Sports Desk, Nov 2 (EFE).- Cristiano Ronaldo rescued Manchester United yet again Tuesday, scoring a brace to secure a 2-2 draw with Atalanta that was enough to lift the Red Devils to the top spot in Champions League Group F.
Barcelona, in just their second game under caretaker coach Sergi Barjuan, eked out a 1-0 victory against Dynamo Kiev to remain alive after their worst-ever start to a Champions campaign.
Juventus and Bayern Munich each won for the fourth time in four outings to assure themselves of berths in the round of 16 and while Chelsea have yet to qualify mathematically, the result in Tuesday’s return match with Malmö makes it likely they will get the chance to continue defending the trophy they hoisted in May.
Two weeks after he knocked in the winner for United in a come-from-behind 3-2 triumph over Atalanta at Old Trafford, Ronaldo accounted by United goals in Bergamo.
Josep Ilicic scored in the 12th minute to put Atalanta on the front foot, only to see the 36-year-old Portuguese striker equalize in first-half stoppage time.
The hosts restored their advantage in the 56th minute, when Duvan Zapata became the first Colombian to reach 100 goals for a Serie A side.
Atalanta were still up 2-1 at the end of the regulation 90 minutes, but Ronaldo struck again, producing his ninth goal in 11 games since rejoining the club where he became a star in the first decade of the century.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner also extended his record for goals in Champions League to 139.
United have 7 points, the same as Villarreal, who beat Young Boys 2-0 Tuesday, but the Premier League team are first by virtue of having beaten the Yellow Submarine.
Atalanta, with 5 points, remain in contention for the knockout stage.
In Kiev, Ansu Fati – the inheritor of Lionel Messi’s No. 10 – scored in the 70th minute and Barcelona kept a clean sheet to go to 6 points and second place in Group E.
Fati, who celebrated his 19th birthday two days ago, has scored three goals since coming back from an injury that kept him out for 10 months.
The Catalan club can clinch a spot in the knockout stage with a victory against Benfica at Camp Nou later this month.
First place in the group belongs to Juventus, who dominated Zenit St. Petersburg 4-2. Paulo Dybala had a brace for the Bianconeri, who also got goals from Federico Chiesa and Alvaro Morata.
The first of Zenit’s goals was charged to veteran Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci, whose attempt to clear a cross with his head went horribly wrong. Sardar Azmoun added a second for the Russian side in stoppage time.
Robert Lewandowski, Europe’s top scorer for two seasons running, posted a hat trick to power Group E leaders Bayern 5-2 over Benfica and book a ticket to the next round for the 2019-2020 Champions League winners.
Hakim Ziyech’s goal in the 56th minute proved to be enough for Chelsea against Malmö, who conceded four to the Blues two weeks ago at Stamford Bridge. EFE