Cristiano Ronaldo spares Manchester United’s Champions League blushes as Chelsea fall to defeat at Juventus
Cristiano Ronaldo capped his record-breaking Champions League appearance by firing Manchester United to a stunning late comeback win against Europa League final foes Villarreal.
Just four months on from the penalty shoot-out loss to Unai Emery’s side in Gdansk, the sides met again with the Red Devils needing to make up for their shock defeat at Young Boys in the Group F opener.
A disjointed United were staring down the barrel of a third straight home defeat in all competitions when Paco Alcacer deservedly put Villarreal ahead.
But Alex Telles’ sublime volley gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side hope and Ronaldo secured a 2-1 win in stoppage time, sending Old Trafford wild on the night he broke Iker Casillas’ all-time Champions League appearances record.
It was a box-office end to his 178th appearance in the competition and a relief to all those connected with United, after David De Gea had to produce some superb saves to keep Villarreal at bay in a one-sided first half.
Federico Chiesa’s rocket finish stunned Chelsea in Turin as Juventus condemned the Blues to a second straight 1-0 defeat.
Italy forward Chiesa sneaked in on goal and lashed past Edouard Mendy as Chelsea were caught cold just 11 seconds into the second half.
The visitors were still processing their half-time adjustments when Juventus struck, and Thomas Tuchel’s side never recovered.
Chelsea had opened their Champions League defence with a patchy 1-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg at Stamford Bridge on September 14, and this loss left their Group H status in the balance. The Blues flailed at fluency in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League home defeat to Manchester City, and four days later Tuchel’s men struggled for rhythm again. Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz failed to hit the target with fine late chances, as Chelsea slipped to consecutive defeats for just the second time in Tuchel’s tenure.