The Champions League Round of 16 had a lot of ups and downs

Noah DeSantis ’19, Managing Editor

The Champions League Round of 16 for premiere soccer occurred during the months of February and March. It is the second round of the tournament for only the teams who made it out of the group stage of the competition. Let us see how the Round of 16 went.

Roma vs. Porto

First Leg:

The first game for these teams was a dominance of attack from Roma, having 14 shots total for Porto to defend against. Ultimately those shots helped because Roma won the game 2-1 with two goals from Roma’s 19 year old Nicolò Zaniolo and a brace goal from Porto’s Adrián López. However, Porto dominated possession and had better pass accuracy compared to Roma. Porto was fighting for the win in this game which also led into a tough second game for Roma to defend against.

Second Leg:

This second leg was a very rough match for Roma. Porto dominated possession for both legs of the match. Roma, however fought back, but to no avail. Porto played a very good game and ended up tying Roma in aggregate score at 2-2. The game was then put into an extra 30 minutes, each side bringing the fight. But, in the 117’, Porto was awarded a penalty kick. This was an easy goal for Alex Telles to finish off the desperate Roma side. Porto won this game 3-2.

Manchester United (Man U) vs. Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)

First Leg:

This game was a dramatic one for both sides alike. Man U was the team to bet against for this match, because PSG being one of the best teams in Europe, they were likely to dominate the English side throughout the match. This showed immensely with Man U conceded two goals to PSG in a matter of 10 minutes. Former Man U forward, Ángel Di María, was playing one of his best games due to playing his former side and getting hate from his old fans. In addition to this, midfielder Paul Pogba received a red card for a slide tackle against a PSG player. This would result in a very tough second leg for Man U.

Second Leg:

The second match for this game was one to remember. Man U came out with a punch against PSG, scoring in a matter of two minutes into the game to go up 1-0. PSG however fought back with a goal in 10 minutes. But Man U were on the hunt for the win with striker Romelu Lukaku scoring in the 30’. The match was tied for the entirety of the match until a controversial penalty kick occurred in the 94’ for Man U. Which was taken by young forward Marcus Rashford and drilled into the left upper net. Man U won the match and will go down as one of the best comebacks of the Champions League this year. When asked about Manchester’s historic comeback, junior Jack Voight said, “This was a great comeback. I hope to see who we draw in the next round and even possibly advance into the finals.”

Tottenham Spurs vs. Dortmund

First Leg:

This game was arguably one of the best of the round of 16. Both teams were doing very well in their own leagues, and this match was predicted to be a very tough game for both sides. Though the first half ended with no goals for both teams, the second half turned out to be a beating on Dortmund from the Spurs. It took on two minutes after second half for Spurs’ striker Son Heung-ming to score the opening goal for the match. The Spurs then scored two more goals in the 83’ and 86’. Dortmund had their chances, but the Spurs’ goalkeeper was a wall in net. The second leg was going to have to be a great comeback for the German side.

Second Leg:

Tottenham Spurs were up 3-0 at this point, Dortmund would need a miracle to win this game. They did put a lot of pressure on the Spurs, however. Having a total of 19 shots but only 7 on target, Dortmund was having a tough spell of bad luck. In addition to not being able to finish the ball, Tottenham’s defense had one of the best performances of the season, especially goalie Hugo Lloris saving every chance the German side got and making some incredible decisions. Even with all of the negatives, Dortmund played very well, and captain Marco Reus had a great return from injury even with the loss.

Lyon vs. Barcelona

First Leg:

The first game between these two teams was very dull in terms of goals. However, Barcelona played very well in terms of attack. They had a total of 25 shots but only five on target. While Lyon only had five shots total, with two on target. Barcelona also had the majority possession of the ball with 64 percent while Lyon only had 36 percent possession. Overall, the Spanish side dominated the game, but could not see a shot go into the back of the net. The second leg was surely to have much more excitement.

Second Leg:

Barcelona were the top favorites to win the match over the french side of Lyon. This was an easy game for Barcelona and they swept the floor with Lyon. Of course, a Champions League would not be what it is without a star performance from the man himself, Lionel Messi. He had a total of two goals with two assists for his side. Philippe Coutinho, Gerard Piqué, and Ousmane Dembele scored the other three goals for them. Lyon scored a goal in the 58’, but this would not be enough. Barcelona would go on to the next round of the tournament.

Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich

First Leg:

The first leg of this match was a very even battle between the two teams. With possession of the ball almost being exactly 50/50, it was hard to determine who did better overall. Even when comparing attacking stats, both teams had great opportunities to take the lead over the other. To truly see which team did better, it does come down to the players themselves. Bayern forward Kingsley Coman played a very good match. He had a number of shots and played a few very good crosses into the box for his team to try and finish. Another forward, but from Liverpool, also had a great game. Sadio Mané played very well off the wing and had a lot of chances to burst through and score. The only thing to get in his way was the Bayern defense. The second leg will be a very tough match for both sides, the game could go either way.

Second Leg:

Going into this match and predicting a winner would be a tough choice. With both teams being top of their own leagues, it would be a close match. That is exactly what happened for a short while. Liverpool opened the gates first with a beautiful goal from winger Sadio Mané from a long ball from center back Virgil van Dijk. However, not even 10 minutes later did Liverpool defender Joël Matip hit an own goal from a cross from Bayern forward Serge Gnabry. The game would stay tied until the 69’ where van Dijk would tower over the Bayern defense off of a corner and put it into the back of the net. This was not the end to Bayern’s demoralization, Mané scored another goal and Liverpool would go on to win the game 3-1 and move on to the next round. Liverpool fan had a lot to say on this huge win. Senior Conner Harris said, “Jürgen Klopp is my dad. He manages the team like no other coach out there. I could see Liverpool going all the way to the final.”

Juventus vs. Atlético Madrid

First Leg:

This match was said to be one of the best matches of the round of 16. With Juventus being the leaders of the Serie A (Italian league) and Atlético being contenders for first place in the spanish league, both teams would go full throttle to beat each other. However, Atlético proved to be the better side, finishing wise. They had less shots than Juventus, but finished the chances they got, scoring twice. Juventus had their chances but even star forward Cristiano Ronaldo struggle to see the back of the net. With a final score of 2-0, Juventus would have to play full attack to comeback and find the win against the spanish side.

Second Leg:

Juventus was at home this game and would need all the support they could get to win this match and overcome the tough Atlético side. This would be the toughest test for new Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo. But the italian side would not go down without a fight. They would go on to score in only 10 minutes into the game but that goal would be disallowed due to a controversial call from the referee. This, in the end, though would not matter. Cristiano Ronaldo would not let his Champions League dreams die so soon. He scored a great back post header delivered from winger Federico Bernardeschi to make the game 2-1. This is how the first half ended. After half time, Ronaldo would go on to score another header that was almost saved by Atlético keeper Jan Oblak. Then, in the 86’, Bernardeschi was taken down within the box, a penalty kick was called. Ronaldo stepped up, and he was not going to miss. Ronaldo scored a hatrick to win the game against the Spanish side to advance to the next round of the tournament.

Manchester City vs. Schalke

First Leg:

This game was going to be a very tough match for Schalke to even have a chance at winning. Dominants of the Premier League, Manchester City, were going to do whatever they could to win this match and advance in the tournament. However, this game was not as smooth as it could have been for the English. The first goal was easy for Man City as they went up 1-0 in the 18’, but Schalke were not going to let up that easy. Schalke midfielder, Nabil Bentaleb, scored two goals in 10 minutes to go up 2-1. The remainder of the game was tight until the 85 minute when former Schalke player and current Man City forward scored a beautiful free kick to tie the game 2-2. Then only five minutes later did winger Raheem Sterling score another goal to go up 3-2, and that is how the game ended.

Second Leg:

Schalke needed to go into this match with an attacking mindset, but that is not what occurred. Manchester City dominated this game and took no mercy with the German side. It took 35 minutes for them to score and go up 1-0, but that is when the floodgates opened. They scored another six goals in the match to win the game and overcome the poor german team. Schalke did score one goal in this match to not have a complete upset, but losing 7-1 in a match in the biggest tournament in Europe is very embarrassing. Winning 10-2 on aggregate, Man City would have a very good attitude going into the next matches of the Champions League.

The Round of 16 had some exciting matches. Between upsets and big wins, it is hard to determine which games were the best. Let us hope that the Quarter Finals of the tournament will stand up to its best potential.

Photo courtesy of Manchester Evening News

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