PARIS: Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League after a 3-2 defeat by RB Leipzig on Tuesday, while Paris Saint-Germain’s qualification for the last 16 was overshadowed by a racism row involving a match official that caused their game against Istanbul Basaksehir to be suspended for 24 hours. Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties as Juventus blew away Lionel Messi’s struggling Barcelona 3-0 to wrest first place in Group G away from the Spanish giants.
Lazio also secured a spot in the knockout rounds for the first time in two decades following a tense 2-2 draw at home to Club Brugge in the pouring rain in Rome. Requiring just a point to advance, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side fell behind to an Angelino goal inside two minutes in Germany. Amadou Haidara soon added a second and United and were trailing 3-0 heading into the final quarter after a Justin Kluivert strike.
Bruno Fernandes’s penalty and a deflected Paul Pogba header gave United a lifeline but Leipzig, who reached the semi-finals last term, held on to move top of Group H on 12 points. “We started too late. We showed great spirit to come back again, but you can’t give a team a 3-0 lead and expect to come back,” said Solskjaer.
Leipzig must wait until Wednesday to find out whether they finish first or second in the section, after the contest between last season’s runners-up PSG and Turkish champions Basaksehir was interrupted with the score 0-0 in the 14th minute. Players walked off in Paris amid allegations of racism by the fourth official, in an unprecedented incident in European football’s elite club competition. The row erupted after Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo, the former Cameroon international, was shown a red card during a fierce row on the touchline with staff from the Turkish club appearing to accuse the official of using a racist term.
Television microphones picked up a furious Webo repeatedly asking why a racist term had been used to describe him. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he “strongly” condemned the incident, while UEFA announced it would open a “thorough investigation”. In a statement, UEFA confirmed the game would, “on an exceptional basis”, restart from where it was stopped on Wednesday at 1755 GMT, “with a new team of match officials”. PSG, who advanced following United’s loss, will claim top spot with victory.
Moukoko enters record books
Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus avenged a 2-0 home loss to Barcelona in October when Ronaldo was sidelined with COVID-19, edging their opponents on head-to-head record and heaping more pressure on Ronald Koeman. “We’re very happy. We knew it was almost mission impossible (to come top),” Ronaldo told Movistar. “It was a difficult task but we played well. The key was to start the match well and from there we saw it was possible.”
Weston McKennie scored in between Ronaldo’s two spot-kicks at the Camp Nou as Barca, off to their worst La Liga start in 33 years, were denied a sixth win from six in Europe. “Frankly, I was surprised at how we started, as if we weren’t really hungry to win the match,” said Koeman. Denys Popov’s header earned Dynamo Kiev a 1-0 victory over their former star Serhiy Rebrov and Ferencvaros in the group’s other game, offering them a place in the Europa League.
Borussia Dortmund striker Youssoufa Moukoko, aged 16 years and 18 days, became the youngest player in Champions League history as he came off the bench in a 2-1 victory away to Zenit Saint Petersburg. Cameroon-born Moukoko, who made his European debut as a 58th-minute substitute in Russia, broke the previous record of Celestine Babayaro, who was 16 years and 87 days when he played for Anderlecht in November 1994.
Dortmund, who had already qualified for the last 16, equalized within minutes of Moukoko’s introduction, with Lukasz Piszczek cancelling out Sebastian Driussi’s first-half goal before Axel Witsel scored the winner. Jorginho spared Chelsea’s blushes as his penalty rescued a 1-1 draw against Krasnodar in Group E following Remy Cabella’s opener in London. Frank Lampard’s side were already assured of finishing top, while goals from Jules Kounde and two Youssef En-Nesyri eased Sevilla to a 3-1 victory at Rennes. – AFP