Three of Europe’s biggest clubs lost their final group stage match of the 2018-19 Champions League on Wednesday, with Juventus, Manchester United and holders Real Madrid all upset on the last day of the first round.
The three, all former tournament winners, had already advanced to the competition’s knockout stage. Still, it’s not often that Cristiano Ronaldo-led Juventus suffers the indignity of being beaten by the likes of Swiss minnow Young Boys, or that Real Madrid, winner of the last three Champions League titles, is humiliated at the Bernabeu by CSKA Moscow.
It was a long night in Switzerland for Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus, which lost 2-1 to Young Boys. (Getty)
Meantime, Manchester United failed to capitalize on Juve’s slip. By beating Valencia, the Red Devils would have overtaken the Italians to claim Group H. Instead, the Spaniards jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and while United pulled one back late via Marcus Rashford it wasn’t enough as Valencia won 2-1. The eventual winner come on a spectacular own goal by Phil Jones:
Bayern, Ajax play to wild 3-3 draw
In Amsterdam, Ajax had a chance to finish atop Group E with a win against Bayern Munich. Easier said than done, of course. Robert Lewandowski gave the visitors an early lead but the Dutch club managed to equalize around the hour mark through Dusan Tadic. Then things got crazy.
First, Ajax central defender Maximilian Wober was sent off for a hard foul on Leon Goretzka. Then it was the usually mild-mannered German star Thomas Muller’s turn to see red:
With extra space on the field, the two teams combined for four more goals, all of them coming after the 82nd minute. But Bayern held on for the point it needed in the end, with Ajax forced to settle for second place.
Shakhtar Donetsk falls just short against Lyon
In snowy Donetsk, Shakhtar’s only hope of advancing was to beat Lyon and leapfrog the French club into second in Group F, sending the visitors to the Europa League instead of the round of 16.
And for a while, things were looking good for the hosts. They even took a slim 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to Junior Moraes’ 22nd minute strike:
Unfortunately for Shakhtar, Nabil Fekir equalized on a banger of a shot midway through the second half to keep Lyon in the competition:
Leroy Sane brace leads Manchester City
The best goal of the day probably came at Manchester’s City. The Sky Blues were virtually assured of finishing atop Group F even with a loss to Hoffenheim. Against the odds, the already-eliminated Germans took a first half lead before Leroy Sane restored order with this lovely equalizer:
Sane’s winner, his second of the day, was almost as pretty, but for a different reason. On the counterattack, Pep Guardiola’s squad is a sight to behold:
Other Champions League scores
Viktoria Plzen 2, RomaBenfica 1, AEK Athens 0
Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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