio Aguero for three months, following a cardiac evaluation, Barca welcomed back Fati and Ousmane Dembele from injury and both showed, alongside fellow forward Memphis Depay, that they can bring the spark the team desperately need.

After dominating the first encounter at Camp Nou and winning 1-0, Barcelona faced a much-improved Kyiv at their home ground.

Playing with a deep defensive line and relying on counter-attacks, Dynamo threatened the visitors' goal and came close to opening the scoring at least three times in the first half.

Viktor Tsygankov used his speed to harass Barcelona left back Jordi Alba throughout the game and Mykola Shaparenko missed two one-on-ones with keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Ter Stegen made a critical save at the end of the first half after a powerful shot from outside the box by Carlos de Pena.

Barcelona were also probing, with Depay and Fati involved in their attacks, but only managed to get close to Dynamo’s goal in the second half when Dembele came off the bench.

Referee Ovidiu Hategan awarded Barca a penalty for a foul on Fati but changed his decision after a VAR review. However, it was not long before Fati scored the winner with his close-range blast and Barcelona managed to see out the victory.

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