Barça eliminated from the Champions League as Benfica, Lille and Salzburg advance to the round of 16

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Barcelona withdrew from the Champions League in the group stage for the first time in more than 20 years with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich on Wednesday, as Benfica, French champions Lille and Red Bull Salzburg lost their way. are all qualified for the last 16.

Meanwhile, Chelsea missed out on first place in their group against Juventus after conceding a late equalizer to Zenit St. Petersburg, while snow in northern Italy forced Atalanta’s decisive game to be postponed. against Villarreal.

Barcelona started the day second in Group E but had to win against Bayern Munich to be sure of passing or they risked being overtaken by Benfica.

Xavi Hernandez’s side were duly outclassed by an already qualified Bayern who took six out of six wins in the squad, with Thomas Mueller’s 34th-minute header just crossing the line before Ronald Araujo could clear.

The match was played behind closed doors at the Allianz Arena due to coronavirus restrictions in Bavaria, but that didn’t handicap Bayern, with Leroy Sane’s powerful strike doubling his lead before the break and then Jamal Musiala carrying the score at 3-0 just after the hour.

‘A new era’

The Catalans were eliminated as Benfica beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 in Lisbon, with first-half goals from Roman Yaremchuk and Gilberto seeing them grab second place and a place in next Monday’s draw. for the last 16.

“We did not compete. It’s the Champions League but it’s our reality and we have to face it, ”Xavi told Spanish media.

“We are starting a new era from scratch. Our goal is the Champions League, not the Europa League.

Barcelona, ​​who have scored just two group stage goals, had made the round of 16 of the Champions League in each of the past 17 seasons, last missing in 2003-04 when they played for the Cup UEFA after finishing sixth in La Liga the previous year.

They came out of the Champions League for the last time in the group stage in 2000/01 when a side consisting of a 20-year-old Xavi finished third in their section behind AC Milan and Leeds United.

The five-time European champions will now take part in the Europa League qualifiers in February.

Juve pip Chelsea

Lille, on the other hand, qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in 15 years after beating Wolfsburg 3-1 in Germany to finish first in Group G.

Burak Yilmaz gave Lille an early lead and Canadian forward Jonathan David made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute before Angel Gomes got his third. Renato Steffen had a late consolation.

Salzburg, Austrian champions in each of the past eight seasons, also advanced with a 1-0 victory over Sevilla, Noah Okafor scoring the only goal before the Spaniards sent off Joan Jordan.

It is the first time that Salzburg have reached the knockout stage, while Sevilla join Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League. 2006.

Atalanta match postponed

Last season’s winners Chelsea had already advanced to the round of 16 and were on course to finish first in Group H as they led 3-2 away from Zenit before added time.

But then Magomed Ozdoev’s superb goal earned Zenit a 3-3 draw, allowing Juventus to grab first place as Moise Kean’s goal gave them a 1-0 victory over Malmö.

Timo Werner had played to give Chelsea the lead in the second minute, but Claudinho and Sardar Azmoun both scored before the break for Zenit.

Romelu Lukaku’s first goal in nearly three months made it 2-2, and Werner’s second of the night appeared to have won it for Chelsea before Ozdoev struck.

“My analysis is very clear: our behavior changes when we have a lead and that is something we have never done and should never do,” said Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, whose team twice lost an advantage to lose 3-2 to West Ham United. Last weekend.

Atalanta’s match against Villarreal in Group F has been postponed due to snow in Bergamo and has been rescheduled for Thursday at 6:00 p.m. GMT, with the Italians set to win to propel their visitors to second in the group.

Group winners Manchester United drew 1-1 at home against Young Boys, with Mason Greenwood’s acrobatic effort giving Ralf Rangnick’s side the lead before Fabian Rieder equalized.

(AFP)

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