Champions League: Barcelona Thumped And Chelsea Beaten As Cristiano Ronaldo Rescues Manchester United

Barcelona Thumped

Barcelona’s predicament deepened on Wednesday with a thrashing at Benfica in the Champions League, while holders Chelsea were defeated by Juventus and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo scored a crucial last-gasp goal. After suffering a second 3-0 defeat in as many games in Group E and finishing the match in Lisbon with 10 men, Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona squad appears to be in serious danger of exiting the Champions League early this season. Darwin Nunez, a Uruguayan attacker, was a standout for Benfica, scoring early and then hitting the post early in the second half.

Source: AFP

After a Sergino Dest handball, he completed the thrashing from the penalty spot, while Rafa Silva also scored for the Portuguese former European Cup winners in the interim.

Barcelona’s Eric Garcia was sent off, and the Catalan club has now conceded 11 goals in their previous two visits to the Estadio da Luz, where they were thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the 2020 quarter-finals.

Barca sit bottom of their group, while Bayern Munich backed up their 5-0 home win over Dynamo Kiev a fortnight ago with a 5-0 triumph over Dynamo Kiev, with Robert Lewandowski’s first-half brace putting the Bavarians on their way.

Lewandowski, who scored the game’s first goal from the penalty spot, now has 77 Champions League goals in his career, third most behind Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

After the halftime, Bayern added three more goals through Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

Following Barcelona’s defeat, Koeman, who led Benfica to the Champions League quarterfinals in 2006, finds himself in an even more precarious position. In each of the previous 17 seasons, they have advanced to the knockout rounds.

“I can’t say anything because I don’t know what the club feels about this,” said Koeman about his future. “We’ll see.”

Despite losing 1-0 to Juventus in Turin, Chelsea will still be expected to qualify for the last 16 after Federico Chiesa scored the game’s only goal 10 seconds into the second half.

To defeat Edouard Mendy and give Massimiliano Allegri’s team a second consecutive win in Group H, the star of Italy’s Euro 2020-winning side latched onto Federico Bernardeschi’s assist.

Juve are still adjusting to life after Allegri’s return as coach and Ronaldo’s departure, but this match against the holders might be a turning point for them.

“We gave a cheap goal away and that made things more complicated for ourselves,” said Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea began their title defence with a 1-0 victory over Zenit Saint Petersburg, but the Russian champions came back to defeat Malmo 4-0.

Claudinho, who won Olympic gold with Brazil in Tokyo, scored the game’s first goal, followed by goals from Daler Kuzyaev, Aleksei Sutormin, and Wendel in the second half.

Ronaldo scored in the final five minutes of stoppage time at Old Trafford to secure United a 2-1 victory over Villarreal.

As United rebounded back from their last-gasp defeat to Young Boys in Bern last time out, Jesse Lingard set up Ronaldo for his record-extending 136th goal in the competition.

On the hour mark, Alex Telles equalised for the hosts with a spectacular first-time volley from a Bruno Fernandes delivery, his first goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.

Villarreal took the lead through Paco Alcacer in a rematch of last season’s Europa League final, which the Spanish side won on penalties.

“We had to throw caution to the wind and got lucky in the end,” said Solskjaer. “When you’ve got Cristiano on the pitch there is always a chance.”

United and Young Boys are a point behind Atalanta, who beat the Swiss champions 1-0 in Italy thanks to a strike from Matteo Pessina.

Red Bull Salzburg overcame Lille 2-1 to take top of Group G with four points as teen German sensation Karim Adeyemi scored two penalties, one in each half.

Lille drew 1-1 at Wolfsburg after a late Ivan Rakitic penalty cancelled out Renato Steffen’s opener for the Germans, who had Josuha Guilavogui sent off. Sevilla drew 1-1 at Wolfsburg after a late Ivan Rakitic penalty cancelled out Renato Steffen’s opener for the Germans, who had Josuha Guilavogui sent off.