8 fixtures and 4 brilliant turnarounds, this was a round of sensational comebacks in the Champions League. Let’s get to it,
Leicester City Vs Sevilla FC (First Leg: 1-2):
Ranieri’s dismissal has left Leicester in splits. Some support the decision and some oppose it with all their heart. But each fan in the stadium wanted their club to succeed and the players acknowledged that. Sampaoli’s Sevilla came with a slender 1 goal lead from the first leg and had no room for error. The game started as expected, with the home side borrowing some of the electricity from the crowd. But the first clear attempt came from the away side as Nasri’s nimble footwork beat Leicester’s defence and forced a save out of Kasper Schmeichel. But Leicester buckled down from then on & didn’t let Sevilla anywhere near their goal in the first 45. Jamie Vardy, particularly, was looking like a live wire on the pitch. Chasing every ball, taking on defenders and even helping at the back. And when your superstar forward puts on such a performance it’s bound to boost your morale. 25th minute, Vardy’s flashy footwork was halted by a reckless challenge from Iborra which awarded Leicester an FK in a dangerous area. Mahrez spent an age eyeing up his target but his curling cross towards the far post found Morgan in style who tucked the ball in with his knee. 1-0! Leicester just needed to hold on to progress, thanks to their away goal. Just after HT, Sevilla came into the game strongly as they pressed higher up the pitch. But it was the hosts who struck again after a seemingly harmless cross from Mahrez was nodded down to Albrighton by Adil Rami. The midfielder was in a great position at the edge of the box and made no mistake finding the bottom right corner of the net. 2-0! From then on it was just a case of disciplined defending from the Foxes & Nasri being sent off just aided their cause. Sevilla, however, got a lifeline just 10 minutes prior to the final whistle as a controversial decision awarded them a penalty. N’Zonzi stepped and dispatched a half-hearted penalty which was saved by the Leicester number 1, pretty comfortably.
A new chapter added.
Leicester City 2 – 0 Sevilla FC
3-2 On Aggregate
AS Monaco Vs Manchester City(First Leg: 3-5):
A few weeks ago, one of the highest scoring teams in all of Europe met Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. And what followed was an attacking masterclass. 8 goals scored, Monaco took the lead twice but ended up being beaten by Aguero’s brilliance. So there was always hope but executing against one of the sharpest minds in football is a different ball game altogether. Monaco started without their highest goalscorer, Falcao who’s still recovering. The game started brightly as it was supposed to, with Monaco’s relentless pressing was hard to contain. A minute after forcing a save out of Caballero, Monaco took the lead. Bernardo Silva picked the ball on the left after some neat combination with Mendy, fired a low cross in & Mbappe made no mistake from close range. City needed to act fast as they were being overrun every time Monaco bombed forward. 21 minutes after their first, Monaco doubled their tally. Mendy took charge of the left flank & fired an inch perfect cross to Fabinho who sidefooted it down the middle. 2-0! and advantage Monaco. Pep changed De Bruyne’s role in the second half, deployed him in the middle & controlled the tempo. Deja Vu for Monaco as they started to wobble. City penetrated their defence with ease & if it weren’t for Aguero’s inefficiency, City would’ve wrapped the game 15 minutes into the half. But it was Sadio Mane who got one back for city & with 19 minutes to play it looked decisive. The reply from Monaco caught Manchester by storm. They charged forward in numbers & eventually got their 3rd. 6-6 on aggregate & Monaco lead on away goal. The game ended 3-1 & a tie which had 12 goals, ended in Monaco’s favour. Probably the most exciting team in this year’s UCL.
AS Monaco 3 – 1 Manchester City
(Mbappe, Fabinho, Bakayoko) (Sane)
6-6 On Aggregate, Monaco go through on away goals (3 to 1)
Business As Usual:
Atletico Madrid & Juventus made sure there weren’t any more surprises in the Champions League. Atletico had a 2 goal advantage against Leverkusen from the first leg (2 – 4) & a clean sheet at the Calderon assured their qualification. Jan Oblak’s triple save was a treat to watch & surely makes him a golden glove contender.
Juventus also had a 2 goal lead from the first leg (0-2) which was always going to be tough for Porto to overturn. The Italians started the game brilliantly and took the lead from the spot after Higuain’s effort was handled by Perreira. Dybala slotted the penalty mercilessly and beat Iker Casillas. Scoring 3 with 10 men looked impossible & a resilient Juve defence made sure Buffon stayed comfortable throughout. It also marked Iker’s 175th UEFA appearance. Not the farewell the legend would’ve liked I’m sure. 3-0 on aggregate for Juventus.
We have the final 8 and there are no pushovers this time around. An epic quarterfinal awaits.
Draw date: 17 Th March
Time: 11 AM GMT
Venue: Nyon, Switzerland