Champions League: The Quarter Finals
This week has been a good one in the football world. The resumption of the much loved Champions League took place on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, with 4 big games being played.
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These games were Man City vs Dortmund, Real Madrid vs Liverpool, Bayern Munich vs PSG and Porto vs Chelsea.
Man City vs Dortmund: 2-1
This game was filled with controversy, with the highlighting moment being in the 37th minute when City keeper Ederson - who is well known for his usually excellent composure on the ball and distribution abilities, received the ball just outside his box when he tried to control it and was immediately pressed by England starlet Jude Bellingham. The Dortmund youngster nicked the ball off of him and slotted it into an empty net, only for it to be ruled out for a foul on Ederson.
It was a very controversial decision by the Romanian official, who promptly blew his whistle so that VAR could not intervene without a check. Replays show that the ball was cleanly won and that the goal probably should have stood.
It took until the 84th minute when Marco Reus equalised for the Black & Yellow with a tidy finish. It looked like Dortmund were going to hang on for a very good result heading back to Germany until English prodigy and wonderkid Phil Foden slotted a winner in the 90th minute from an intelligent cut-back from Ilkay Gundogan.
Heartbreak for Dortmund, but they have a crucial away goal to take back to the Signal Iduna Park, although they would feel that they deserved more from the first tie.
Real Madrid vs Liverpool: 3-1
Real Madrid, La Décima, the Champions League specialists, looked to be surprising underdogs for this tie. They already knew that Sergio Ramos wouldn't be available for the game, but just a day before kick-off, the news broke out that his partner Raphael Varane would also miss out due to a positive Covid test. This game seemed a great opportunity for the Scousers to capitalise on and get a solid lead to take into the second leg.
Even from the first few minutes, Liverpool were sloppy in possession and were constantly gifting Madrid the ball in dangerous areas. The team selection was questionable too, with Thiago being left on the bench and injury-plagued Naby Keita taking his place in the starting XI.
It only took 27 minutes for Liverpool to be undone, with them allowing Toni Kroos to pick out Vinicius Junior with a perfect 50 yard pass up-field straight onto his chest, of which the Brazilian sensation brought down magnificently and finished past the helpless Alisson.
This goal set the tone for Madrid for the entire game, with them being able to freely pick out passes to their forward men and punish a lacklustre Liverpool side, who's confidence had clearly been shot.
Liverpool's only lifeline for this tie is their away goal, which was taken coolly by Mo Salah in the 51st minute. Even still, taking it back to Anfield with no fans is a difficult task against a Real Madrid team who are renown for being brilliant on Champions League nights. However, we all remember that famous night in Barcelona.. Liverpool will never give up hope.
Bayern Munich vs PSG: 2:3
Bayern Munich, a team known for their sheer dominance and liquid football, slumped to a maybe surprising defeat against PSG on Wednesday evening.
The injury to Robert Lewandowski whilst on international duty for Poland proved to be a huge miss for Bayern, who even though they scored 2 goals, they created plenty of good chances and opportunities, having a total of 31 shots throughout the game.
According to SofaScore, Bayern had 6 'big chances' and missed 4 of those. Many Munich fans would have been left wondering what the score would have been had their Polish talisman been involved in the game.
Mbappe, Neymar and Navas were the 3 standout players for Paris, with Mbappe scoring 2, Neymar assisting 2 and the Costa Rican keeper Navas producing a huge 10 saves!
The game is very much still in the balance, but PSG have a vital 3 away goals, which means Bayern have to score atleast 2 and keep a clean sheet if they want to advance to the semi-finals, not an easy task for Hansi Flick and his men, but definitely not impossible.
Porto vs Chelsea: 0-2
Out of the last 8 teams left in the competition, Porto are definitely the underdogs on paper. However, the Portuguese outfit are no pushovers, having eliminated Juventus in the round of 16.
Sergio Conceicao's men are 2nd in their domestic league, and arriving into this match in good form, they would have been high in confidence, despite their underdog status when compared to Chelsea. They deployed themselves in a 451 formation which sought to hit Chelsea on the counter. Stats wise, this worked as they managed to fashion themselves 12 shots despite only having 39% possession.
Thomas Tuchel's team were far more clinical though, having only 6 shots despite more possession of the ball but scoring the all important 2 goals from 3 shots on target. Porto's keeper definitely had a night to forget.
Mason Mount had the standout moment in the match. The in-form England youngster received the ball on the edge of the box, pirouetted his marker and smashed the ball into the far bottom corner. An excellent goal from an excellent player.
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