MADRID – Barcelona, Sevilla, Juventus and Chelsea all won on Tuesday to assure themselves of spots in the 2020-2021 Champions League round of 16 with two matches still to play in the group stage.
Three other clubs, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio and Manchester United, edged closer to qualifying. Paris Saint-Germain, the reigning Champions League runners-up, eked out a narrow victory to stay alive in the competition.
Sevilla, a few months after hoisting the Europa League trophy for a record sixth time, took the lead over hosts FC Krasnodar just four minutes into the contest with a goal by Ivan Rakitic.
The Spanish side, with 61 percent possession, looked in command until Maciel Wanderson equalized for the home team in the 56th minute and they ended up needing a goal deep in stoppage time from Munir El Haddadi to take all three points.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea likewise prevailed 2-1 at Rennes.
Callum Hudson-Odoi put the Blues ahead in the 22nd minute and it seemed that one goal might be enough until Serhou Guirassy brought Rennes level with five minutes left in regulation. Olivier Giroud scored in the first minute of stoppage time to win it for the visitors.
Chelsea and Sevilla both have 10 points, but the Premier League club leads Group E thanks to a better goal difference. With just a point apiece, Krasnodar and Rennes are eliminated.
Group G also presents a clear divide and all that remains to be determined is which of the two qualifiers will be seeded higher in the knockout stage.
Despite its struggles in LaLiga, Barcelona stayed perfect in the European tournament, pounding Dynamo Kiev 4-0 in Ukraine’s capital.
Barça coach Ronald Koeman took the opportunity to rest Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong and left Antoine Griezmann and Jordi Alba on the bench.
After a 0-0 first half, Sergiño Dest opened the scoring in the 52nd minute. Martin Braithwaite made it 2-0 five minutes later and converted a penalty in the 70th before late sub Griezmann added a fourth goal in stoppage time.
In Turin, Juventus edged Ferencvaros 2-1 to move up to nine points, three behind Barcelona.
Juve found itself in the unaccustomed position of coming from behind after conceding in the 19th minute to Myrto Uzuni. Cristian Ronaldo put the hosts back on level terms in the 35th minute and the Hungarian side never threatened again, yet it took Alvaro Morata’s header in stoppage time to secure the three points.
Dynamo and Ferencvaros will battle for the third-place Europa League berth.
Manchester United avenged its loss to Basaksehir in Istanbul by routing the Turkish squad 4-1 at Old Trafford to take sole possession of first place in Group H.
The Red Devils led 3-0 at half-time on a brace by Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford’s penalty. Deniz Türüç clawed one back for Basaksehir in the 75th minute, but Daniel James scored in stoppage time to restore the three-goal margin.
United goes to nine points, three more than both PSG and RB Leipzig after the Paris team bested the Red Bulls 1-0 Tuesday with Neymar’s goal from the spot in the 11th minute.
Only six points separate Man United from last-place Basaksehir.
The race in Group F also remains close, as the top three clubs are just five points apart.
Dortmund is on nine points after beating Club Brugge 3-0 on Erling Haaland’s brace and a goal by Jadon Sancho. With four points, the Belgian side is not mathematically eliminated.
Haaland boosted his European goal total to 16 in 12 matches, better than Messi and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe over the same interval.
Ciro Immobile scored twice – once from the spot – to power Lazio 3-1 over last-place Zenit St. Petersburg and put the Italian club a point behind Dortmund.
Artem Dzyuba scored for Zenit and Marco Parolo got the third goal for Lazio.