Football

Champions League | Neymar brace keeps PSG in the hunt

Neymar, second from left, and team mates celebrate after he scored his side's third goal during a Group H Champions League match between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England on Dec. 2, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 750th career goal. Olivier Giroud put on a four-goal masterclass. Neymar got the goals that mattered most to leave Manchester United facing a possible Champions League exit.

Neymar scored early and late at Old Trafford as Paris Saint-Germain won 3-1 in the latest bout of a fierce Champions League rivalry to take control of its destiny in Group H.

Big mistake

United was left to regret not substituting midfielder Fred who seemed lucky not to be sent off in the first half when head-butting PSG’s Leandro Paredes.

Fred finally got a red card in the 70th minute just as United tried to come back from PSG taking a 2-1 lead through another Brazilian, Marquinhos.

PSG and United are joined on nine points by Leipzig, which got a stoppage-time winning goal to beat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-3 in a thrilling game.

Job on hand

United has perhaps the toughest task in the final games next Tuesday, travelling to Leipzig while PSG hosts Basaksehir.

Borussia Dortmund was the only team to advance on Wednesday, drawing 1-1 at home against Lazio to become the ninth team in the round of 16.

Juventus was already safely into the next round before Ronaldo marked his 750th goal for his clubs and Portugal. It was a simple tap-in at the far post in a 3-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv.

Chelsea and Sevilla had also advanced before Giroud tore apart the Spanish side on its home turf. The France forward’s perfectly balanced quadruple came from shots with his right and left feet, a header, and then from the penalty spot.

Like Real Madrid on Tuesday, Man United lost to leave itself a tense last-round challenge just to qualify for the knockout stage in February.

Lopsided

In the most lopsided group, Barcelona was able to rest Lionel Messi against Ferencvaros and still score all its goals in the first half hour in a 3-0 win.

Barcelona has five straight wins and leads Juve by three points before they meet in Spain next Tuesday to decide who tops the group. Group winners are seeded in the last-16 draw and play the second leg at home.

If Messi and Ronaldo both play, it will be the veterans’ first meeting in the group stage.

The results:

Group E: Krasnodar 1 (Berg 71) bt Rennes 0; Sevilla 0 lost to Chelsea 4 (Giroud 8, 54, 74, 83-pen).

Group F: Club Brugge 3 (De Ketelaere 33, Vanaken 58-pen, Lang 73) bt Zenit Saint Petersburg 0; Borussia Dortmund 1 (Guerreiro 44) drew with Lazio 1 (Immobile 67-pen).

Group G: Ferencvaros 0 lost to Barcelona 3 (Griezmann 14, Braithwaite 20, Dembele 28-pen); Juventus 3 (Chiesa 21, Ronaldo 57, Morata 66) bt Dynamo Kiev 0.

Group H: Basaksehir Istanbul 3 (Kahveci 45+3, 72, 85) lost to RB Leipzig 4 (Poulsen 26, Mukiele 43, Olmo 66, Sorloth 90+2); Manchester United 1 (Rashford 32) lost to Paris Saint-Germain 3 (Neymar 6, 90+1, Marquinhos 69).

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 8:51:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/champions-league-neymar-strikes-twice-as-psg-beat-manchester-united-3-1/article33235895.ece

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