Chelsea on Tuesday became the first team to write their name in the Round of 16 of this season’s UEFA Champions League after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Rennes in a Group H encounter.
Frank Lampard’s men had begun the contest on a positive note and found the net early in the second half when a long-ranger from Mason Mount found Callum Hudson-Odoi, who beat the Rennes goalkeeper in the 22nd minute.
Chelsea’s main man at the front Timo Werner had a quite day at the office and missed two genuine chances to score. The home team, on the other hand, used Chelsea’s inability to extend their lead to full advantage and gained momentum at the end of the open half.
The second half saw Rennes equalising late in the 85th minute when Serhou Guirassy headed in a corner. However, their joy was short-lived as Chelsea found a way back to the top when Olivier Giroud headed home a rebounding delivery off Rennes goalkeeper in the stoppage time.
In another match of the day, Alvaro Morata’s “lucky” goal saw Juventus moving into the knockouts of the continental competition with a 2-1 win over Ferencvaros.
Myrto Uzuni had given the Hungarian team a surprising 19th-minute lead in the Group G clash at Juventus’ home. But Cristiano Ronaldo ensured that they did not trail for long and netted in 35th minutes for his first Champions League goal this season.
The next one hour proved to be frustrating for Andrea Pirlo’s men as they struggled to see the back of the net. Just when a draw seemed probable, Morata came off the bench to give the hosts their second goal two minutes into injury time.
Spanish giants Barcelona were also among the teams who sealed their Round of 16 berth quickly as they thrashed Dynamo Kiev 4-0, despite their captain Lionel Messi not taking the field.
Sergino Dest scored the opener for the Catalan giants in the 52nd minute after a fruitless first 45 minutes of play. Martin Braithwaite scored another in a span of five minutes before extending his tally from the 12 yards spot in the 70th minute to make victory inevitable for Barcelona.
Antoine Griezmann put the final nail in Dynamo Kiev’s coffin with a stoppage-time goal. Even though Barcelona have qualified, the fight to top the group remains between them and Juventus. They’ll look to sort that next week.
In other matches of the day, Manchester United thrashed Istanbul Basakeshir 4-1, thanks to brace from Bruno Fernandes and a goal each from Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) beat RB Leipzig and remained in contention for a Round of 16 berth. Both PSG and RB Leipzig have six points with Manchester United leading the group with nine points.