Noah DeSantis ’19, Managing Editor
The Champions League draw for the round of eight occurred on March 15. With some great draws, there is no good way to guess as to who will advance to the semi-finals. Let us see how the games have gone.
Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspurs
The first leg of the game was a very close one. The first game changer went to Man City. They were awarded a penalty kick in the 12’ off of a controversial handball from Spurs left-back Danny Rose. However, Man City striker Sergio Agüero missed the penalty off of a great save from Spur’s keeper Hugo Lloris. The game stayed even with only a few chances for either side. Then, in the 78’, a spotted through ball saw Spurs forward Son Heung-min through and scoring. The game ended 1-0 in Spurs favor. However, Spurs also suffered a defeat with their star forward Harry Kane getting taken off due to an reinjury of his right ankle. The second leg will prove difficult to both sides as Man City needs to score two goals to win, and Spurs need to keep their lead without their core striker up top.
The second leg of the match was a very controversial one. The game started off on a hot note with Man City’s Raheem Sterling scoring in under 5’ to begin the scoring. But Spurs responded with a goal not only 3’ later with goal from Tottenham’s Son Heung-min. But Son was not done yet. He scored another goal in the 10’ to take the lead 2-1. Man City’s Bernardo Silva scored one for his side to tie it up in the 11’. The game did not stay even for long as Sterling scored his second in the 21’ to take the lead. The game stayed quiet for a while until Sergio Agüero scored in the 59’. Not even 14’ later, Spurs forward Fernando Llorente scored a goal in the 73’ to take the lead once again. Man City was not giving up yet as Sterling scored a goal in the 92’ which at first seemed to win it for them. However, after a further review, it was noted that Sergio Agüero was offsides on the pass to Sterling before the goal. Tottenham Spurs went on to win the match after an incredible game and will face Ajax in the semifinal.
Liverpool vs Porto
Liverpool were the obvious favorite going into this game. Being in the running for the Premier League title, and Champions League finalists for the previous year, Porto was the team to bet against. With an early goal from Naby Keïta for Liverpool, the Portuguese side was very deterred. Porto got a few good chances to score but could not find the back of the net. Liverpool however scored again in the 26’ from forward Roberto Firmino. Overall, the English side dominated the game both possession wise and passing wise. The next game will be a real test of Porto’s skill, and if they can manage a win by more than two goals, it will be one of the biggest Champions League upsets this season.
With being the favorite of this match, Liverpool was not going to make this an easy game. Forward Sadio Mané opened the scoring for Liverpool to take the lead in the 26’. It took a while for the another goal to be scored, but Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah scored in the 65’ to make it 2-0. Éder Militão scored for Porto in the 68’ but to no avail as Liverpool’s attack was not giving up. Even though they were winning 4-1, they still wanted more. Forward Roberto Firmino scored in the 77’ and Virgil Van Dijk scored in the 84’. Liverpool was all about being clinical with their goals and that is what they did.
Ajax vs Juventus
Another favorite for the Champions League faced off as well. Juventus faced Ajax in the Netherlands for their first leg. The favorites to win this was obviously the Italian giants of Juventus; however, Ajax was coming off of a great win again former Champions League winners Real Madrid. This did not change the fact that Juventus have one of the best players on their team in the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo continued his great Champions League form by scoring in the 45’ to make it 1-0 for Juventus. But Ajax was not giving up, and they scored only a minute later to tie the game. They continued to dominate the game and forced the Juventus keeper to make great saves.
This was the game to watch as Juventus needed to win to prove they have what it takes to be a Champion’s League team. However, Ajax had already beaten one European giant in Real Madrid, they were not going to give up without a fight. Juventus opened the scoring in the 28’ with, no wonder, Cristiano Ronaldo. Scoring usually sparks something in a team, but Juventus just fell apart. Ajax forward scored in the 34’ after a Juventus defender was very out of position to keep him onside and have an easy shot on goal. The game stayed even until the 67’ when Ajax wonderkid scored a header off of a corner to take the lead to 2-1. Juventus could not find a break anywhere as the Ajax defense was on full lockdown. The Italian side ended up losing to the underdogs of the tournament. Ronaldo would not go on to win another trophy for the cabinet, and Juventus would again not win another Champion’s League title.
Manchester United vs FC Barcelona
Coming off of a great comeback to beat PSG, Man U was going into this game with full force. However, you could say that some of the Man U players took Barcelona for a easy team to beat. But this was not the case, Lionel Messi of course dominated the midfield battle and Man U center mid Paul Pogba was nowhere to be found. Barcelona scored of an own goal from Man U defender Luke Shaw, which was likely to be a goal nonetheless as a Barcelona forward was just behind him. The rest of the game was pretty dull as neither side had a great chance for the rest of the game. Barcelona dominated the game and Man U had a very hard time of having any touch on the ball. Man U will need to be at their top game in order to beat the dominate Spanish side in the second game.
Manchester United was on the plan to prove to the world that they can beat a European giant of the soccer world. However, Barcelona had other ideas, more specifically, Lionel Messi. The Man U defense was positive that they would be able to close down Messi and prevent him from making a difference in the game. But no one can stop Messi. He would go and score in the 16’ to give Barcelona the lead 2-1. Not even 4’ later, Messi would go and score again in the 20’ to take the lead 3-0. Man U saw hardly any of the ball the entire game and had a significantly less amount passes and possession. Barcelona would not stop yet as Philippe Coutinho would go and score a very nice, long ranged shot to make the lead 4-0. Man U proved nothing but more endless comments on how they have no right to be in the Champions League next year.
Overall, the Champions League Round of eight, brought some very excited games to the world with some great upsets throughout. The semi-finals of the tournament will be Tottenham Spurs vs. Ajax and Liverpool vs. Barcelona. These will be exciting games to watch and hopefully we will see some great goals in both games.
Photo courtesy of Metro