Champions League: The quarter-final matches and the favourites

The draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League football took place on Friday afternoon in Switzerland. 

Manchester United will play Barcelona and Liverpool will play Porto in two of the four quarterfinal match-ups determined at the Champions League draw Friday at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus battle Ajax while Premier League clubs Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur appear in the other two clashes.
The draw also determined the semifinal matchups. The winner of Tottenham and City takes on the winner of Juventus and Ajax. Manchester United or Barcelona will face Liverpool or Porto in the semifinals.

Quarter-final draw

Ajax vs Juventus
Liverpool vs FC Porto
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City
Manchester United vs Barcelona

Ajax vs Juventus

Italian giants Juventus have been drawn against high-flying Ajax in the quarter-finals of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League. The Old Lady famously overcame the Dutch champions in the 1995-96 Champions League final, the last time they won the competition. Ajax have never beaten Juventus in the Champions League in five attempts- their last win against them in the European Cup was in 1973 final. Juventus are unbeaten in nine European matches against Ajax since losing 1-2 in a UEFA Cup match in December 1974. With previous stats, it seems their fairytale will be ended by a Juventus machine that is lead by Cristiano Ronaldo who hit a record hat-trick to eliminate Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.

Liverpool vs FC Porto

Liverpool were drawn against FC Porto in the 2018-19 Champions League quarter-finals. On paper, Liverpool is more favored. But the Reds are to be reminded, not to belittle the opponents. These two teams meet again, after last season they met in the round of 16. At that time, Liverpool got rid of Porto by aggregating five goals without any reply. In the previous round, Liverpool could powerfully get rid of Bayern Munich 3-1 on aggregate. The success was achieved thanks to a 3-1 victory at the Allianz Arena in the second leg. Meanwhile, Porto made a comeback against Roma. Porto lost 1-2 in Rome in the first leg. But Porto managed to escape after winning 3-1 through extra time at the Estadio do Dragao in the second leg.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City

A 10-2 aggregate victory over Schalke have earned Manchester City the quarter tickets. But the Gelsenkirchen side are currently hovering just above the Bundesliga relegation zone and were far from the most challenging opponents they could have faced. Tottenham will provide a sterner challenge in the quarters but, with their strong recent record against Mauricio Pochettino’s side, City will be confident of progression to the semis. But Despite a surprisingly straightforward dismissal of Borussia Dortmund in the last 16, Tottenham face probably the hardest route to the final at first glance. Having lost their only game against Manchester City this season, a 1-0 defeat at Wembley thanks to an early goal from Riyad Mahrez, and won only one of their last five meetings, the omens do not look good for the quarter-finals.

Manchester United vs Barcelona

Manchester United has had mixed performances in the group stages, winning three games and losing two. But a Rashford-inspired United came back from a 2-0 first leg defeat to Pari Saint-Germain to progress. Barcelona is the only unbeaten team left in the competition this season, having won five games and drawn three. Lionel Messi, unsurprisingly, is its top scorer with 8 goals. Barcelona was held to a goalless draw by Lyon in the first leg but the Argentine’s brilliance shone through in the second leg winning the tie 5-1. In this tie, the Red Devils have to find a way to stop Lionel Messi, but that will be just one of many challenges facing caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But for United to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2011, they will have to pull off one of the biggest results in their European history.

Also Read: United edge off PSG

Champions League: Juventus 3-0 Atletico Madrid | Match Report & Talking Points

Champions League: Juventus 3-0 Atletico Madrid | Match Report & Talking Points

Defeated 2-0 in the first leg, Juventus humbled Atletico Madrid 3-0 in the 2nd leg with a hat-trick of Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday night in the knockout stages of the Champions League. 

He came for that, to bring Juventus back to Europe with a bang after such a long wait (last CL won in 1996). It’s not done yet but the Old Lady can still dream of a third Champions League trophy. The flame that diminished after a disappointing first leg, a 2-0 victory for Atletico de Madrid in Wanda Metropolitano, which will host the final.

Juve, historically have failed qualify in the next round of Champions League, after a loss in the first leg, since 2005-2006. But this Tuesday night, in Juventus vs Atletico Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo once again confirmed the hold he have on a team. Winner of four of the last five Champions League with Real Madrid, CR7 knocked down the Madrid outfit with flying colors, and with a hattrick.

