Champions League Round of 16 Highlights
The Champions League Round of 16 has come to a close, and what a thrilling ride it’s been! Over the past few weeks, some of Europe's best football teams have battled it out in the knockout stage of the competition, all fighting for a coveted spot in the quarterfinals. From last-minute comebacks to unfortunate upsets, this round has been filled with drama and excitement that has left fans on the edge of their seats. For a quick recap on some of the best action and results, keep reading!
Fixture: Paris Saint Germain vs Bayern Munich
First Leg: PSG 0-1 Bayern
Second Leg: Bayern 2-0 PSG
Paris Saint-Germain has been knocked out and Bayern Munich is off to the quarterfinals! In the first leg, Neymar, Messi, and Mbappe all came up empty, but former PSG star Kingsley Coman now haunts his former club after scoring Bayern’s only goal in the first leg. In the second leg, PSG controlled the first half of the game, but Bayern later proved why they’re Champions League favorites. Subbing in Sadio Mane, Leroy Sanne, Cancelo, and Gnabry in the second half gave Bayern the talent they needed to score the 2 winning goals – including Gnabry’s goal in the 90th minute. Bayern’s defenders were a wall against PSG’s star forwards, and kept them shackled no matter how hard they tried.
Fixture: Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund
First Leg: Dortmund 1-0 Chelsea
Second Leg: Chelsea 2-0 Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League journey ended with a 2-0 loss against Chelsea. Chelsea overturned their 0-1 defeat with goals by Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz, digging Chelsea out of a tough period of progression. Before the second leg, Havertz had failed to score in all eight of his appearances versus Dortmund, which is his worst record against any club over his career. When given two opportunities to attempt a penalty shot, Havertz finally hit the back of the net on his second try, setting up Chelsea for their 2-0 win. The defeat for Dortmund signifies an end to the teams 10 consecutive wins in all their competitions, and the first time they’ve failed to score in a competitive match after 17 consecutive games.
Fixture: Benfica vs Club Brugge
First Leg: Brugge 0-2 Benfica
Second Leg: Benfica 5-1 Brugge
Benfica played head and shoulders above their opponents moving onto the quarterfinals with a 7-1 aggregate score! In the first leg Club Brugge started strong, but Benfica dominated in the second with a goal into the low corner of the net by David Neres and a penalty shot by Joao Mario. The second leg of the competition saw Benfica with 2 goals before halftime, and 3 more just for fun in the second half. Key player Goncalo Ramos scored twice to help Benfica with their 5-1 win. After two goals, an assist, one key pass, and 3/3 successful dribbles, he becomes the youngest Portuguese player to score twice in a Champions League knockout stage!
Fixture: Tottenham vs AC Milan
First Leg: AC Milan 1-0 Tottenham
Second Leg: Tottenham 0-0 AC Milan
In the round of 16, Tottenham fans didn’t get the performance they’d hoped for. In a flat performance by the spurs, AC Milan were worthy winners of the tie in the second leg of the competition. Tottenham had a solitary shot on net before top scorer Harry Kane saw his header assisted by Son – one of the few accurate crosses from the team – be saved by Milan’s goalkeeper in added time. Spurs manager Antonio Conte could not inspire his team to a comeback after his return from gallbladder surgery, and watched his team leave the competition to an early goal by Milan’s Brahim Dias in the first leg.
Fixture: Liverpool vs Real Madrid
First Leg: Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid
Second Leg: Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool
Unfortunately, there was no historic comeback for Liverpool in this year’s Champions League. In the 78th minute of the second leg, Real Madrid secured their place in the quarterfinals when world player of the year, Karim Benzema, scored the one and only goal of the match. Real Madrid has not suffered a loss to Liverpool since 2009, however many Liverpool supporters were optimistic. Liverpool’s midfield struggled against Madrid’s Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, and were dominated in that area in both legs of the competition. With an 6-2 aggregate score it’s now up to another team to take on the reigning Champions!
Fixture: Manchester City vs RB Leipzig
First Leg: Leipzig 1-1 Man City
Second Leg: Man City 7-0 Leipzig
With a score of 1-1 from the first leg, both teams put up a strong fight but neither could break the 1-1 tie. In the second leg, Manchester City brought one of the most memorable moments of the competition so far, when Haaland brought up his fifth hat-trick of the season. Haaland scored five goals by the end of the second leg, equaling a record set by Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano. Leipzig were given a break when the star forward was pulled off the field, but that didn’t stop De Bruyne from putting the icing on the cake with the 7th goal of the night. Haaland has now broken the club record for most goals scored in a single season and it’s only March!
Fixture: Frankfurt vs Napoli
First Leg: Frankfurt 0-2 Napoli
Second Leg: Napoli 3-0 Frankfurt
For the first time ever, Napoli will be heading to the Champions League quarterfinals! With a goal in each half of the second leg by Victor Osimhen and Zielinski’s penalty in the second half gave Napoli an aggregate score of 5-0. Napoli now has the most goals scored in this season’s Champions League with 25 total, with Benefica and Manchester City behind them. Eintracht Frankfurt lost both legs of the knockout stage for the first time ever, but there’s no doubt that the team put up a fight!
Fixture: Inter Milan vs FC Porto
First Leg: Inter 1-0 Porto
Second Leg: Porto 0-0 Inter
With an intense back-and-forth match between the two teams, neither were able to score a goal in the second leg, sending Inter Milan to the quarterfinals thanks to their aggregate score. For the first time since 2006, Inter Milan have reached the quarterfinals after a frustrating match against FC Porto. The team held tightly to Romelu Lukaku’s one-goal advantage from the first leg because Porto had the better of the second leg. Porto fought hard during the second leg, but they struggled to get the ball past Milan’s goalkeeper.
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