Barça out; Chelsea advance as 2nd-place team
Sports Desk, Dec 8 (EFE).- FC Barcelona continue to find the adjustment to life without Lionel Messi a challenge, falling 3-0 Wednesday to Bayern Munich to crash out of the Champions League in the group stage for the first time since 2000-2001, while holders Chelsea saw Juventus overtake them for the top spot in their group.
The Catalan club entered Match Day 6 second in Group E on 7 points, 2 more than third-place Benfica.
A win over Bayern in Munich would have assured Barça of a spot in the round of 16 and even a loss would not have been fatal as long as Benfica also lost, but the Portuguese side beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 to improve to 8 points.
Though they made a decent start, the visitors trailed 2-0 at the break on goals by Thomas Müller and Leroy Sane. Jamal Musiala added a third in the second half as Bayern stayed perfect.
“A new stage begins today,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said afterward, adding that the squad needs to accept that the Europa League is now their “reality.”
“I don’t like the word ‘failure.’ Someone who tries never fails. We can speak of disappointment or resignation. We’re going to work very hard to put Barça where it deserves to be, I have said so to the players,” the club legend told Movistar+ following his fifth game as coach.
Chelsea and Juventus began the day level on points at 12 apiece, but the Blues were top of Group H thanks to a better goal difference.
Timo Werner put the Premier League side up in the 2nd minute against Zenit in St. Petersburg. But Claudinho brought the hosts level in the 38th minute and Sardar Azmoun scored the go-ahead goal three minutes later.
Romelu Lukaku answered for Chelsea in the 62nd minute and Werner got what looked like the game-winner with five minutes left in regulation.
Four minutes into stoppage time, late sub Magomed Ozdoyev equalized for Zenit and the Blues had to settle for a point, while Moise Kean’s goal in the 18th minute proved to be enough for an unimpressive Juve to nip Malmö 1-0 and win the group.
At Old Trafford, Group F winners Manchester United faced Young Boys, who needed to win to retain any chance of finishing third and qualifying for the Europa League.
The Red Devils jumped out to the lead with Mason Greenwood’s goal in the 9th minute, but Fabian Rieder put the visitors back on terms in the 42nd and neither side was able to find a breakthrough in the second half. EFE rmm/dr