The five-time Golden Ball revived the suspense with a first goal in the 27th minute. A second, at the beginning of the second half 49th minute, indicated by the goal line technology put the two teams tied. The Spaniards, pale, tried to resist, at least go into extra time. But a penalty sealed the fate of this confrontation, by a fault (avoidable) of Correa on Bernardeschi. In strength, CR7 did not tremble from the spot to make it 3-0 in the 86th minute.

In the Real Madrid jersey, Ronaldo had already dominated Atletico. Two wins in the Champions League final in 2014 and 2016 and 22 goals in 31 matches in all competitions. Ronaldo even had a hattrick in the last derby at the Vincente Calderon stadium (0-3). And another on May 2, 2017 in the Champions League semi-final first leg (3-0). He added another triplet on Tuesday night, bringing his total to 124 goals (and 40 assists) in 160 games in the Champions League. A record, of course, that he will try to improve in the quarterfinals.

Two major talking points:

Sensational Cristiano

Image Credit: Twitter (Juventus)

The book of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career will be thick. And the Portuguese do not seem to want to write the end. At least not yet. At this hour, no one can even say that the last chapter will be that of the 2018-19 season. And if it needed a title to this ode to football, in Italy moreover, it would certainly be called “maestro”. Against Atletico, Cristiano Ronaldo was exceptional. Juve bought him for that. And he did not miss the opportunity with three goals. Then, a warrior mentality, dribbling as we have not seen for a long time, always judicious movements and an understanding of the trajectories, the situation and the always appropriate context. Welcome to the world of football alien.

A shipwreck for Atletico

Image Credit: Twitter (Atletico Madrid)

They were erected with calculation, and rightly, as a model of grit and collective structure, of surpassing oneself in the organization, and of the sixth sense that is called winning. In Turin, however, they sank. Not getting the slightest chance in the match, except for a Alvaro Morata header in the first period (45 + 2). Muscled, locked, harmless, overwhelmed and sometimes even disillusioned and angry, Atletico’s players never seemed more like a pale copy of what had been their strength in recent years. Griezmann appearing as the symbol of the sinking. The opponent’s plan put the entire edifice under torture. And this Juve seemed insubmersible.

PSG eliminated by Man United, but it’s not new for the Paris-based club!

PSG eliminated by Man United, but it's not new for the Paris-based club!

PSG got eliminated on Wednesday by Manchester United, has written a new chapter in the history of incredible comebacks in the Champions League and, again, they were the victim, as against Barcelona in 2017. 

An air of deja-vu and a shocking scenario, as PSG were knocked out on Wednesday by Manchester United (3-1 on the return) despite their lead (2-0 in the first leg ), again collapsed in the last moments of a crucial match, leaving for the third time in a row the Champions League in the last-16 stage.

“Excuse us, that’s the only word I can find right now, it’s hard to explain, to talk to sad supporters, to our families who are there,” said Captain Thiago Silva after the match. ” It’s unacceptable, we understand the anger of our supporters, again at the same time of the season, we made the same mistakes … It’s unacceptable to do the match we did,” responded Marquinhos. This is a new chapter in the history of incredible leaps in the Champions League, but this kind of heartbreak is not unknown to PSG.

The cruelest: PSG vs Manchester United (2-0, 3-1)

Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had pointed out the day before in the Champions League, “the results are sometimes strange”. He had to believe in the “strange” forces to hope for a feat for Man Utd, with a dozen players injured and Paul Pogba suspended, the “Red Devils” were nothing demonic when going against Paris, who had dominated the first leg ( 2-0).

But now, two errors from Kehrer and Buffon and a double from Lukaku (2nd, 30th) changed the situation. In the 12th minute, Bernat certainly reduced the score from a pass of Mbappe, who was mostly unrecognizable. But in the final seconds, the referee consulted the VAR to give a penalty late in the game from a handball of Kimpembe. PSG lost 3-1 and leave the Champions League for the third time in a row in the round of 16. It’s a nightmare, as Paris is the first team in the history of the Champions League to be eliminated despite a 2-0 away win in the first leg.

