CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – QUARTER-FINALS ROUND-UP

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Manchester City set-back..

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 8

Manchester City may regret the spot-kick missed by Aguero down the line. Asides that, Manchester City lacked any form of penetration (especially from the middle third) during the game. In hindsight, Kevin De Bruyne should have started due to his eye for a good pass. Riyad Mahrez was not as direct and a Leroy Sane on the left and Sterling on the right would have been better. But that is all ‘ifs and buts’ at the moment. Manchester City will go to the Etihad having to overturn only a one goal deficit. The quadruple is on the line.

For Tottenham Hotspur, this was a good performance especially as Harry Kane came off injured during the second half. Their talisman would most likely miss the second leg of this crunch encounter but credit has to go to this team as they held their own and the quick feet of the likes of Lucas Moura will always give defenders something to worry about. Tottenham Hotspur handled themselves well the last time Harry Kane was out and they would hope for more of the same to ensure that their season ends on a high.

Liverpool make progress..

This game was a lot tougher compared to last season’s episode primarily because FC Porto did not just sit back and soak up countless amount of pressure. At times, they took the game to Liverpool (away from home) and had a number of shots on target, ultimately not finding the net.

Liverpool also scoring early- deflection or otherwise- helped settle things from the offset and this made the Liverpool players less anxious and just playing their game. The second goal, still in the first half, made Liverpool take their foot off the gas a bit in the second half. This tie is not over. Based on the events that have transpired in this UCL season and last, one cannot get too comfortable with a two-goal lead.

Ajax hold their own again..

For the umpteenth time in this UEFA Champions League season, Ajax Amsterdam Football Club has given a good account of themselves against one of the very top teams in Europe. They have played Bayern in the group stages, knocked-out the defending Champions in Real Madrid and also have played a draw against Juventus. Ajax surprisingly seems to have improved especially considering the first leg in the last 16 at home to Real Madrid where a lot of mistakes were made that ultimately cost them that particular game. Obviously, most of us would expect Juventus to finish the job at home. But is that not the same statement that was made when they went to the Bernabeu some weeks ago? Football eh?

For Juventus, on the one hand, this was a good result against one of the surprise teams at this stage of the competition. They could have had another after a Douglas Costa mazy run ended up with the ball hitting the upright. As earlier said, the team would feel that they could finish the tie in Turin.

Barcelona win at Old Trafford..

Obviously not the Lionel Messi master-class we had all expected to see. There was a lot of passing (clearly more by Barcelona) but there were very few chances created. Even the goal scored was deflected in by Luke Shaw. Manchester United played well, especially in the second half of the game but what could be a bit damning about their performance is that Barcelona did not actually need to do a lot to get the results they needed to take back to the Camp Nou. Nonetheless, credit should still go to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team for putting themselves about. Putting Diogo Dalot on the lefy -where Messi mostly operates from in attack- was a good move as it did not leave the Luke Shaw overly exposed to the Argentine magician. They would have to give this type of performance (and more) if they want to stand any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals when they visit the Nou Camp.