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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Champions League Wrap: Man United knocked out, Lazio’s historic advance and Chelsea’s draw

Pogba started on the bench for the first game since his agent Mino Raiola made comments suggesting the Frenchman wanted to leave, and could only watch as Leipzig raced into a two-goal lead in the opening 13 minutes.

By: AP | Updated: December 9, 2020 11:16:51 am
Man United lost, Champions LeagueLeipzig's Justin Kluiver, center, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Champions League group H match between RB Leipzig and Manchester United at the RB Arena in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Manchester United was eliminated from the Champions League after a 3-2 loss at Leipzig on Tuesday, despite a late intervention and goal by Paul Pogba at a time the midfielder’s future at the English club is back under scrutiny.

Pogba started on the bench for the first game since his agent Mino Raiola made comments suggesting the Frenchman wanted to leave, and could only watch as Leipzig raced into a two-goal lead in the opening 13 minutes.

By the time Pogba came on with half an hour remaining, it was 3-0 and a step too far for a United team that had only needed a draw to be sure of progress to the last 16.

“As soon as Paul’s agent realizes this is a team sport and we work together, the better,” United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær said after the match, referring to the comments in Italian newspaper Tuttosport, where Raiola said it was “over” for Pogba at United.

“I’m not going to speak about Paul’s agent anymore,” Solskjær said.

United’s loss will result in missed earnings of around 15 to 20 million euros ($18-24 million) as it drops to the less-lucrative Europa League as the third-place finisher in Group H. United lost to Sevilla in the semifinals last season.

Leipzig’s win assured it of progression to the Champions League knockout stage with a three-point lead over United. Paris Saint-Germain, which is level on points with United, is also through to the last 16 due to its better head-to-head record against United.

Lazio advance in CL for 1st time in 20 years with 2-2 draw

Lazio, Champions LEague Lazio’s Ciro Immobile scores his side’s 2nd goal from the penalty spot, during the Champions League, group F match between Lazio and Club Brugge, at the Rome Olympic Stadium, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Lazio advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time in 20 years after drawing 2-2 at home to 10-man Club Brugge on Tuesday.

Brugge midfielder Ruud Vormer cancelled out Joaquín Correa’s early opener but Ciro Immobile won and converted a penalty to restore Lazio’s lead before visiting defender Eduard Sobol was sent off at the end of the first half.

However, Hans Vanaken headed in the equalizer 14 minutes from time to set up a tense finale.

Charles De Ketelaere hit the crossbar for Brugge in stoppage time but the Belgian side had to settle for third and a place in the Europa League.

“We all knew the importance of this match, it wasn’t easy,” Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said. “We saw a great Lazio performance for 70 minutes and then we suffered, seeing as Brugge didn’t have anything to lose anymore.

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“I’m happy to be back among the best 16 in Europe with Lazio, it’s like winning another trophy. We have always played the final stages well.”

Lazio finished second in Group F, two points above Brugge and three below already-qualified Borussia Dortmund, which won 2-1 at Zenit St. Petersburg.

“I’m happy to have passed this round with Lazio after so much time, I’m proud,” Immobile said. “This achievement has to give us more confidence for the future.

“I have to divide the credit for my goals with the team, they always put me in the right conditions to do well. Reaching the round of 16 of the Champions League for us is like winning a trophy.”

Lazio knew that it just needed to avoid defeat against Brugge to qualify for the next round for the first time since 2000-01.

But the Italian side attacked from the start and took the lead in the 12th minute when Simon Mignolet could only parry Luis Alberto’s shot and Correa tucked home the rebound.

Brugge leveled three minutes later with an almost identical goal as Pepe Reina spilled Noa Lang’s snapshot and Vormer rushed in to follow up.

Group winner Chelsea draw 1-1 against Krasnodar

Chelsea FC Chelsea’s Jorginho, left, celebrates with Chelsea’s Kai Havertz after scoring a goal during the Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and Krasnodar at Stamford Bridge stadium in London Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, Pool)

A second-string Chelsea side was held 1-1 at home by Krasnodar in the Champions League on Tuesday, in a match where there was little at stake.

Jorginho converted a penalty four minutes after Rémy Cabella had put Krasnodar in front. Chelsea had already qualified for the knockout stage as Group E champion, while Krasnodar knew it would finish third and play in the Europa League.

It was still a surprise at Stamford Bridge when Cabella gave Krasnodar the lead with a tidy finish in the 24th minute. Chelsea was punished for standing off the visiting attackers in the area, with center backs Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen far too tentative.

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Chelsea hit back almost immediately, however, with Jorginho burying a penalty in his trademark fashion to level at 1-1. The Italy midfielder slotted home after Tammy Abraham was fouled by Krasnodar defender Kaio. It was Jorginho’s first penalty since missing in the 4-0 win in Krasnodar, in a failure that cost him Chelsea’s main spot-kick duties.

The match was also notable as 19-year-old forward Tino Anjorin made his first start for Chelsea.

He was one of 10 changes made by Chelsea coach Frank Lampard from Saturday’s 3-1 Premier League win over Leeds.

Lampard threw on a raft of replacements in the second half in an unsuccessful bid to force a winner.

Sevilla beat Rennes 3-1

Youssef En-Nesyri scored twice as Sevilla ended its Champions League group stage campaign with a 3-1 win over already eliminated Rennes on Tuesday.

There was nothing at stake for either side at Roazhon Park, with Sevilla already through in second place behind Chelsea and Rennes guaranteed to finish last in Group E in its first Champions League campaign.

Defender Jules Koundé put Europa League champion Sevilla ahead in the 32nd minute with a goal from the edge of the penalty area, and En-Nesyri headed his team 2-0 up in first-half stoppage time. He added Sevilla’s third goal in the 81st off a pass from Óscar Rodríguez.
Rennes recorded 18 shots to eight for Sevilla, but couldn’t make the chances count until 18-year-old forward Georginio Rutter scored a penalty on his Champions League debut in the 86th minute.

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