UCL REWIND: Weston McKennie Scores Stunning Goal for Juventus in Win Against BarcelonaMcKennie scored second goal in as many matches for Italian giants on Tuesday
The Barcelona-Juventus clash on Tuesday night was billed as a rare confrontation between the top two goal-scorers of the UEFA Champions League, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
As it turned out, the "undercard" of the match proved to be just as interesting, if not more, to many U.S. Men's National Team supporters and especially Weston McKennie fans.
In a rare meeting between USMNT teammates in the competition, McKennie, a midfielder, faced Barca defender and USMNT teammate Sergiño Dest.
McKennie and his teammates prevailed. He scored his first Champions League goal and second in as many matches for Juve (5-1-0, 15 points) as the Italian side prevailed in a 3-0 victory to finish atop Group G on Matchday Six.
Ronaldo recorded two penalty kicks as he added to his UCL career goal lead (135) and improved his personal UCL record to 2-2-2 against his Argentine rival. Messi, who endured a frustrating game, remained at 118 goals. The two rivals have met 36 times across all competitions.
This is one of those highlights you're not gonna forget.@WMckennie CAN FLY! 🇺🇸🦅— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) December 8, 2020
Check out his first @ChampionsLeague goal for @juventusfcen!
After the Portuguese great converted a penalty in the 13th minute, McKennie grabbed the spotlight, scoring a spectacular goal that was named goal of the day by The Golazo Show on CBS Sports Network.
Six yards in front of the net, the 22-year-old midfielder volleyed home Juan Cuadrado's cross from the right past goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen to lift Juve to a two-goal margin in the 20th minute.
It was McKennie's second goal within a 33-minute span after coming off the bench to connect for the equalizer in a 2-1 derby win against Torino on Saturday.
On Tuesday, an ecstatic McKennie celebrated his UCL goal by bolting toward a TV camera and kissing it.
HT: Barcelona 0-2 Juventus— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 8, 2020
Juventus lead at the break after a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty followed by a Weston McKennie strike.#UCL LIVE 👉 https://t.co/ziNAEDe70M#bbcfootball pic.twitter.com/xk1BERp7ak
He enjoyed an active game and wound up in the middle of the action, setting up Ronaldo for a scoring opportunity in the eighth minute. Ronaldo's 17-yard strike, however, was saved by ter Stegen. While battling for the ball in the box in the 49th minute, McKennie's man, Clement Lenglet, was called for a handball. That allowed Ronaldo to put home his second penalty three minutes later.
While overlapping, Dest attempted a few crosses from the right flank, but either his timing was off or his Barca teammates were not prepared for his feeds.
McKennie and Dest recently played together in the USA's two European friendlies in Europe, a scoreless draw at Wales on Nov. 12 and a 62 victory over Panama in Austria on Nov. 16.
In other matches involving USMNT players:
Gio Reyna's reputation as an attacking force precedes itself, but it was the midfielder's defensive contribution that helped Borussia Dortmund (4-1-1, 13) record a 2-1 win over last-place Zenit St. Petersburg (0-5-1, 1) to secure the Group F crown.
After replacing Julian Brandt in the 58th minute, the 18-year-old Reyna denied Sardar Azmoun a chance in front of the Dortmund goal, clearing the ball out of harm's way in the 82nd minute. The match marked his eighth UCL appearance, equaling the total of his father, former USMNT captain Claudio Reyna who played in the competition with Scottish giants Rangers. Dortmund overcame a one-goal deficit with a pair of second-half goals.
Tyler Adams came on for midfielder Kevin Kampl in the 75th minute to help RB Leipzig close out its 3-2 win against visiting Manchester United in Group H action to reach the next round. Leipzig (4-2-0, 12) needed a win to advance, while third-place United (3-3-0, 9) will move on to the Europa League.
In another Group F encounter, goalkeeper Ethan Horvath was in the 18 but did not play for Club Brugge in its 2-2 draw at Lazio (2-0-4, 10). Brugge (2-2-2, 8) finished third in the group, but qualified for the Europa League.
In a rare 90 minutes on the bench, Group E winner Christian Pulisic never got into Chelsea's 1-1 home draw with Krasnodar. The Blues (4-0-2, 14) already booked a spot in the knockout round while Krasnodar (1-3-2, 5) will go on to compete in the Europa League.
A busy Champions League matchday carries over into Wednesday, which will see USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen make his debut in the competition as Manchester City takes on Olympique Marseille in Group C action (3 p.m. ET; TUDNxtra, CBS All Access).