United & Chelsea make the Champions League knockouts
Barcelona still needs a mountain to climb in its final game against group leader Bayern
Energised by a change of manager and another opportunistic finish by Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League with a game to spare.
United was led for the first time by Michael Carrick following the weekend firing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and, just like his predecessor, the interim manager was thankful for a goal by the Champions League’s record scorer.
Ronaldo produced a sublime lobbed finish to put United ahead against Villarreal on Tuesday and a 90th-minute strike by Jadon Sancho sealed a 2-0 win to secure progress as the winner of Group F.
Another English team, defending champion Chelsea, also advanced on the back of a 4-0 win over already-qualified Juventus.
Chelsea and Juventus are tied on 12 points with a game left to play.
Barcelona, now coached by former star midfielder Xavi Hernandez, has advanced from its group every season for almost two decades but a 0-0 draw at home to Benfica means the Spanish club might need to beat Bayern Munich in the final round of games to advance.
If Barca fails to beat Bayern away, Benfica could overtake the Spanish club with a win at home to already-eliminated Dynamo Kyiv. If they finish tied on points, Benfica would advance courtesy of their head-to-head record.
The results: Group E: Dynamo Kiev 1 (Garmash 70) lost to Bayern Munich 2 (Lewandowski 14, Coman 42); Barcelona 0 drew with Benfica 0.
Group F: Villarreal 0 lost to Manchester United 2 (Ronaldo 78, Sancho 90); Young Boys 3 (Siebatcheu 39, Sierro 80, Hefti 84) drew with Atalanta 3 (Zapata 10, Palomino 51, Muriel 88).
Group G: Lille 1 (David 31) bt Salzburg 0; Sevilla 2 (Jordan 13, Mir 90+7) bt Wolfsburg 0.
Group H: Chelsea 4 (Chalobah 25, James 56, Hudson-Odoi 58, Werner 90+5) bt Juventus 0; Malmo 1 (Rieks 28) lost to Zenit Saint Petersburg 1 (Rakitsky 90+2-pen).