UCL Round up | AS Roma thrash Chelsea 3-0 as Olympiakos frustrates Barcelona to a goalless draw

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UCL Round up | AS Roma thrash Chelsea 3-0 as Olympiakos frustrates Barcelona to a goalless draw

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SportsCafe Desk

11/01/2017

Italian giants AS Roma gave the perfect Halloween gift to Chelsea as Eusebio di Francesco’s men hit three past the Blues’ struggling defence to reach the top of Group C. Barcelona were frustrated by Greek champions Olympiakos, who managed to keep the Catalans at bay ending the game with a 0-0 draw.

AS Roma 3-0 Chelsea

Defending Premier League champions, Chelsea, have been uncharacteristically conceding goals of late - both in the domestic and international league. And Tuesday was no different as AS Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy found scoring way too easy burying two in the first-half itself.

A win would have guaranteed Chelsea a berth in the last-16, but Shaarawy’s first-half brace changed things significantly in Group C. The former AC Milan striker took as little as 39 seconds to open his account from an Edin Dzeko back-head assist with a fierce strike.

His second could be credited to Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger who failed to read a lofted ball by Radja Nainngolan. And with just the goalie and Marcos Alonso to beat, who were both out of position and reach, Shaarawy made no mistake in nipping the ball past them.

Chelsea got few chances to get back into the game but both Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard saw chances go begging. Roma took advantage of Chelsea’s callousness in the second-half when experienced full-back Diego Perotti wrapped things up with a majestic low strike past Thibaut Courtois in the 63 minute.

Chelsea sit second in the group stage and will still have to face La Liga’s Atletico Madrid and Qarabag to guarantee a qualification.  

Olympiakos 0-0 Barcelona

Barcelona, like Chelsea, looked destined to progress on Tuesday as they travelled to Greek side Olympiakos Piraeus, who were not only the weaker side on paper but are also struggling in their domestic league of late.

However, Ernesto Valverde’s in-form Barca team were surprisingly frustrated by the hosts who let the Catalans have the lion’s share of possession and were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure. Goalkeeper Silvio Proto was impenetrable under the bar with the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez failing all bowing down in the end.

Though Messi and Suarez were not at their clinical best, the Belgian custodian was forced to make several fine saves, especially in the first half, to keep his side in the game till the very end. The draw keeps Barcelona at the top of Group D, who have extended their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 15 matches, winning 13 and drawing two.

Manchester United 2-0 Benfica

Manchester United secured a place in the round of 16 with a 2-0 win over Liga NOS defending champions Benfica. Unlike Chelsea, United have been drawn into a relatively easier group and Jose Mourinho made sure his men made the most of it.

Things started on the wrong foot for the Portuguese side as young goalkeeper Mile Svilar conceded an unfortunate own goal at the end of the first half. Svilar was also guilty of a goalkeeping howler in Lisbon two weeks back, when he carried Marcus Rashford's free-kick over the line. However, he started things positively at Old Trafford by saving Anthony Martial’s penalty in the 15 minute.

Though Svilar med some good saves following the own goal in the first-half, Benfica conceded a penalty yet again and Daley Blind converted from the spot with 13 minutes left, to put United six points clear of FC Basel and CSKA Moscow at the top of the Group A.

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