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Ronaldo's late winner, Chelsea slump to Juve defeat, Barca disaster in Champions League

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29th September, 2021
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Cristiano Ronaldo scored an injury-time winner as Manchester United came from behind to beat Villarreal in their Champions League Group F contest at Old Trafford.

A repeat of last season’s Europa League final, which the Spanish side won on penalties, seemed to destined for a draw before Ronaldo shot home from a tight angle to spark jubilant scenes.

Villareal dominated for long periods and should have taken a lead in the first half, only to go the sheds goalless as United goalkeeper David de Gea thwarted great chances for Arnaut Danjuma, Paco Alcacer and Yeremi Pino.

Alcacer opened the scoring in the second half before Alex Telles smashed home a first-time volley.

Holders Chelsea suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to Juventus in Turin after Federico Chiesa’s strike 10 seconds into the second half.

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Juventus have been struggling in domestic competition but it was a fiercely-contested Group H encounter settled when Chiesa fired high past Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy.

Federico Bernardeschi missed an open goal to double Juve’s advantage before Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku missed two big chances. Kai Havertz, the match winner in the Champions League final earlier this year, had the best chance of all to grab an equaliser but headed over with the last touch of the game.

Barcelona’s dramatic slide post Lionel Messi continued as Ronald Koeman’s team was humbled 3-0 by Benfica. It was the first time in the competition’s history that Barca have lost their opening two group games.

Barca – also beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich earlier this month – are sit bottom of Group E and face missing the knockout stages for the first time since 2003-04 when they failed to qualify for the competition.

Benfica opened the scoring inside three minutes through Darwin Nunez. Rafa Silva added a second after the break and Nunez scored a penalty as well as hitting a post.

Barca only registered one effort on target and had Eric Garcia sent off for a second booking with three minutes remaining.

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“It’s tough to accept this result,” said Koeman. “I don’t think the scoreline corresponds to the match we watched. Despite going behind quickly we played well until it went to 2-0.

“I’m not going to argue about the level of my team. There’s no point in comparing this with Barcelona teams of years gone by. That’s as clear as water. I can only give you my opinion of my work at the club – I feel backed by my players and their attitude.

“Benfica were strong physically and they’re quick. I think that for the first and second goals we just had to defend much better.

“We had really good scoring chances and that’s how you change the direction of a match. The fact that Benfica put away the large majority of the few chances they actually created then that’s the big difference between the two teams tonight”.

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