Champions League: Bayern Munich, Juventus advance to knockouts; Ansu Fati stunner gives Barcelona vital win
Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty on Tuesday but still got a hat trick.
The Poland star dominated on his 100th Champions League appearance to lead Bayern Munich into the last-16 after a 5-2 rout of Benfica.
Juventus also booked its place in the knockout rounds with a 4-2 win over Zenit St. Petersburg.
They’re the first teams to progress this year with two games to spare from the group stage of Europe’s premier soccer competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo rescued a 2-2 draw for Manchester United against Atalanta, scoring two goals and maintaining his record of scoring in each game so far. But it was an underwhelming performance from the Premier League team whose hopes rely on the brilliance of its Portuguese stars Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes.
Barcelona had goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen to thank for securing a nervy 1-0 win at Dynamo Kiev. The 19-year-old Ansu Fati’s 70th-minute goal means the struggling Spanish giant can secure its progress with a win at home over Benfica in its next game.
Hakim Ziyech’s goal was enough for defending champion Chelsea to win 1-0 at last-place Malmo.
Here’s a look at Tuesday’s group games.
The 33-year-old Lewandowski took his goal tally to 81 goals in 100 Champions League games for Bayern and previous club Borussia Dortmund.
Lewandowski had a chance to make it 3-1 before the break, but his penalty was poorly taken and Benfica goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos gathered the ball easily. It was Lewandowski’s first penalty miss since February and he reacted with a wry smile.
It was just the latest high-scoring win from Bayern, which previously beat Benfica 4-0, Dynamo Kyiv 5-0 and Barcelona 3-0.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer set up Lewandowski’s third goal with a long kick out in the 84th minute. It was Neuer’s first assist in his 123rd appearance in the competition.
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann was back on the sideline after recovering from the coronavirus.
Barcelona was without Gerard Piqué and forwards Sergio Agüero and Pedri. Interim coach Sergi Barjuán’s team was the first from Spain in the competition with three players under 20 in the starting lineup – Fati (19), Nico González (19) and Gavi (17).
The visitors were fortunate that Mircea Lucescu’s Dynamo team was unable to make more of its chances. Dynamo is yet to score in the competition this season
Manchester United still harbors strong hopes of reaching the last 16 thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo. The 36-year-old scored United’s equalizer in injury time against Atalanta to leave Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team top of the group, level on seven points with Villarreal.
Villarreal enjoyed a 2-0 home win over Young Boys, which is bottom with three points.
Ronaldo’s late goals have been saving United. He previously had another late winner for the 3-2 win at home over Atalanta, and he scored an injury-time winner for the 2-1 victory over Villarreal.
French champion Lille kept the group wide open with a 2-1 come-from-behind win at Sevilla.
Lille’s first win gives it five points after four games. It’s two points behind group leader Salzburg, which lost 2-1 at Wolfsburg earlier. Wolfsburg also has five points, while Sevilla stayed on three points.
Wolfsburg’s new coach Florian Kohfeldt enjoyed a winning Champions League debut.
A win would have made Salzburg the first Austrian club in the last 16 since Sturm Graz in the 2000-01 season but Kohfeldt’s hiring appears to have reinvigorated Wolfsburg after two wins from two games. The former Werder Bremen coach replaced Mark van Bommel, who was fired after an eight-game winless run including a 3-1 loss in the first game at Salzburg.
Paulo Dybala scored twice, including a retaken penalty, as Juventus reached the last 16 with its win over Zenit St. Petersburg.
Dybala was given another opportunity from the penalty spot after he fired wide as visiting ’keeper Stanislav Kritsyuk had moved off his line. Dybala, who opened the scoring, made no mistake with his second chance before Federico Chiesa and Álvaro Morata sealed the Italian giant’s win.
Juventus has now won all four of its matches to lead the group by three points ahead of Chelsea.
Ziyech’s goal early in the second half was enough for Chelsea to eliminate the Swedish champion and move closer to the knockout rounds, but the visitors missed the clinical finishing of the injured Romelu Lukaku.
American winger Christian Pulisic made his first appearance for Chelsea since the Premier League season opener on Aug. 14 when he entered in the 74th minute. Pulisic had been sidelined by COVID-19 and then injured his left ankle in September during a World Cup qualifier.