“We played the same game, and the same match, win or draw, we were the best team for 180 minutes,” lamented Thomas Tuchel, helpless. “I do not understand how we lost this match,” added PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

The most incredible: Barcelona-PSG (0-4, 6-1)

Against this PSG side, Barcelona produced the most epic comeback in football history in 2017, leaving the world in an absolute shock. Around two years ago, the Catalan club displayed a stunning performance to get past a Paris Saint-Germain side who arrived in the Camp Nou with a strong 4-0 first-leg advantage. Sergi Roberto was the man under the spotlight, scoring the golden goal in the 95th minute, to break PSG heart and turning the football world upside down. Never before has any team in Champions League history been able to overcome a 4-0 deficit, but the Blaugrana went against all odds and created the most tremendous comeback in football that will last for an eternity. After the match, the Camp Nou shook, and the rest of Europe trembled, too

Also Read: PSG – Can money buy you the best?

Sean Cox : Three years of jail to Roma supporter for assaulting

Sean Cox : Three years of jail to Roma supporter for assaulting

Simone Mastrelli assaulted and caused serious body harm to Sean Cox before the Liverpool-Roma match in England in April 2018.

The supporter of AS Roma, Simone Mastrelli, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for assaulting and severely wounding a Liverpool supporter in April 2018, before the Champions League semi-final in England. Mastrelli knocked Mr. Cox unconscious with a single blow to the face.

Image Credit: ANSA

“There is no doubt in my mind that you went as a group to the stadium to take care of Liverpool fans and that in doing so you destroyed the life of an innocent man and his family,” said Judge Mark Brown rendering his decision in the court of Preston, in north-west England. Simone Mastrelli, 30, from Rome, pleaded guilty to assault causing Sean Cox serious harm, at the trial, while the victim’s wife and daughter were watching.

Sean Cox, a 53-year-old Irishman, suffered a serious head injury after being assaulted near the Anfield stadium in Liverpool on 24 April 2018 and is still recovering after spending four and a half weeks in a specialized neurological unit. After the result in Rome which secured their passage to the final, Liverpool players paid tribute to Cox on the pitch as they celebrated.

Image Credit: AFP

In court, her 20-year-old daughter, Shauna Cox, read a statement in front of the abuser. “Before this brutal and vicious attack, my father was a fit and self-confident man, a man of integrity with a great passion for life.This violent and unjustified aggression left my father in a hopeless situation. We do not know how it will evolve and it really scares us. Targeted by a European Arrest Warrant, Simone Mastrelli was arrested in Italy in January before being extradited to England.

Another Roma fan, 21-year-old Filippo Lombardi, was sentenced in October to three years’ imprisonment for disturbing public order in connection with the incident, but was cleared of his involvement in the assault on Sean Cox. A third, 29-year-old Daniele Sciusco, also admitted the violent disturbance to public order and was sentenced to two and a half years of imprisonment.

Image Credit: The Times

Sporadic incidents had erupted in Liverpool’s city center before the Champions League semi-final between the English club and Roma (won by the Reds 5-2), as more than 50,000 supporters came to the stadium, including nearly of 5,000 Roman supporters. In November, Roma announced that they would pay 150,000 euro to the family of Sean Cox.

Also Read: 5 most controversial footballers in PL history

Champions League| Atletico Madrid 2-0 Juventus | Match Report & Talking Points

Champions League| Atletico Madrid 2-0 Juventus | Match Report & Talking Points

In the titanic last-16 stage clash of the Champions League, Atletico Madrid managed to register a 2-0 victory against Juventus at Wanda Metropolitano. 

Atletico Madrid’s two goals were scored by Jose Gimenez on 78th minute and Diego Godin on 83rd minute and now Los Rojiblancos are in a very strong position to qualify for the quarter-finals of Champions League, ahead of the second leg against Juventus at Turin, just three weeks from now.

The hosts looked very angry because they felt cheated by the referee after one penalty chance in the first half was canceled and one Alvaro Morata’s 70th-minute goal was axed by referee Felix Zwayer of Germany. Earlier in the first half, the Madrid side felt they should have been one goal ahead when in the 27th minute the referee pointed to the spot. But after consulting with VAR, he canceled the penalty, pointing to a free kick slightly outside the box. Antoine Griezmann, who had been delighted a moment earlier, looked very annoyed and released a hard kick that flew over the bar.

