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Champions League: Barca down United at Old Trafford; Ajax hold Juve

Last updated on: April 11, 2019 11:20 IST
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Images from the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg matches played on Wednesday

Barcelona's heads the ball that deflects off Manchester United's Luke Shaw (not in picture) for an own goal by Shaw during their match at Old Trafford in Manchester

IMAGE: Barcelona's Luis Suarez heads at goal that deflects off Manchester United's Luke Shaw for an own goal by the latter during their match at Old Trafford in Manchester. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Barcelona overcame a punchless Manchester United to take the upper hand in their Champions League quarter-final after Luke Shaw's own goal gave them a 1-0 first-leg victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Shaw deflected a Luis Suarez header into his own net after 12 minutes, handing the Catalans a vital away goal that will make them clear favourites in the return leg.

After United's comeback against Paris St Germain in the previous round, Barca will take nothing for granted, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team will struggle to repeat the trick against a side with a fearsome home record.


"We played a good team," said Solskjaer.

"We know you have to defend a lot without the ball and you might be tired when you get the chance yourself. We go there with one thing in my mind, we have to score."

Barca have not lost at home for 30 games in the Champions League since 2013 and while United can take credit for staying in the tie, they produced little that will overly worry the Spanish side.

Barcelona's first win at Old Trafford in European competition was relatively comfortable with their keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen not having a single shot to save.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba is challenged by Barcelona's Sergio Busquets

IMAGE: Manchester United's Paul Pogba is challenged by Barcelona's Sergio Busquets. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

With Paul Pogba failing to impact the game, United were left trying to hit Barca on the break or from set-pieces and too often they lacked the precision to make the most of the few openings that fell their way.

The crucial away goal was well-worked. Sergio Busquets found Lionel Messi with a clever ball into the area and the Argentine carved out space on the left to deliver a lofted cross to former Liverpool striker Suarez at the back post.

The Uruguayan's header deflected off the shoulder of a scrambling Shaw and beat David De Gea to give the visitors the lead and although the linesman initially flagged for offside, the goal was given after a VAR video review.

United had De Gea to thank for keeping the difference down to a single goal as he saved superbly with his feet to keep out Philippe Coutinho in the 36th minute.

Then the home side had an appeal for a penalty waved away after Scott McTominay, who had a fine game in midfield, went down under a challenge from Gerard Pique.

United's best chance of the first half fell to Diogo Dalot but the Portuguese made a mess of a fine Marcus Rashford ball, heading harmlessly across the goal from close-range.

Solskjaer's team had struggled to get a foothold in the game during the opening 45 minutes, but they were much improved after the break, applying plenty of pressure without creating any clear chances.

Manchester United's Scott McTominay and Barcelona's Lionel Messi vie for possession 

IMAGE: Manchester United's Scott McTominay and Barcelona's Lionel Messi vie for possession. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

Barcelona could have added a second had Suarez not fired into the side-netting from a promising position after a clever through ball from Nelson Semedo and then De Gea did well to foil Jordi Alba's low drive -- again with his legs.

The loss was United's fourth in their last five games in all competitions.

"We did as well as we could against Messi, kept our shape well. It could have gone both ways," said Solskjaer.

"I don't think we hit the target and that's a disappointment. We go there with work to be done but chances," he added.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was pleased with the result, especially given the club's previous failure to win at Old Trafford in four earlier meetings in European competition.

"Given the atmosphere and the type of team they are and that this is the Champions League it's very hard to win here, it was a very difficult game and things were complicated for us at a few moments," he said.

"We had spells of dominance they pressured us very high but we created the clearest chances," he added.

Ronaldo scores as Juve held to a draw at Ajax

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during their match against Ajax at Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam 

IMAGE: Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during their match against Ajax at Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam. Photograph: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo produced yet another quality goal to add to his collection and help Juventus to a 1-1 draw at Ajax Amsterdam in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday.

Juventus took the lead on the stroke of halftime as Portuguese forward Ronaldo began an attacking move inside his own half before sprinting down field and diving to head in a clever chip from Joao Cancelo.

"Ronaldo proved again he is from a different level, the timing of his player is so different from the others," said an admiring Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Ajax equalised 30 seconds into the second half after Cancelo lost control of the ball to allow David Neres to run down the left wing, cut inside and curl the ball past Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

The result leaves the Serie A side in a strong position to advance to the semi-finals in next week's return leg in Turin. However, they will be mindful of Ajax's 4-1 away win over Real Madrid in the last round that eliminated the holders 5-3 on aggregate.

Juventus' Federico Bernardeschi is fouled by Ajax's Lasse Schone

IMAGE: Juventus' Federico Bernardeschi is fouled by Ajax's Lasse Schone. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Hakim Ziyech had several efforts at goal in a lively start for the youthful Dutch team, who have come through the pre-group phase qualifying round to reach the last eight.

Donny van de Beek scraped the outside of the upright with a 25th minute effort from close range after opening up space for himself in the penalty area in Ajax's best chance of the first half.

But Juventus, with the 34-year-old Ronaldo central to their attacks, worked their way into the contest and came close themselves when the forward set up Federico Bernardeschi to turn and shoot in the 37th minute. But he was just off target.

Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick in the previous round against Atletico Madrid, then scored a 125th Champions League goal with the last move of the first half.

"He is a predator in the box. He waited for a gap and then sprinted past two players," conceded Ajax's teenage captain Matthijs de Ligt.

After equalising, Ajax then dominated possession but were guilty of over-elaborate passing and were also fortunate not to have given away a penalty when defender Nicolas Tagliafico was tugging on the jersey of Juventus captain Mario Mandzukic.

Ajax's David Neres celebrates on scoring the equaliser 

IMAGE: Ajax's David Neres celebrates on scoring the equaliser. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Spanish referee Carlos del Cerro Grande paused briefly in the 53rd minute to presumably hear from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) but resumed play before TV replays showed that Juventus had been denied a decent claim.

Tagliafico will miss the second leg next Tuesday after being booked late in the first half.

Juve hit the upright in the closing stages through substitute Douglas Costa although Ajax could have had the last say as Dusan Tadic missed a good chance in stoppage time.

"A 1-1 score is not what we had hoped for but we are still well in," said Ajax coach Erik ten Hag.

"We had a lot of patient possession and we created one or two good chances."

More than 100 Juventus supporters were detained by Dutch police before the match while home fans were also arrested as a water cannon was used outside the ground.

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