• Katie Humphris

Champions League - Round of 16 - Review

The knockout stages of the Champions League for the 2020/2021 season did not fail to disappoint once again. Despite there being no fans in the stadiums, the competition lived up to full expectations with 8 ties across two legs, full of drama and outstanding performances from teams and individual players.

Barcelona Vs PSG

The tie was put to bed in the first leg after a hat trick from the wonderkid, Kylian Mbappe. Barcelona did take the lead in the 27th minute with a penalty from Lionel Messi after Frenkie de Jong was brought down in the penalty area. Moise Kean headed the ball in the back of the net to complete a perfect evening for PSG, 4-1 to the French side in the first leg. The second leg was dominated by Barcelona, but the Spanish giants couldn't make it count and the second leg finished 1-1. A penalty converted by Kylian Mbappe after the half hour mark and a goal from Lionel Messi completed the tie. PSG sailed through to the Quarter-Finals, 5-2 on aggregate.

RB Leipzig Vs Liverpool

Liverpool’s league form was put aside when it came to the Champions League tie with RB Leipzig. Despite both legs being pretty even, the current Premier League champions managed to come out on top. Two quick goals in the second half from Mo Salah and Sadio Mane gave Liverpool the first leg advantage and two away goals. A similar game took place in the second tie as both Salah and Mane were on the score sheet for the reds, sending the team through to the quarter finals. 4-0 on aggregate.

FC Porto Vs Juventus

The shock of the round came between FC Porto and Italian giants Juventus. A goal inside the first minute from Mehdi Taremi gave the Portuguese side the dream start. A quick second half goal followed after a pass from Manafa put Marega through, he shot with his left foot past Juventus keeper Szczesny. Juventus did get a goal back through Federico Chiesa, making it 2-1 after the first leg. VAR was called into action after Cristiano Ronaldo went down in the penalty area, but a penalty was not rewarded. FC Porto took the lead in the second leg through a penalty converted by Sergio Oliveria, giving the Portuguese side a huge advantage. However, a second half brace from Chiesa made it 2-1 and that was enough to see out the 90 minutes. Extra time it was! It wasn’t until the last 5 minutes, but Porto took the lead once again through Oliveria again, with a powerful low free kick under the wall, despite Szczesny getting a hand to the ball, he was unable to keep the ball out of the net. Juventus then scored straight from the kick off but it wasn’t to be enough, making it 3-2 on the night, 4-4 on aggregate. Sending FC Porto through on away goals.

Sevilla Vs Borussia Dortmund

It was set up to be an exciting tie between the Spanish and German sides and it definitely lived up to expectations. Suso gave Sevilla the lead after just 7 minutes but a wonder strike from Mahmoud Dahoud on his right foot and a goal from Erling Haaland seemed to knock the confidence of the Sevilla players. Haaland was to score again just before the half time whistle with an assist by Marco Reus, who could have taken the shot himself but laid it on to Haaland. 3-1 to the German side. Sevilla did get a goal in the 84th minute through De Jong, making it 3-2 after the first leg. Sevilla had a huge penalty shout in added time, with Meunier holding onto de Jong, but VAR agreed with the referee's original decision, no penalty! The second leg was just as exciting as the first with a brace from both teams and two penalties. Erling Haaland gave Dortmund a two goal lead with a goal against the run of play in the 35th minute. A bizarre moment occurred in the tie when Haaland thought he had scored a second goal. The goal was ruled out for a foul by VAR, but then Dortmund were rewarded with a penalty due to an incident that occurred moments before. Haaland stepped up to take the penalty but missed. However, the penalty was retaken, with the Sevilla goalkeeper clearly being off his line before Haaland took the shot. For the second time, Haaland took the penalty again and converted this time. On the 69th minute, Sevilla were rewarded a penalty of their own which was converted by En-Nesyri who then again scored in the 6th minute of added time, but it would not be enough. Dortmund proceeded to the quarter finals after winning 5-4 on aggregate.

Atletico Madrid Vs Chelsea

Chelsea, who are unbeaten under new manager Thomas Tuchel, had a tough challenge when they were set to face Atletico Madrid who are currently top of La Liga. Chelsea took control of both legs, gaining more possession and more shots. Atletico couldn’t convert one shot on target in the first leg compared to Chelsea's 5. A wonderful bicycle kick from Olivier Giroud was eventually given after a lengthy VAR check, giving Chelsea a 1-0 lead and that all important away goal. Chelsea continued to create chance after chance but were unable to build on their current score line. The second leg took place at Stamford Bridge, where the Spanish side had a huge ask. Hakim Ziyech scored in the 34th minute, his first Chelsea goal since October and stunned Chelsea fans by his overall performance. A red card was shown to Stefan Savic in the 81st minute after he elbowed defender Antonio Rudiger in the chest leaving a near impossible task for Diego Simeone’s side. Chelsea completed the tie in the 94th minute after substitute Emerson came on and with his first touch of the game, slammed the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, sending the West London side through to the next round.

Lazio Vs Bayern Munich

Last years winners Bayern Munich played Italian side Lazio. It only took 9 minutes for Robert Lewandowski to appear on the score sheet after a poor back pass from Musacchio, 1-0 to the German giants. Lazio appealed for a penalty but were unsuccessful after VAR agreed with the referee’s original decision. Jamal Musiala scored Bayern’s second and Leory Sane scored the third. Minutes after kick off, Lazio found themselves in more trouble after an own goal from Acerbi gave Bayern a 4-0 lead. The Italian side did get a goal back moments later, through Joaquin Correa but the first leg finished 4-1 to the champions. Not as many goals for Bayern Munich in the second leg, but they still managed to finish off the tie early on. Lewandoswski converted a penalty in the 33rd minute and Choupo-Moting scored in the 73rd. Parolo gave Lazio a consolation goal in the 82nd minute, but Bayern were just too good for the Italian side ending the tie on 6-2 on aggregate, with Bayern sailing through.

Atalanta Vs Real Madrid

It took Real Madrid 86 minutes to break the deadlock through Ferland Mendy. A beautiful effort from the Frenchman curled the ball into the bottom right hand corner, 1-0 to Real Madrid after the first leg. Benzema scored the first goal in the second leg for Madrid, followed by a Sergio Ramos penalty on the hour mark. Atalanta scored through Muriel, but the celebrations were cut short after substitute Marco Asensio cut inside with a low strike into the bottom lefthand corner, making it 3-1 on the night and 4-1 to Real Madrid on aggregate.

Manchester City Vs Borussia M’Gladbach

Manchester City, hoping to end their European curse, start by facing German side Borussia M’Gladbach. A terrific Joao Cancelo cross found Bernardo Silva who perfectly picked out the far post, making it 1-0 to City. Just after the hour mark, City’s lead was doubled through Gabriel Jesus with the easiest goal he will probably need to score, with Silva picking him out at the far post. 2-0 to Man City after the first leg. A long range effort from Kevin De Bruyne gave City the lead in the second leg after just 12 minutes. The goal was then followed up by Gundogan in the 18th minute, sealing the tie for City, giving them a 4-0 win on aggregate and sending them through to the quarter finals.

Written by Katie Humphris