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.

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