Diego Simeone’s squad lost everything to Juventus. They lost in the number of passes, losing dominance over the ball, losing the number of attacks, but finally managed to win 2-0 over La Vecchia Signora. 78 minutes from a corner, Alvaro Morata steered a powerful header into the Juventus goal. The ball was blocked by Mario Mandzukic but the wild ball was immediately struck by Jose Gimenez to make it 1-0. Five minutes later Diego Godin added the second goal. From a dead ball by Griezmann, the ball was struck by Godin heading into the net after bouncing first in Cristiano Ronaldo’s body.

Major Talking Points

A typical victory 

It was difficult on Wednesday to put an individual on top of another. There was not much to eat during the 90 minutes. Atletico was not flamboyant, far from it. But the Colchoneros won with two goals away against Juve was certainly very muscular. This performance was born from the very essence of Simeone’s men: a defensive wall with eleven players ready to fight for the jersey. In addition, the team knows how to manage the weak times, and to take advantage of its highlights, even if these were rare on Wednesday, perfect illustration tonight. The goals came from the two central defenders and each time on set pieces is not trivial. Madrid’s faithful to themselves have a foot in quarters.

Diego Costa, Far from his best

Often praised for its warrior spirit, Atletico has sometimes distinguished themselves for being too aggressive or even nervous, and the typical example was Diego Costa. The Spaniard missed everything, in addition of collecting a yellow card that will deprive him of the second leg. He missed the most beautiful opportunity of the game on a face-to-face with Szczesny while he was served wonderfully by Griezmann. In the first half, he made his malice speak to push the referee to whistle for a penalty kick, finally overturned by the VAR and converted into a free kick at the edge of the box. He did not manage to seize the rare situations to distinguish himself, and his ordeal ended when his compatriot, Alvaro Morata, replaced him in the 58th.

Tough job for Old Lady in Turin

Diego Simeone has still not lost a European match against Italian opposition since becoming Atletico coach, winning five and drawing twice. Equally ominous for Juve is that the Bianconeri have been eliminated in all five UEFA ties in which they lost the first leg 2-0 away from home. As for Ronaldo, he had seven shots against his old rivals, but only one on target – a wonderful long-range free-kick well saved by Oblak. And in three weeks’ time at the Allianz Stadium, Juventus need him to put in one of his greatest Champions League performances if they are going to pull one of Europe’s top defenses.

Also Read: Talking points of MUN 0-3 PSG

Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich | UCL – Match Report & Talking Points


The much-anticipated Champions League knockout tie of Liverpool against Bayern Munich failed to live up to expectations and a goalless draw leaves Jurgen Klopp’s side with plenty to do in Munich next month. 

The beautiful poster looked promising but in the end, it gave birth to a dull enough dull and will leave regrets to Liverpool. The men of Klopp indeed largely dominated a Bayern more occupied to defend but will be able to plague against all their missed opportunities. It is a waste that benefits the Bavarians, solid end to end if not attractive. First thwarted, as evidenced by two errors of Matip that were almost expensive (13th, 17th minute), the Reds have embarrassed Bayern by their vertical play and the mobility of their attackers.

Mohamed Salah created the first opportunity following a long ball from Jordan Henderson between the two central Munich but the tip of the foot of the Egyptian did not allow him to beat Manuel Neuer. In the wake, Bayern Munich responded. Alisson was happy to reject a center strongly opposed by Joel Matip, a few minutes later. Joel Matip also misses the opportunity to put the Reds in a favorable position just before half-time, after a combination between Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

The twenty-two footballers put much less intensity in the second period. Liverpool had possession of the ball but failed to create chances. The defense of Bayern Munich was better than the first half. As a proof, the first shot of Liverpool in this second period that came in the 82nd minute, from a long range from Joel Matip. Bayern Munich did the right thing in the first leg by holding the 0-0 away tie and will have the advantage to progress after receiving the second leg at home.

