Man United scores late to salvage draw with Atletico in Champions League round of 16 | CBC Sports


Atletico Madrid stored previous foe Cristiano Ronaldo in test however could not maintain on to its lead towards Manchester United, conceding late in a 1-1 draw within the first leg of the spherical of 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Joao Felix — as soon as touted as the following Ronaldo — put the hosts forward with a diving header seven minutes into the match, however substitute Anthony Elanga equalized within the eightieth, 5 minutes after coming off the bench on the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Atletico was in management throughout many of the match and twice hit the crossbar, together with with an 86th-minute shot by Antoine Griezmann.

The return leg will likely be on March 15 in England.

Within the different round-of-16 match, Benfica and Ajax drew 2-2 in Portugal.

Ronaldo, who a number of instances ended Atletico’s title hopes within the Champions League when he was with crosstown rival Actual Madrid, struggled all through the match and was visibly pissed off. Remoted up entrance, he was booed by the Atletico followers almost each time he touched the ball on the Metropolitano.

Felix was way more harmful for Atletico, always threatening together with his fast turns and robust runs.

The 21-year-old ahead opened the scoring with a strong header off a well-placed cross by Renan Lodi. The ball got here off the submit earlier than moving into to make Felix the primary Portuguese participant to attain a Champions League purpose towards United since Ronaldo discovered the web for Juventus towards the English facet in November 2018.

It was Felix’s seventh Champions League purpose in 20 appearances within the competitors, and first since 2020.

With the 37-year-old Ronaldo effectively defended and never with the ability to join together with his teammates, United appeared crushed till Elanga broke free to search out the web from inside the realm after a pleasant by ball from playmaker Bruno Fernandes, the competitors’s assists chief with seven.

Griezmann, who began on the bench together with Luis Suarez, had the prospect to place Atletico forward once more close to the tip however his shot hit the crossbar. Atletico additionally was held by the woodwork simply earlier than halftime when a close-range header by Sime Vrsaljko bounced onto the crossbar off the face of United defender Victor Lindelof.

Ronaldo, who had scored in all 5 group-stage matches he performed, was visibly pissed off together with his group’s struggles and likewise complained to the referees whereas going into the altering rooms at halftime. His finest scoring likelihood got here from a 79th-minute free kick that sailed excessive.

He has just one purpose in his final 9 video games in all competitions in what’s considered one of his leanest spells since changing into a scoring machine within the latter a part of his first stint with United from 2003-09.

Ronaldo helped finish Atletico’s Champions League title hopes 5 completely different instances whereas taking part in for Actual Madrid and Juventus. He scored hat tips for Madrid in 2017 and Juventus in 2019, and transformed decisive penalty kicks within the finals between town rivals in 2014 and 2016.

He had 25 objectives in 35 profession conferences towards Atletico, essentially the most towards any opponent apart from Sevilla.

It was the primary assembly between the golf equipment for the reason that second spherical of the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup in 1991-92, when Atletico gained 4-1 on combination.

Benfica battles to draw towards Ajax

Benfica got here from behind twice to carry Ajax to a 2-2 draw within the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 conflict Wednesday.

Sebastien Haller scored for each groups within the first half. The prolific Ivory Coast striker now has 11 objectives for Ajax in his first seven Champions League matches, the very best tally ever by a debutante in Europe’s prime membership competitors.

Nevertheless it was not sufficient to safe Ajax’s seventh straight Champions League victory.

Captain Dusan Tadic put Ajax forward within the 18th minute, putting a volley previous Odisseas Vlachodimos within the Benfica purpose after a cross from the fitting by Noussair Mazraoui, who had began the transfer by successful the ball on proper from Alejandro Grimaldo.

Haller deflected a tough, low cross by former Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen into his personal internet to convey the scores degree within the twenty sixth minute however made amends simply three minutes later when he tapped residence a rebound to proceed his scoring streak.

He might have given Ajax a snug two-goal cushion shortly earlier than halftime however solely managed to steer the ball huge from shut vary after Edson Alvarez hit the submit.

Within the group section, Haller grew to become the primary man to attain 10 objectives in his first six video games in Europe’s top-tier competitors as Ajax gained all of its matches.

However the Amsterdam membership struggled in Lisbon as Benfica threatened all through the second half with its fast breaks.

A deflected shot by Everton went huge within the fifty fifth minute and Darwin Nunez simply didn’t get on the tip of a cross by Rafa Silva 5 minutes later. It was a uncommon failure by Nunez, who has scored 23 instances throughout all competitions this season.

The stress lastly paid off when Remko Pasveer saved a strong shot by Goncalo Ramos and substitute Roman Yaremchuk beat Steven Berghuis to the ball to move residence Benfica’s second equalizer of the evening within the 72nd minute.

Roman Yaremchuk of Benfica scores towards Ajax throughout a 2-2 draw on the UEFA Champions League spherical of 16 on Wednesday. (Octavio Passos/Getty Pictures)

Benfica was taking part in its first Champions League recreation below Nelson Verissimo, who took over after Jorge Jesus was fired regardless of main the Lisbon membership into the knockout stage from a bunch that included Bayern Munich and Barcelona.


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