Champions League: Ronaldo double at Barcelona snatches top spot for Juve

Champions League: Ronaldo double at Barcelona snatches top spot for Juve

Two Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalties fired Juventus to a stunning 3-0 win at Barcelona which earned them top spot in Champions League Group G. The striker won his battle against Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou as Juve leapfrogged the home side.

Weston McKennie also scored early as Juventus got the three-goal win they needed to pip their opponents to first place. Messi drew a blank, meaning he is still two short of Pelé’s goal record for a single club and remains stuck on 641.

Juventus struck first after 13 minutes, when Ronaldo earned a controversial spot-kick. The forward tangled with Ronald Araújo, with the pair tumbling in the area, and, despite Barça’s anger, the referee awarded a penalty. Ronaldo fired it down the middle, scoring for the first time in a Champions League game against a team featuring Messi.

The visitors doubled their lead seven minutes later when McKennie volleyed in Juan Cuadrado’s cross from six yards after Aaron Ramsey’s bustling run.

Messi was denied by Gianluigi Buffon a minute later and twice fired at the goalkeeper before the interval as Barça tried to find a way back. But Ronaldo struck again six minutes into the second period when he scored another penalty. The referee needed to check his monitor during a VAR review after Clément Lenglet handled in the area before awarding the spot-kick and Ronaldo sent Marc-André ter Stegen the wrong way.

Antoine Griezmann’s header hit the bar five minutes later and Buffon continued to frustrate Messi before Griezmann volleyed wide at the far post. The visitors thought they had a fourth with 15 minutes left but Leonardo Bonucci’s effort was ruled out for offside after he bundled in Ronaldo’s knockdown.

Barcelona’s 25-match unbeaten run in the Champions League group stage was over – a sequence going back to 2016 – and Buffon stopped Messi grabbing a late consolation with a fine low save.

Elsewhere in the group, Dynamo Kiev beat Ferencvaros 1-0 thanks to Denys Popov’s goal as they clinched third spot.

In Group E, which also includes Chelsea, Jules Koundé added to Youssef En-Nesyri’s double as Sevilla won 3-1 at Rennes.

In Group F, Lazio qualified for the last 16 for the first time since 1999 after drawing 2-2 with Club Brugge. Joaquín Correa gave the home side the lead before Ruud Vormer levelled only for Ciro Immobile’s penalty to restore Lazio’s advantage. Eduard Sobol was sent off in the first half for the visitimng side but Hans Vanaken’s late header earned them a point. Brugge will go into the Europa League after finishing third, two points behind Lazio.

Lukasz Piszczek and Axel Witsel struck in the second half as the group winners Borussia Dortmund recovered from 1-0 down to win 2-1 at Zenit St Petersburg after Sebastián Driussi gave the home side the lead.