Major Talking points

A peculiar mediocre match

Liverpool as expected a lot of fireworks were expected between these two European giants. Two historic clubs, stars, a legendary stadium, a perfect pitch…In short, there was everything to offer a great football game. Unfortunately for the show, both teams delivered a very disappointing performance. The technical waste was amazing. However, both teams had the intention of bringing the ball back to the front from behind. But for the likes of Neuer and Alisson, the actions were not up to the ideas. The away goal rule certainly played in the cautious approach in the match by Jurgen Klopp’s men. And in front, Bayern Munich was cruelly lacking in creativity. It was a draw, a real one.

Fabinho, The boss

Image Credit: Twitter (Liverpool)

It seems so far back when Fabinho was little used by Jurgen Klopp. Recruited at a huge price (50 million euros), the coach took time before joining the Brazilian in his team type. Like an old story, Fabinho has become an indispensable part of the Reds. As an army knife, this time he repaired the central defense to overcome the absences of Gomez, Lovren and Van Dijk. Aligned in the left corner of the hinge alongside Joel Matip, Fabinho behaved as a boss in this game. Impeccable in the revival, perfect in playing the game, the Brazilian won the majority of his duels against Robert Lewandowski, considered of the best center forward in the world. He is a rock, and definitely essential.

Also Read: Best signing of Klopp at Liverpool?

Liverpool will still fancy their chances in Munich

Liverpool are undefeated in their previous four trips to Germany, two wins and two draws, although Jurgen Klopp, in particular, knows that a visit to Munich is one of the toughest jobs in European football, and only Real Madrid have beaten the Bavarians on home turf in the last two seasons. With this record in German soil, Niko Kovac’s men will be confident of progress in front of their own fans, even against a Liverpool side that scored nine goals on their knockout term last season.

UEFA Champions League: Round of 16 – Round Up

UEFA Champions League: Round of 16 - Round Up

UEFA Champions League Round of 16’s first four matches came to a conclusion on Wednesday and all lived up to agreeable expectations.

On Tuesday, Roma were quite efficient in their 2-1 win over Porto, while Manchester United were humiliated 2-0 in front of their own fans by a Neymar-Cavani less PSG. Wednesday saw a rampant Tottenham Hotspur in their 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund, while Real Madrid left it late to beat Ajax 1-0 at Amsterdam. Here’s a full round-up of the action.

Manchester United 0-2 PSG

English giants Manchester United were given a reality check by Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night, with the French side securing an impressive 2-0 win at Old Trafford in the Champions League round of 16. This loss was the first of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as interim manager, with his previous 11 matches resulting in 10 wins and a draw.

After a well-contested first half, despite missing both Edinson Cavani and Neymar, the visitors were clinical with two quick-fire goals; first Presnel Kimpembe turned home at the far post from an Angel Di Maria corner 53rd minute, before Kylian Mbappe finished off from another Di Maria assist 60th minute giving United a huge task to overcome. It would have been more but for some fine goalkeeping from David de Gea, but matters were made worse when Paul Pogba was dismissed late on for a second yellow card, meaning he will miss the second leg.

What’s next in the 2nd leg?

Manchester United and their interim manager are no strangers to dramatic comebacks. But the Red Devils have never overturned a first-leg home defeat to win a tie in Europe. Furthermore, Paris have not lost a UEFA Champions League home game since last year, when they were already trailing Real Madrid 3-1 from the first leg. It was very much a Paris affair in Old Trafford in the 1st leg this time around, and with Paul Pogba suspended, it will be very much difficult for United to overturn the deficit on 7th March.

Roma 2-1 Porto

Two goals from teenager Nicolo Zaniolo earned Roma a valuable 2-1 win against Porto in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday. The 19-year-old continued his superb breakthrough season by finding the net twice in six second-half minutes. In doing so he became the youngest Italian to score two goals in a Champions League match.

The opening goal came after Edin Dzeko knocked down Stephan El Shaarawy’s cross for Nicolo Zaniolo to drill past Iker Casillas and into the far bottom corner. The teenager doubled his tally by tapping in the rebound after Dzeko’s shot came off the left post. For Porto, Adrian Lopez, who had entered the field eight minutes before scoring, after replacing the Algerian Yacine Brahimi, finished with a cross-shot inside the area, after receiving the ball from Brazilian Tiquinho Soares.

