Man United prevail in thriller; Barça break into win column; Chelsea roll

Sports Desk, Oct 20 (EFE).- Cristiano Ronaldo wrote another chapter in his legend Wednesday, scoring the winner for Manchester United in a come-from-behind victory against Atalanta that lifted the Red Devils to first place in Champions League Group F.

Barcelona, meanwhile, held Dynamo Kiev 1-0 to post their first win of the 2021-2022 Champions League campaign, and holders Chelsea rebounded from a loss on Match Day 2 to cruise 4-0 against Malmö.

The side that hoisted the trophy in 2020, Bayern Munich, thrashed Benfica 4-0 to stay perfect and go 5 points clear atop Group E.

The Manchester United faithful were stunned to see their side trailing Atalanta 2-0 lead after 30 minutes at Old Trafford on goals by Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral.

Visiting goalkeeper Juan Musso was tested only once in the first half – a strike by Fred in the 20th minute – and United’s Marcus Rashford hit the cross-bar just before the break.

The hosts were much better to start the second half.

Ronaldo forced a save from Musso in the 48th minute and Atalanta gave away the ball under pressure five minutes later to set up a goal by Rashford.

The post spared Musso from conceding a goal to Scott McTominay’s just before the hour mark and the keeper denied Ronaldo again in the 64th minute.

With 20 minutes left, United’s David De Gea made a pair of fine stops in quick succession against Duvan Zapata and Ruslan Malinovskiy to keep the deficit to one – a deficit Harry Maguire erased with a goal off a corner in the 75th minute.

Musso thwarted Bruno Fernandes in the 80th, but Ronaldo worked his magic seconds later with a header from close range in the 81st minute.

United lead the group on 6 points, 2 better than Atalanta and Europa League champions Villarreal, who pounded Young Boys 4-1.

At Camp Nou, defender Gerard Pique’s goal in the 36th minute turned out to be enough for the Blaugrana to secure a desperately needed win.

Though it was far from a vintage Barcelona performance, embattled coach Ronald Koeman was delighted with the 3 points, which left his team third in Group E, just a point behind Benfica, who endured an embarrassing defeat in Lisbon at the hands of Bayern.

The visitors had two goals disallowed by VAR before Leroy Sane got one that counted in the 70th minute.

Bayern went up 2-0 in the 80th after Serge Gnabry’s cross deflected off Benfica’s Everton into the net. Robert Lewandowski extended the lead two minutes later and Sane got a second in the 84th minute.

Jorginho converted two penalties as Chelsea improved the prospects for their title defense at the expense of Malmö.

Andreas Christensen and Kai Havertz had the other goals for the Blues, who are second in Group H with 6 points, 3 behind Juventus, who eked out a 1-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg. EFE apa/dr

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