Champions League: Morata’s late goal sends Juventus to the next round as ManU, Barca, Chelsea, advance

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While Juventus has also labored in Serie A with four wins and four draws under first-year coach Andrea Pirlo, it has not lost in either competition. Still, the club expects more from a team that has won nine straight Italian league titles.

Morata

Juventus’ Alvaro Morata celebrates a goal with teammate Federico Chiesa during the Champions league, group G soccer match between Juventus and Ferencvaros, at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Marco Alpozzi/LaPresse via AP)Alvaro Morata’s stoppage-time winner booked Juventus a spot in the Champions League’s knockout stage.

Combined with Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half equalizer, Morata’s header earned Juventus a 2-1 comeback win over Hungarian side Ferencvaros on Tuesday.

Barcelona, which beat Dynamo Kyiv 4-0 in the other Group G game, also advanced.

Barcelona leads the group with 12 points and Juventus has nine points while Kyiv and Ferencvaros have one point each.

While Juventus has also labored in Serie A with four wins and four draws under first-year coach Andrea Pirlo, it has not lost in either competition. Still, the club expects more from a team that has won nine straight Italian league titles.

“We had intended to start with a different attitude, but we know there can be difficulties in games that appear simple on paper,” Pirlo said. “We were too superficial at the start and had to chase the game.”

Bargain-buy Morata nodded down a cross from Juan Cuadrado for his seventh goal across all competitions this season and his fifth in the Champions League.

 

Ronaldo cut inside a defender and placed a shot inside the near post for the equalizer before the break — marking the 16th consecutive Champions League season that he has scored in.

It was Ronaldo’s 131st Champions League goal. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner missed Juve’s opening two Champions League matches this season after contracting the coronavirus.

Ronaldo has scored in six of his seven appearances for Juventus this season for a total of nine goals.

Dest scores 1st goal as Barcelona advance

American defender Sergiño Dest scored his first goal with Barcelona as the Catalan club comfortably defeated Dynamo Kyiv 4-0 and advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League on Tuesday despite the absence of Lionel Messi.

Martin Braithwaite scored twice and Antoine Griezmann once as Barcelona secured a spot in the last 16 of the European competition for the 17th straight season.

Barcelona reached 12 points from four victories in Group G. It has a three-point lead over Juventus, which beat Hungarian club Ferencváros 2-1 at home. Dynamo and Ferencváros stayed at one point each and have no chance of advancing with two rounds of matches remaining.

 

“We reached our goal, which was to get a good result and reach the round of 16,” Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said. “The team worked well, with a lot of energy. We played a good game and scored four goals, we have to be happy.”

Dest scored for the first time since signing with Barcelona in October with a low cross shot into the far corner in the 52nd minute. Braithwaite added to the lead from close range in the 57th and scored again from a penalty kick in the 70th. Griezmann entered the match in the second half and closed the scoring in stoppage time.

Dest, the 20-year-old U.S. national team player who joined from Ajax, is the first American defender to score in the Champions League. He came close to scoring his second goal with a long range shot that just missed over the crossbar in the final minutes.

Giroud scores late, Chelsea advance

Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score an injury-time header as Chelsea won 2-1 at Rennes to reach the knockout round of the Champions League on Tuesday.

Giroud has hardly played for Chelsea in recent weeks and this was just his eighth appearance in a frustrating season. But the France veteran made the most of a rare outing with an opportunistic winner in the 91st minute.

“I’m very happy to qualify with two games to spare. It was a really tough match, they’re a very good team,” Chelsea coach Frank Lampard said. “Their recent form doesn’t reflect how good they are.”

After Rennes again gave the ball away in midfield, goalkeeper Alfred Gomis saved forward Timo Werner’s shot. But as the ball looped awkwardly up, the ever-alert Giroud reacted quickest to leap above static center half Damien Da Silva and planted a bullet header under the crossbar.

 

“He does things like he does tonight, he’s great. It wasn’t just his goal when he came on, but his hold-up play and physicality,” Lampard said. “You saw the reaction to his goal, and that wasn’t just because it was a late winner, it shows what he does day to day and what he means to the team.”

Striker Sehrou Guirassy’s 85th-minute and equally powerful header had given Rennes hope of pushing for a first-ever win in its Champions League debut season, as Chelsea conceded its first goal in Group E.

The visitors took early control through right winger Callum Hudson-Odoi’s slick 22nd-minute goal.

He ran onto Mason Mount’s superb 50-meter pass, after the tenacious England midfielder got the ball off forward Jeremy Doku just outside the Chelsea penalty area.

Mount almost had a goal of his own in the 29th minute, only to be denied by a superb one-handed reflex save from Gomis.

Gomis became the Rennes No. 1 after Edouard Mendy was sold to Chelsea, and Mendy made a fine save to bat away his former captain Da Silva’s header close to halftime.

Two minutes after the break, Werner had a goal ruled out for offside when he turned in Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross.

Midway through the second half, Giroud came on for Tammy Abraham.

Charitable Fernandes inspires Man United to 4-1 win

Marcus Rashford has become something of a national hero in Britain because of his campaigning for free school meals for poor students.

At Old Trafford on Tuesday, the Manchester United star was the beneficiary of a charitable gesture by a teammate.

Bruno Fernandes had already scored two early goals against Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League when he was given the chance to complete a hat trick — his first for United — from the penalty spot following a foul on Rashford.

 

Instead, Fernandes handed over spot-kick duties to Rashford, who duly converted to set United on its way to a 4-1 win. The Portugal international, it seems, is a man of his word.

“Of course every player wants to do a hat trick,” Fernandes said, “but after the (last) game in the Premier League, I told Rashy the next one he will take and so I remembered that.”

Fernandes said he also wanted Rashford to improve his chances of being the leading scorer in the competition this season. He is now on five goals in the group stage, after a late winner against Paris Saint-Germain and a hat trick against Leipzig.

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