No Cristiano Ronaldo, no problem for Juventus as Álvaro Morata scored twice to help the Bianconeri win 2-0 at Dynamo Kyiv in their opening Champions League match on Tuesday.
Ronaldo was ruled out after testing positive for the coronavirus last week but Morata marked his return to Juventus by netting twice in the second half.
“Playing in the Champions League with this shirt is a great emotion,” said Morata, who rejoined Juventus on loan from Atlético Madrid last month. “We want to get right to the end and we’re fighting for this.
“It was important to win against a team that can give you problems, because they are fast and very young.”
“Maybe in the end we deserved to score one goal but in general Juve were better and their win was fair,” Dynamo coach Mircea Lucescu said. “Now we have to focus on our next league game and visit at Ferencváros.
“Juventus and Barcelona are teams of higher level. We need to gain experience, it’s important for our young players. Our organization of play tonight gives me hope for a good future of this squad.”
The coronavirus pandemic meant most of the Champions League matches were being played without fans, or only a limited amount. But there were 14,850 spectators allowed into the match in Kyiv.
Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie was also out after testing positive for COVID-19.
It was new Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo’s first Champions League match in charge.
Pirlo almost saw his side take an early lead but Federico Chiesa’s angled drive was turned away by Heorhiy Bushchan. The Dynamo goalkeeper almost gifted Juventus the lead seconds later as he flapped at a corner which bounced off Giorgio Chiellini’s head and flew inches wide of the post.
Barcelona easily beat Ferencváros 5-1
Barcelona began erasing some of the bad memories from last season’s embarrassing Champions League elimination with a comfortable opening group win against Hungarian club Ferencváros.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring and two teenage teammates also chipped in to lead Barcelona to a 5-1 victory in its first Champions League match since the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals last season.
After Messi, Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Pedri and Ousmane Dembélé scored to give Barcelona the opening win in Group G. Ihor Kharatin scored Ferencváros’ lone goal from a penalty that led to a straight red card to Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué with about 20 minutes left.
In the other group match, Juventus won 2-0 at Dynamo Kyiv with a pair of goals by striker Álvaro Morata.
Barcelona, trying to win its first Champions League title since 2015, was trounced by Bayern in August during last season’s quarterfinals. The loss capped the Catalan club’s first season without a title since 2007-08. It has been mired in crisis since then, with Messi being forced to stay despite wanting to leave, and with former player Ronald Koeman taking over the coaching job with the task of revamping the squad.
“I’m happy because we played some very good soccer during parts of the game,” Koeman said. “You have to be happy after winning and scoring five goals.”
Messi opened the scoring by converting a 27th-minute penalty kick after being brought down by a defender inside the area. It was his second goal of the season in all competitions, and 116th in total in the Champions League. It extended his run with at least a goal in the European competition to 16 consecutive seasons. Ryan Giggs is the only other player with goals in 16 editions of the Champions League.
Barcelona hosts Real Madrid on Saturday in the first Spanish league “clásico” of the season.
Ferencváros is back in the Champions League for the first time since 1995, having gotten past four qualifying rounds to reach the group stage.
New-look Chelsea held 0-0 by Sevilla
For the first time since its $300 million spending spree, Chelsea finally got its six major summer signings on the field together.
They couldn’t find a way past Sevilla. Sevilla kept new-look Chelsea at bay in a 0-0 draw in Group E, with the English team involved in its first goalless match since Frank Lampard arrived as manager in the offseason on 2019.
Lampard managed to cure his team’s issues at the back as Chelsea put on a solid defensive display at Stamford Bridge, helped by the return to the lineup of center back Thiago Silva and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy — two of the new recruits.
And at one stage in the second half, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, substitute Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell — the other four expensive signings — were all out there for Lampard but Sevilla held firm in a game of few real opportunities.
The Spanish side lost center back Sergi Gomez to injury in the first half, but restricted Chelsea to half-chances. The best fell to Kurt Zouma, who was unmarked at a corner but headed straight at the goalkeeper.
The closest Sevilla came to a goal was when Joan Jordán’s volley — straight from a corner by Ivan Rakitic — flew just over the crossbar in the second half.
Chelsea has already conceded three goals twice in five English Premier League games this season.
Angeliño gets Leipzig off to Champions League winning start
Spanish defender Angeliño scored twice to lead Leipzig to a 2-0 win over Istanbul Basaksehir in their Champions League opening game.
The match was played in front of just under 1,000 fans after plans to allow 8,500 supporters were shelved due to a rise in the number of local coronavirus infections. Leipzig’s Malian midfielder Amadou Haidara was already ruled out after returning from international duty with the virus last week.
Enzo Crivelli and Deniz Türüc missed early chances for the Turkish champion before Angeliño scored in the 16th minute. Kevin Kampl lobbed the ball forward and Angeliño controlled it and turned with his first movement before firing inside the bottom right corner with his next.
Immobile scores 1, sets up 1 in Lazio 3-1 win over Dortmund
Playing in the Champions League group phase for the first time in 13 years, Lazio looked like it couldn’t wait to return.
The Roman club scored two early goals in a convincing 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.
European Golden Shoe winner Ciro Immobile netted the first against his former club, and Dortmund goalkeeper Marwin Hitz scored an own-goal when a shot was deflected in off his head.
Erling Haaland pulled one back for Dortmund in the 71st but Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro restored Lazio’s two-goal advantage five minutes later.
“It was an incredible feeling — after so many years to take this club back into the Champions League,” Immobile said. “There was that extra special flavor. We played a perfect game and are enormously satisfied with the performance.”
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