What’s next in the 2nd leg?

As things stand now, this tie could hardly be more balanced heading to Portugal. In all the previous European Cup/UEFA Champions League knockout ties that the home side have won 2-1 in the first leg, 90 have gone through while 89 have been eliminated in the return. Roma contributed to those numbers at this stage last season, losing 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk before winning the second leg 1-0. The lead for Rome side is quite slender, so on 7th March, there is immense hope and calculation for Porto.

Ajax Amsterdam 1-2 Real Madrid

Spanish giants Real Madrid struck late in the second half to secure a 2-1 win over Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday. Real, winner of the last three Champions Leagues, recovered in the second half after being outplayed by underdog Ajax before the break at a packed Johan Cruyff Arena, when the hosts had a goal disallowed by VAR.

It was Karim Benzema, who struck a powerful shot past Andre Onana on the hour after a strong run from the left by Vinicius Junior to put the 13-time European champion ahead. Ajax were level with 15 minutes remaining as Neres broke free down the left before cutting the ball back for Ziyech, who slotted into the bottom corner. In the end, Real showed the pedigree of champions and struck in the final minutes through Asensio. Dani Carvajal received a ball down the right and swung a pass across that Asensio latched onto with his left foot end redirected into goal for the 1-2 final, giving Real a healthy advantage going into the return leg early next month.

What’s next in the 2nd leg?

Real Madrid will be strong favorites against Ajax to finish the job when they again face-off on 6th March, for the second leg, despite being outplayed for much of this first leg. The Santiago Bernabeu is a difficult place to go but, as CSKA Moscow demonstrated a couple of months ago, not impenetrable. So, though Santiago Solari’s side are favorites to march on in the premier competition, there is still a slender hope for the high-flying Dutch outfit.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Borussia Dortmund

Tottenham Hotspurs took a huge step towards the Champions League quarter-finals with an awesome display to comfortably thrash Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in a well-earned 3-0 victory in arguably the club’s greatest night at Wembley. Second-half strikes from Heung-Min Son, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente meant the hosts had one foot in the last eight after a masterclass in management from Mauricio Pochettino inspired Spurs to a historic win.

Spurs were on fire after the first half, and Son Heung-min broke the deadlock two minutes after the interval with a side-foot volley from Jan Vertonghen’s cross. Dortmund, regarded by many as favorites with Spurs missing injured talisman Harry Kane as well as Dele Alli, failed to respond and the home side rammed home their superiority in the last 10 minutes. The outstanding Vertonghen slid in on Serge Aurier’s delivery and substitute Fernando Llorente headed in Christian Eriksen’s near-post corner, with Spurs also keeping a clean sheet to enhance their chance of progressing.

What’s next in the 2nd leg?

Tottenham have lost only once in their last five visits to Germany, although that defeat came at Dortmund in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg (0-3). Moreover, the London club have only twice lost a UEFA-competition tie after having won the home first leg, and both of those home victories had been by a single-goal margin. Dortmund, meanwhile, have won nine of the 16 ties in which they lost away in the first game and will have it all to do on 6th March, but to win with a 4-goal margin, seems like a pretty difficult job.

Champions League Last-16: Tottenham 3-0 Dortmund – Match Report and Talking Points

Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Borussia Dortmund

Premier League outfit, Tottenham Hotspur, took a gigantic step towards qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals with an emphatic 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday night.

Heung-Min Son opened the scoring for the Wembley outfit in the 47th minute, before two late goals in quick succession from Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente sealed an astounding win for Tottenham Hotspur, beating Borussia Dortmund 3 – 0.

Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund have been two of the most exciting teams in Europe this season, and last night, once again, their exuberance showed on the pitch. From the first minute, the two sides looked ready to pounce, determined to punish each and every slip-up. The first real opportunity of the night fell to Tottenham’s Lucas Moura, who failed to keep his volleyed effort on target. As expected, the Bundesliga leaders hit back, with Christian Pulisic forcing Hugo Lloris into action just minutes after Moura’s attempt.

