Chelsea and Manchester United booked their place in the RO16 of the Champions League by beating Juventus and Villarreal, respectively. While the Blues were dominant in their display, the Red Devils stumbled to a win thanks to some individual brilliance.
Thomas Tuchel’s side came flying out of the blocks against Juve, knowing that a win by a margin greater than one would send them to the top of the group ahead of the final matchday. It seemed only a matter of time before the Blues took the lead, and that proved to be the case in the 25th minute when Trevoh Chalobah swept the ball in from close range after it had bounced off Antonio Rudiger and fell kindly for him from a corner.
Ex-Chelsea star Alvaro Morata thought he had leveled the scores for the Bianconeri when he lobbed the ball over Edouard Mendy, only for Thiago Silva to deny him the goal with a sensational, acrobatic clearance off the line. The Blues tightened things up at the back after that scare and threw everything at their opponents in search of the insurance goal, which arrived on the other side of the break.
Leonardo Bonucci headed away Ben Chilwell’s cross, albeit straight into the path of Reece James, who chested the ball down and fired a fierce volley past Wojciech Szczesny from a tight angle.
Moments later, Tuchel’s men had increased their lead to three and were completely out of the Old Lady’s sights. Ruben Loftus-Cheek held onto the ball inside the Juve box with some nimble footwork before rolling it out to an unmarked Callum Hudson-Odoi, who poked it past Szczesny from close range.
Timo Werner came off the bench to tap the ball in from close range with the last kick of the game to complete a memorable win for Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Michael Carrick’s temporary Manchester United managerial reign got off to a winning start; the Red Devils beat Villarreal 2-0. Despite the result, Carrick’s team was second-best for large periods of the game and needed a catastrophic error from goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli to go ahead.
The Argentinian passed the ball out to Etienne Capoue in a tight space, which allowed Fred to close the Frenchman down. The ball bounced off Capoue and into the path of Cristiano Ronaldo, who lifted it over Rulli and into the net.
Jadon Sancho sealed the win with his first goal in United colors. The ball arrived into Sancho’s feet from Marcus Rashford through Bruno Fernandes, and the England international slammed it into the top corner from just inside the box.