Juventus come back from the ‘dead’..
If you saw the first leg of Juventus’s first leg Champions League last 16 encounter at the Vincente Calderon against Atletico Madrid, you would not have felt the need to see the return leg. There were already whispers that spending 100 million Euros on a 34-year old to win the Champions League was a waste based on results of the first leg. If there is one thing you would guarantee in the last five years, it is that Ronaldo never shies away from the big stage, especially in the Champions League. Juventus looked like they meant business and took full advantage of their hunger, their talisman netting a hat-trick and fully deserved their win. All of a sudden, Juventus is back in the Champions League business.
For Atletico Madrid, the approach to this game was very negative right from the onset. It seemed like this team, with all their talent, were intending to sit back and defend for 90 minutes. Even after going two goals down, there was always the chance that they could score a goal and the aggregate score would ultimately be in their favour. But that was not the case. This was probably the most un-Atletico Atletico Madrid performance witnessed in a very long time. In hindsight, they only have themselves to blame.
Manchester City demolish Schalke..
The score-line of the first leg looked like it was a close tie and that Schalke could possibly spring an upset on the Premier League Champions. Manchester City made sure that hope was dashed in the first half. Raheem Sterling and co. were too hot to handle on the night with Schalke so poor, you would be wondering how they managed to even score two goals in the first leg – come to think of it, both goals were penalties and Manchester City had to play most of the second leg with ten men.
Ultimately, Schalke’s door to possibly qualifying for the quarter-finals was shut. Emphatically.
Barcelona advanced to the last eight after beating Lyon in the last 16 with Messi on-song. The only little scare they had was when Lyon scored a goal to halve the deficit on the 58th minute. All in all, it was an easy night for the men from the Nou Camp.
Liverpool dominant in the Allianz Arena..
Bayern Munich needed to keep a clean sheet (which was going to be hard) but ended up chasing the game for the most part. This current Bayern team has no urgency, no leadership. To put their performance into context; Up until Franck Ribery left the pitch on the 61st minute, he was Bayern Munich’s most dangerous player. Franck Ribery is going to be 36 in April! (I know, I know, there is a 34 year old player that scored a hat-trick for Italy’s biggest team, but that is not really the point). Bayern Munich was suspect in some games in the group phases of the Champions League and were only going to last for so long. Till next season.
For Liverpool, they were full of running and energy and took full advantage of the space that Bayern Munich behind while pushing forward and Sadio Manewho was full of running, was duly rewarded with two fine goals. After Mane’s first goal, the game was set-up nicely for Liverpool to sit deep, defend (something that they have been doing very well this season) and hit on the break. Credit to Klopp and his men. It may get tougher from here.