Both keepers were once again called into action before the half-time whistle, as Son’s adventurous effort forced a fine save out of Roman Burki, while Lloris had to showcase his cat-like reflexes to deny Dan Axel Zagadou’s well-timed header from point-blank range.

The two teams came out all guns blazing in the second half, looking desperate to draw first blood. Thankfully for the home supporters, it was Spurs who turned out to be more clinical of the two. Son — who had been absolutely splendid on the night — volleyed home a peach of a delivery from left wing-back Jan Vertonghen to give Tottenham the lead. The goal just two minutes into the second half rattled the visitors, forcing them to fall back and regroup.

Dortmund tried their best to come back but were dealt a sucker punched in the 83rd minute when an inspired Vertonghen doubled the hosts’ advantage. If Vertonghen’s goal wasn’t bad enough, the German side conceded another, just four minutes later, through substitute Fernando Llorente’s glancing header inside the far post.



Dortmund’s First-Half Supremacy

Considering their position in the Bundesliga table, Dortmund, quite naturally, came into the tie as favorites. With Marco Reus and Lukasz Piszczek ruled out, their trip to London was never meant to be straight-forward, but no one really expected them to be beaten so comprehensively.

The first forty-five showcased Borussia Dortmund’s attacking prowess, as they were making constant inroads into the Tottenham area. Jadon Sancho did his best to fill in for Reus but failed to apply the finishing touch. Lucien Favre’s side weren’t that poor on the night, but their finishing, most definitely, didn’t justify their potential.

Tottenham Show their Class

For a team that didn’t spend a single dime in the last two transfer windows, Tottenham have fared quite well this season. Last night, they needed to be at their best to fend off Dortmund, and it’s safe to say that the boys in white did enough to make their coach proud.

After tackling Dortmund’s relentlessness in the first half, Spurs took the game to the visitors. Their passing and movement were already commendable, and they only needed to add the finishing touch into the mix. Son’s opener just a couple of minutes into the second half took the wind out of Dortmund’s sails, while Vertonghen and Llorente’s double virtually knocked them out of the contest.

A Mountain to Climb in the Second Leg

Borussia Dortmund were outplayed and outclassed by a relentless Tottenham side on Wednesday night. The Germans are now without a win in their last four games in all competitions and need a to turn things around before the second leg.

Tottenham, even without Harry Kane and Dele Alli, handed the Bundesliga leaders a comprehensive beating. And if Dortmund aren’t careful enough, the situation could get a lot worse in the return leg.

Man United vs PSG | UEFA Champions League Round of 16 – 3 Talking Points

Man United vs PSG | UEFA Champions League Round of 16 - 3 Talking Points

PSG got two crucial away goals in their 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg.

PSG drew first blood in their Round of 16 first leg clash against Man United at Old Trafford. The Parisians came out on top with a 2-0 scoreline and despite their injury concerns Thomas Tuchel’s side proved to be too much for an in-form Manchester United here are 3 talking points from last night’s game. 

1. Angel Di Maria makes an impactful return at Old Trafford

The former Man United player was absolutely sensational against his former Club and marked his return at Old Trafford with 2 assists. The Argentine was a genuine threat at all times and did more than just be a creative outlet for the Parisians. He instigated the United fans after apparently swearing at them and picked up a beer bottle thrown at the touchline. Di Maria mocked the fans by pretending to drink the beer and yelled “HIJO DE PUTA” a Spanish slur that translates to “MotherFu***r”. Furthermore Ashley Young deliberately pushed his ex-teammate onto the sidelines but following his assists to Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe, it’s safe to say that Di Maria had the last laugh.

2. Paul Pogba gets sent off, David De Gea avoids goal riot

Paul Pogba had stepped up for Man United post-Jose Mourinho’s sacking and the fans were expecting him to step up for arguably their biggest game of the Season yet and Pogba did the exact opposite of that. He bottled it. After being a huge protagonist in Manchester United’s resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but Pogba failed to do that and was taken off following a second yellow in the 89th Minute and put in a very underwhelming performance. The only saving grace for United was their Goalkeeper David De Gea who made a couple of crucial saves including a one-on-one chance keeping Mbappe from scoring a double.

