Barcelona, Manchester United post dramatic Champions League wins
MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United produced a stirring comeback from conceding two early goals to beat Braga 3-2 on Tuesday, moving the English team to the brink of qualification for the Champions League knockout stage.
Mexico striker Javier Hernandez started and completed United's rescue act, with his winner coming in the 75th minute following wave after wave of attacks from the home side.
Braga forward Alan scored twice in the opening 20 minutes to silence Old Trafford and maintain United's poor defensive record this season.
Hernandez cut the deficit in the 25th and Jonny Evans equalized in the 62nd before United's third straight Group H win was secured when Hernandez headed home from Tom Cleverley's cross.
One more victory will seal United's passage out of the group stage.
Barcelona 2, Celtic 1
BARCELONA, Spain — Jordi Alba scored in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time for Barcelona to come from behind to beat Celtic 2-1 in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday.
Alba glanced Adriano's curling pass into the box to deflect the ball beyond goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who starred throughout the match and made brilliant saves to deny Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez in the dying moments.
Celtic scored first at the Camp Nou stadium through Giorgos Samaras' 18th-minute header that deflected into the net off Barcelona's Javier Mascherano.
The Spanish club equalized when Andres Iniesta finished a slick combination with Xavi Hernandez to score his first goal of the season in the 45th.
Barcelona remains perfect in Group G with nine points from three games, while Celtic has four points.
Shakhtar Donesk 2, Chelsea 1
DONETSK, Ukraine — Alex Teixeira scored in the first half and Fernandinho doubled the lead early in the second to give Shakhtar Donetsk the victory over defending champion Chelsea.
Teixeira gave Shakhtar an early lead, scoring from the right just three minutes into the game. Fernandinho scored with a low right-footed shot into the far left corner past a diving Petr Cech in the 52nd minute.
Branislav Ivanovic narrowed the gap two minutes from time.
The victory put Shakhtar at the top of the Group E standings with seven points. Chelsea, which suffered its first defeat since losing 3-1 to Napoli in the first leg of the knockout stage in March, has four points in second place.
The two teams will next play in London in two weeks.
Bayern Munich 1, Lille 0
LILLE, France — Thomas Mueller scored a first-half penalty as last season's runner-up Bayern Munich hit back from a shock loss in its preceding Champions League match to win 1-0 at Lille.
Bayern has been in unstoppable form in the Bundesliga, notching eight straight wins, but a surprise 3-1 loss to BATE Borisov three weeks ago had put it under pressure.
Just as Lille was settling, Lucas Digne gave away a penalty for a foul on Philipp Lahm, although the decision appeared harsh. Mueller sent goalkeeper Mickael Landreau the wrong way from the spot for his third goal in two games and eighth of the season.
Bayern has six points in Group F, while Lille has lost all three matches and is nearing another early exit — just like last season.
Nordsjaelland 1, Juventus 1
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Mikkel Beckmann scored for Nordsjaelland early in the second half as the Danish side held on for a 1-1 draw in Tuesday's Champions League Group E game.
Mirko Vucini equalized for Juventus in the 81st minute but the visitors failed to find a winner. The Italian champions were the more adventurous of the sides with efforts from Sebastian Giovinco, Alessandro Matri and Arturo Vidal all coming close, but Nordsjaelland held firm.
Beckmann struck in the 50th on a free kick from just outside the box with his right foot. The ball curled over the wall and past Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Juventus increased the pressure but Nordsjaelland goalkeeper Jesper Hansen was equal to the task and held the Italians at bay.
Galatasaray 1, CFR Cluj 1
ISTANBUL, Turkey — Burak Yilmaz scored a late equalizer following an own goal, to give Galatasaray a 1-1 draw with CFR Cluj.
Yilmaz's 77th-minute strike gave Galatasaray its first goal and first point in the competition.
The visitors had three attempts on goal within the first three minutes of the game but it was a shot by Pantelis Kapetanos in the 19th that hit Galatasaray's Dany Nounkeu and rebounded into the net to put Cluj ahead.
The second half featured relentless pressure from Galatasaray that paid off when Burak headed home from a cross by Amrabat.
The game was played on a rain-soaked pitch that hampered both sides' ability to control the ball and forced them to abandon their short-passing game.
Valencia 3, BATE Borisov 0
MINSK, Belarus — Roberto Soldado's hat trick kept alive the Spanish club's hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stage.
BATE looked nothing like the team that beat last season's finalist Bayern Munich 3-1 at the same venue of Dinamo Stadium in the previous round of matches.
Soldado opened the scoring with a penalty in first-half stoppage time.
Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves made crucial second-half stops, including in the 55th that preceded a counterattack in which Soldado scored with a volley from Andres Guardado's long-range pass.
The Spain striker sealed the win in the 69th after finishing a neat 1-2 with teammate Tino Costa.
Valencia and BATE both have six points from three games in Group F.
Spartak Moscow 2, Benfica 1
MOSCOW — Spartak Moscow won its first Champions League match this season Tuesday by beating Benfica due to a first-half own goal by Jardel.
Rafael Carioca gave Spartak a 1-0 lead in the third minute after overlapping down the left and receiving a clever pass from Jurado before poking the ball into the net.
Benfica went close for the first time when Rodrigo forced third-choice Spartak goalkeeper Artyom Rebrov to punch his left-footed drive over the crossbar in the 14th minute.
Benfica equalized in the 33rd minute through an unmarked header from Lima at the near post following Eduardo Salvio's swerving cross. It was the Portuguese club's first goal in the competition this season.
Spartak took the lead again when Benfica defender Jardel tried to intercept Yevgeny Makeev's pass to Ari in the box but turned the ball into his own net in the 43rd.
Spartak has three points in Group G to sit third, while Benfica is last with one.