It is said that football isn’t for the faintest of hearts. The UEFA Champions league over the years has always produced top drawer performances. And results with an adequate amount of surprises too. Well, this season has been no different. From the likes of underdogs Roma progressing against the mighty Barcelona. To Juventus almost coming close to knocking out the defending champions, Real Madrid. Let’s take a look into each tie as it happened.
1) Manchester City vs Liverpool (Liv def. Man City 5-1 on agg)
Liverpool matched fire with fire as they incinerated Man City in the first leg giving them a 3-0 head start. Coming into this match with goals from Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane.
The run away leaders of the Premier League were wounded pretty bad. And knew they had to respond in the second leg. And, respond they did. Gabriel Jesus, kept his composure and tucked one in comfortably after a mistake from Van Dijk. Who gave the ball away complaining that he should’ve been awarded a free kick just two minutes into the match.
With pressure piling on Liverpool, Bernado Silva almost got lucky with a curler only for it to hit the crossbar and cleared by Liverpool. Man City were denied a goal later in the match as it was ruled out for offside even though the ball came off Liverpool’s James Milner. And Guardiola marched on to the pitch at the end of the first half in an explosion of fury to remonstrate with referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz. The outburst saw him forced to watch the second half from the stands.
Guardiola watched from the stands as city began the second half in a similar fashion as the first. Passes and possession. All the hopes of City fans were crushed as Salah chipped in his 39th goal of the season. After a powerful run by Sadio Mane in the 56th minute. Roberto Firmino hammered the final nail in the coffin as he executed a delightful finish. After a brilliant run to complete the rout and send Man City packing.
2) Bayern Munich vs Sevilla (Bayern def. Sev 2-1 agg)
Franck Ribery inspired Bayern Munich, who came from behind to take control of their Champions League quarter-final first leg with Sevilla. A Jesus Navas own goal, from Ribery’s low cross, and Thiago Alcantara’s deflected header from the France international’s delivery after the break extended the visitors’ winning run in Europe this season to seven consecutive games.
Sevilla needed to score in the second leg to keep their champions league semi-finals dream alive. Sevilla defender Joaquin Correa, who was sent off in stoppage time, hit the bar with a header and midfielder Pablo Sarabia, who scored in the first leg, wasted a glorious first-half chance. David Soria produced a fine save to keep Robert Lewandowski’s glorious header from going in. Jesus Navas who handed Bayern a goal in the first leg, made a brilliant block to deny Frank Ribery from scoring.
Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado, replacing injured centre-back Simon Kjaer, who could count himself lucky to have stayed on the pitch after bringing down Lewandowski. Later on, Correa, slid in wildly on Javi Martinez to earn a red card allowing Bayern to progress into the semis(for the seventh time in nine years) even though they weren’t able to score.
Fact: It was the first time in 22 home Champions League matches that Bayern had failed to score.
3) Roma vs Barcelona (Roma def. Barca 4-4(away goals) agg)
Last year we witnessed Barcelona make a near impossible come back against PSG. Well, this year, Barcelona were on the receiving end of their own medicine. Barcelona blew away Roma in the first leg by taking a 4-1 lead, courtesy of goals from Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez and two own goals, while Edin Dzeko provided a mere consolation for the side from Italy.
Barcelona made their trip to Stadio Olimpico to face their distraught opponents in the second leg. But, no one could’ve predicted what really unraveled. Roma pulled off a sensational second-leg comeback to beat Barcelona 3-0 and reach the Champions League semi-finals on away goals.
Edin Dzeko struck early to give Roma a glimmer of hope and Daniele de Rossi added a second with a penalty. Defender Kostas Manolas, who was responsible for an own goal in the first leg. Scored the crucial third goal, heading in at the near post with eight minutes remaining. The crowd at the Stadio Olimpico erupted at the final whistle as the Roma substitutes and coaching staff came running on to the pitch to celebrate with the players.(Watch the incredible moment below)
It is difficult to believe but we did it and did it in style. Nobody believed in us before the game, they gave us a 5% chance of winning, but against such a team like Barcelona, you expect that after losing the first game 4-1.
Roma became only the third team in Champions League history to overturn a first-leg defeat of three goals or more – Deportivo La Coruna against AC Milan in 2004 and Barcelona against Paris St-Germain last season.
4) Real Madrid vs Juventus (RM def. Juve 4-3 on agg)
Goal machine a.k.a, Cristiano Ronaldo was at his absolute best when Juventus hosted Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. With only three minutes into the game, Ronaldo opened his account with a powerful toe poke after a good work from Isco, who laid out a clean pass to Ronaldo, who became the first player to score in 10 consecutive Champions League games.
The Old Lady had a fair bit of chances to equalize, although Toni Kroos almost made it 2-0 on the night after his 25-yard effort was denied by the crossbar.
Then came a moment of sheer brilliance. Dani Carvajal whipped in a cross to the Portuguese. Who soared high in the air and sent a flying bicycle kick past Gianluigi Buffon, who was rooted to his spot. A strike so brilliant that even Juventus fans stood up to applaud the goal. (Watch the amazing strike below)
It got even worse for the Turin side. As Paulo Dybala was shown a second yellow card for a high boot in the chest of Carvajal. Later on, Marcelo piled on the misery as he scored to make it 3-0 on a night to forget for Juventus.
With the odds stacked against the side from Turin. Second leg couldn’t have arrived sooner as they hoped for a miracle turnaround. Mario Mandzukic handed them a dream start as he scored on the second minute after a crafty chipped cross from Khedira.
The hopes of a turnaround came close to reality when the 31-year-old forward, Mario Mandzukic then left Real stunned as he scored again to double Juve’s advantage. Eight minutes before the break with another header. This time from substitute Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross.
And the Italians got their third on a dramatic evening in Madrid when the goal keeper, Navas failed to claim a cross, which allowed Blaise Matuidi to poke the ball into the back of an empty net. With the tie almost heading for extra-time. Real were then handed a huge life-line in added time when they were awarded a penalty for Giorgio Chiellini’s foul on Lucas Vazquez in the area.
Gianluigi Buffon, who played his final Champions League game ever on Wednesday reacted angrily to the decision. Confronting Michael Oliver and subsequently being sent off for his protestations.
Clearly you cannot have a heart in your chest. But a garbage bin. On top of that. If you don’t have the character to walk on a pitch like this in a stadium like this, you can sit in the stands with your wife. Your kids. Drinking your Sprite and eating crisps.
-Buffon, after the game
And with Buffon off, Wojciech Szczesny came on to try and stop Ronaldo from scoring. But couldn’t do so. As the Portuguese star sent a powerful effort into the top corner of the net. To secure a 4-3 aggregate win that sent Real into the semi-finals of the Champions League.
UCL Semi-Final Draw:
1) Liverpool vs Roma
2) Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich
Now that we’ve covered all the games, which tie do you think was the most exciting? And who do you think can go all the way and win it? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.