With a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United qualified for the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday with a group stage match to play, by winning 2-0 at Villarreal. The Portuguese player’s goal also meant the 800th goal of his career.
The victory with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, strengthened Manchester in the lead group F with ten points, three more than Villarreal, who will play their pass to the next phase on the last day.
It was Manchester United’s first meeting without coach Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, who was removed from office the weekend before. Instead, they appeared under interim coach Michael Carrick, who surprised Donny Van den Beek into midfield, leaving Portugal’s Bruno Fernandes on the bench.
The yellow submarine dominated most of the match, however, the ball always found David De Gea’s wall. In the second half, United took advantage of a starting error between Villarreal goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli and Etienne Capoue that ended up turning Cristiano Ronaldo into a goal.
“It’s what he does. He’s always there to give that extra point to win the games. Cristiano has a tremendous mentality and makes a difference. That is his gift,” Carrick said after the game.
Ronaldo now has 140 goals in the Champions League and 800 at the club and national team level. With Manchester United he scored 118 goals in his first stage and in the second he accumulates 11.
Another that also closed their way to the round of 16 was Chelsea, current champions of the tournament, who took revenge from their last match after beating Juventus 4-0 already qualified. Thomas Tuchel’s team only needed a draw to secure their place in the next round, but the victory allows them to depend on themselves to go first in Group H and have home-court advantage in the first tie.
Sierra Leone’s young defender Trevoh Chabolah opened the scoring in the 25th minute and were sentenced in the second half by Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and German Timo Werner over time.
The crushing defeat left Juventus in second place with six goals difference between them with one match left to play. The match, although in possessions remained even, Chelsea tried 21 shots of which 8 were directed at goal, against 8 total from Vecchia Signora and only one on goal.
With goals from the Polish Robert Lewandowski and the French Kingsley Coman, Bayern Munich won 2-1 in their visit to Kiev and maintained their full Champions League victories.
Lewandowski already has nine goals this season in the Champions League and nine consecutive games scoring in the top European competition, of which he is the third historical scorer with 82 goals since 2011, behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
With 15 points, Bayern are already classified for the round of 16 and also first in Group E, followed by Barcelona, with 7 points, and Benfica, with 5.
The Barcelona club drew goalless against Benfica and, with seven points, the Catalans now need to beat Bayern in Munich, which has already secured the first place in group E, on the last day if Benfica, with five points, win in Lisbon to Dinamo. A draw or defeat for the Portuguese would classify Barcelona regardless of their result.
Barcelona is in a period of reconstruction in which its new coach, Xavi, debuted as the club’s coach in the Champions League on a difficult night. Good game in the first half and you win in the final stretch, but the lack of a goal penalized his team.
“I am unhappy with the result. The game we played was to win. If we had scored a goal, it would have been a great game, because it has been, ”said Xavi.