3. Weak PSG too good for in-form Manchester United

PSG brought a weakened team to Old Trafford with Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier sidelined with Injury. Manchester United were expected to have the upper hand but the likes of Julian Draxler, Di Maria, and Kylian Mbappe really stepped up. Manchester United probably lost their best chance of getting a result against the Ligue 1 Champions. Getting 2 goals at the Parc Des Princes will be immensely difficult and Manchester United will need to put in the performance of their life to come back from this one

PSG hammering, a reality check for Ole and United

PSG hammering, a reality check for Ole and United

PSG, thanks to goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe, beat Manchester United (2-0) at Old Trafford, in the first leg of the Champions League on Tuesday, and took a major step towards the quarterfinals. 

Though there was no Cavani and Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain faced little problem and took a big step towards the quarter-finals. This Tuesday, the capital club took the best of Manchester United at Old Trafford in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League. This is the first victory of a French team on the turf of MU! This success in the away leg allows Paris to take a serious option for qualification towards the quarters, before the return leg at Parc des Princes on March 6th. Without Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria was the great architect of this victory.

A very competitive first period

After a minute of applause in honor of Emiliano Sala, the opening match was balanced and Di Maria, whistled by his former fans, created the first goal-bound situation of the match with a shot, not on-target. A few minutes later, the English club reacted with Paul Pogba with Gianluigi Buffon to the rescue. As Mbappe was invisible, PSG was struggling to be dangerous and chained clumsiness in the game in front of a furious Tuchel! At the half-hour mark, Mbappe finally woke up but lost his duel against De Gea.

Also Read: Lesser known facts about Mbappe

Second half, Man Utd tormented

Tired of making efforts in the first act to contain Mbappe, the English rearguard failed to hold out long after returning from the locker room. In the 53rd minute, Dani Alves addressed his center on the head of the French who found the gloves of David De Gea. On the corner that followed, it was Presnel Kimpembe who opened the scoring, Kylian Mbappe also ended by breaking the lock seven minutes later. After a very fast delivery, Angel Di Maria was thrown to the left of the attack. His low center found Mbappe. The call of the Frenchman, who deposed Lindelof, allowed him to be alone with De Gea. His deviation left no chance to the Spanish goalkeeper (0-2, 60th minute). The fourteenth goal of his career in the Champions League, and seventh in the knockout phase.

Solskjaer cracked, a reality check

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It is the first crack in the Solskjaer era, that so far had worked so well. The Norwegian technician focused on the guaranteed formula with the trio Lingard-Martial-Rashford, the three responsible for giving the frantic pressing that in the first few minutes and did send Tuchel defensive. Expecting a particularly aggressive United, he preferred to provide a median, sturdy with the Verratti-Marquinhos combination, leaving the newcomer Paredes on the bench. In addition to the sustained pace that the Old Trafford audience appreciated, the challenge also played on the nerves of the Norwegian boss. In the second half, as the scenario changed. As United went on hiding, PSG took control in Old Trafford and took the game to their opponents, where the interim one failed miserably.

Pogba bottled by Marquinhos

The duel that particularly marked this meeting was the one between Marquinhos and Paul Pogba. Long marked individually by his direct opponent, the French world champion did not have the leisure to express himself, as usual, his natural composure affected, the worst in the middle of the pitch for United and proving it. Worse, he cracked at the end of the game, being sent-off (89th) after a second foul on Daniel Alves. The first was made, as a symbol, on a long-time elusive Marco Verratti, who finished the match after his 75th-minute finish, touched the ball 87 times and 94% of passes. The Italian was able to juggle between defensive tasks, like a precious tackle on Martial just before the break.

United squad, out of depth

Manchester United had been second best for most of the night and looked to be out of their depth against what was a weakened PSG side. Confident and imposing in the Premier League, United suddenly looked hesitant and confused as they shrunk against an elite European side. Throughout the night, United could not trouble Paris Saint-Germain and were unable to create a single chance that threatened Gianluigi Buffon. It shouldn’t be overlooked that United were dealt some terrible luck with both Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard sustaining injuries in the first half and failing to return after the interval. Along with Marcus Rashford, United’s success over the last two months has been built on the pace and movement of this pair, and they simply didn’t look the same side in attack without them. Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata were their replacements but struggled to make an impact on the night.