Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Champions League: United through to last 16, Chelsea crush Juventus

Manchester United booked their place in the Champions League last 16 as Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho scored in a 2-0 victory at Villarreal on Tuesday.

Three-time European champions United went into their first game since sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the weekend needing a win to confirm a top-two finish in Group F.

David de Gea made two crucial saves and United, with Michael Carrick in caretaker charge, took advantage through Ronaldo’s 78th-minute lob.

Jadon Sancho, so often a peripheral figure since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund in the close-season, capped a fine individual display with his first goal for the club late on.

The other qualification spot in the group remains up for grabs after Young Boys and Atalanta played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in Bern.

Late goals from Vincent Sierro and Silvan Hefti gave the Swiss champions a 3-2 lead, but Luis Muriel struck in the 88th minute for the visitors.

Atalanta face a winner-takes-all match against Villarreal in Bergamo next month.

Chelsea romped into the last 16 and to the top of Group H with an impressive 4-0 thrashing of Juventus at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues dominated the early stages and took the lead through young defender Trevoh Chalobah’s third goal of the season.

Chelsea’s defenders were consistently a menace from set-pieces, and after Thiago Silva saw a header saved by Wojciech Szczesny, England right-back Reece James hammered a fine volley into the bottom corner to net for the fifth time already this term.

Chelsea grabbed their third goal less than two minutes later, Ruben Loftus-Cheek prodding the ball to Hudson-Odoi, who smashed home from close range.

There was still time for Timo Werner, making his first appearance since an injury layoff, to come off the bench and score in added time.

Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by Benfica at the Camp Nou in Xavi’s second game as head coach, but remain above the Portuguese side in Group E.

However, the Catalan club will have to beat Bayern Munich in Germany in their final group game to be sure of making the next round as Benfica host already-eliminated Dynamo Kiev in their last match, trailing Barca by two points.

In Group G, Lille made Salzburg wait to reach the last 16 as Jonathan David scored a first-half winner in a 1-0 victory in France.

All four teams in the group can still go through, after Sevilla saw off Wolfsburg 2-0.

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