After Juventus’ 4-3 defeat to Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain’s 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa, here’s our round-up of the latest CL action. We also cover Milan’s move into second in Group F and Chelsea’s clinch of a last 16 spot.
Juventus’ 4-3 loss to Benfica
Juventus’ 4-3 Champions League defeat came after conceding three late goals. Joao Mario headed home a penalty in the 17th minute and Antonio Silva headed home from close range in the second half. After a goal-scramble, VAR overturned a controversial offside decision against Vlachodimos. Earlier, Milik had volleyed home a Samuel Iling-Junior cross. On the other end, McKennie converted a penalty after a goalmouth scramble. In addition, Rafa crashed a shot against the post with 11 minutes left.
Benfica’s late fightback earned them three valuable points and ensured their progression to the knockout stages. With the win, the Portuguese side maintains their unbeaten record in European competition. The defeat was a disappointment for Juventus as they struggled to get into the game and looked shaky in the first half. However, they could still break the club’s record of 12 points in the group stage with a win over Maccabi Haifa.
Paris Saint-Germain’s 7-2 win over Maccabi Haifa
Paris Saint-Germain’s 7-2 win against Maccabi Haifa in the Champions league was a stunning achievement. The French side scored seven goals in the match, including two from Lionel Messi and one from Kylian Mbappe. The win moved PSG to the top of the table on goal difference.
While the scoreline may be flattering for PSG, Maccabi can still make the next round after winning their opening group match. The Israeli side is level with Juventus in Group H, and they can unseat the Old Lady if they win the final matchday.
Milan’s move into second place in Group F
Milan’s win over Dinamo Zagreb means they’ve moved up into second place in Group F, while Benfica’s loss to Chelsea ends Juve’s hopes of winning the group. The Italian side will need to win their next two games to secure their place in the knockout stages. They’ve drew their two other Group F games, but a draw against Salzburg on Tuesday would see them qualify.
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Benfica were in control for much of the game, but Milan fought back to level the score in the dying minutes of the first half. After a controversial penalty given to Joao Mario, the visitors appeared set to humiliate Juve. However, they managed to turn things around with two goals from Arkadiusz Milik and a goal from Weston McKennie. However, Rafa Silva missed the chance to grab a hat-trick.
Chelsea’s clinch place in last 16
Chelsea’s clinch place in the last 16 of the Champions League was sealed on Sunday, as Jose Mourinho’s side beat Bournemouth 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. But the Blues haven’t played well enough to get the best out of their star players, such as Diego Costa. The Belgian has only scored four goals this season, while Hazard has scored just one goal in 20 Chelsea appearances. Meanwhile, Costa was ineffective as a substitute against Bournemouth.
A win against Salzburg would ensure that Chelsea advance to the last 16 of the Champions League for the fourth year in a row. The Blues have progressed to the knockout stages each year since the 2012-13 season, when they won the title. Barcelona, meanwhile, needed a point in order to qualify, but they were able to draw 0-0 with Juventus to seal top spot in Group D.
Lionel Messi’s brace
It is hard to choose one of the many amazing performances that Messi has made in the Champions League round-up, but arguably one of his best displays has to be his brace against Juventus in the Champions League’s semi-final in 2011. He had not scored against Petr Cech in the previous eight games and had failed to find the net against Liverpool in the previous round. However, Messi proved himself to be the most clinical forward in the match as he scored a brace in the last quarter.
Despite having to work hard for the victory over RB Leipzig, Messi’s brace was the difference between a tie and a win for his team. The French side had started the match well and hoped to leapfrog Manchester City in the table. However, the RB Leipzig side made life difficult for Paris Saint-Germain and their fans were left disappointed.