Big guns march on
Juventus, Barcelona, Chelsea and Sevilla all reached the knockout stage of the Champions League with two matches to spare yesterday.
Alvaro Morata scored in injury time to send Juventus through with a 2-1 win at home over Hungarian team Ferencva´ros, ensuring the Italian champions finished at least second in group G.
Barcelona top the group and booked their spot in the last 16 for the 17th straight season with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv.
Both Chelsea and Sevilla left it late to advance from group E. Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score an injury-time header as Chelsea won 2-1 at Rennes, and Munir El Haddadi scored in the final minute of stoppage time as Sevilla defeated Russian newcomer Krasnodar 2-1 away.
Elsewhere, Erling Haaland maintained his remarkable scoring pace with two goals to put Borussia Dortmund within reach of the last 16 with a 3-0 win over Club Brugge.
United States right back Sergin˜o Dest scored his first goal for Barcelona and another American, 19-year-old forward Konrad de la Fuente, came on as a substitute in Kyiv for his debut.
It was only the second time two Americans played together for a club in the Champions League. Tim Howard and Jonathan Spector played for Manchester United against Fenerbahc¸e on December 8, 2004.
Martin Braithwaite scored twice and Antoine Griezmann grabbed the other as Barcelona secured their fourth win in four games from group G.
NO EUROPA LEAGUE
Sevilla qualifying for the last 16 means the Spanish side cannot defend its Europa League title, as only the third-place finishers in each group enjoy the cushion of playing in Europe’s secondary competition.
It will be a strange feeling for the Spanish side, which has a record six Europa League titles, all since 2006.
Both Sevilla and Chelsea have 10 points in group E, while Krasnodar and Rennes stayed at one point each after four matches.
Haaland took his tally to 16 goals in 12 Champions League games in Dortmund’s 3-0 win over Brugge, while Jadon Sancho scored an eye-catching free kick to put the German side on course to qualify from group F.
Former Dortmund forward Ciro Immobile scored twice on his return from the coronavirus in Lazio’s 3-1 win over Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Immobile has 46 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions for Lazio since the beginning of last season. Only Robert Lewandowski (68 goals) has scored more in Europe’s five top leagues over the same period.
Dortmund have nine points, Lazio eight, Brugge four and Zenit one.
FERNANDES KEEPSMAN UNITED ON TRACK
Bruno Fernandes scored two early goals in Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Istanbul Bas¸aks¸ehir, keeping the Premier League team on track to qualify from group H.
Fernandes might have scored a hat trick, but he handed over spot-kick duties to Marcus Rashford, who had been brought down for the penalty, and the England forward converted to make it 3-0 at Old Trafford.
Daniel James scored the fourth as United made up for their surprise 2-1 loss in Istanbul.
United now have nine points, three more than both Paris SaintGermain and Leipzig.
A penalty from Neymar was enough for PSG to scrape a 1-0 win against Leipzig in the other match in the group.