As Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Roma and Sevilla qualify for the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League, we take a look on how each side fared in the round of 16.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED.
When Spurs came from behind to secure that 2-2 draw in Turin on the eve of Valentine, it looked as if the Wembley tenants have received a Val’s present from the Old Lady.
And when Son scored that firsthalf goal at Wembley, in the second leg, the other North London fans who are in the second tier of the competition switched off their TVs and went to bed.
But when the Old Lady realized that they were on the cusp of elimination, Argentinian double-act of Higuain and Dybala waged ‘Falklands war’ of no surrender on the UK side, as they helped Juve emerge victorious, progressing to the last eight; and then there were celebrations at the other ‘end’ of North London as if they’d just won the league that has eluded them for more than a decade.
13 February : Juventus 2-2 Tottenham.
7 March: Tottenham 1-2 Juventus (agg: 3-4)
Still on Valentine’s eve; the blue half of Manchester, took their impeccable form to Switzerland’s third most populated city of Basel, where they beat the home team convincingly by scoring three first half goals, and then iced the cake with the fourth, just 8 minutes into the second half.
However, Manchester City’s home loss to the Swiss side in the return leg did no harm to neither Pep Guardiola’s side’s reputation nor their qualification as some key players were rested for the ‘dead-rubber’ clash. But that loss caused a lot of ‘damage’ to many punters who staked their ‘huts’ for a bungalow.
13 February :Basel 0-4 Manchester City.
7 March: Manchester City 1-2 Basel (agg: 5-2)
Meanwhile, Liverpool took their ‘tray of ash’ to Portugal on Valentine’s day. It was a symbolic present to Porto as some of the fans whose forehead had still got some Ash Wednesday’s sign from Porto Cathedral didn’t get the opportunity to celebrate at the Estadio do Dragao. Liverpool made some Porto fans’ Lenten observance begin as moody as it should be with a commanding victory, as Saido Mane grabbed the headline with a sublime hat-trick.
With the qualification almost secured in Portugal, Jurgen Klopp’s swashbuckling side settled for a goalless draw in a less eventful second leg at Anfield.
14 February : Porto 0-5 Liverpool
6 March: Liverpool 0-0 Porto (agg: 5-0).
The most-hyped round of 16 clash in recent times was between Champions league contenders and of course, Champions league pretenders.
PSG who have seemingly got so used to winning domestic titles thought this was their year to launch an assault on the BIG one. But when they were pitted against 12-time winners – Real Madrid, in the knockout stage, that sinking feeling came back.
Though they raised the first punch at the Bernabeu during the first leg, but Los Blancos were too experienced to let them have an easy ride as Ronaldo’s brace helped secure a 3-1 comeback win for Zidane’s team.
In the second leg at Parc des Princes, fate conspired against PSG as their talismanic number 10 – Neymar got injured a week earlier and missed their 2-1 home loss to Real Madrid, as Unai Emry’s side crashed out AGAIN in the Champions League.
Back-to-back winners, Real Madrid are now on course for a European hat-trick; a feat which has only been achieved by Bayern Munich in the mid-seventies.
14 February: Real Madrid 3-1 PSG
6 March: PSG 1-2 Real Madrid (agg: 2-5.
At Stamford bridge, Chelsea almost pulled the spectacular.
Conte wrote the beautiful script, while Willian ran the show for the Blues and deservedly got his goal. And Chelsea were starring at a remarkable win.
But Barca’s magicians – Iniesta and Messi pulled forces together, pouncing on Christensen’s loose ball to punish the near-perfect Chelsea.
Having scored towards the end of the first leg, Messi continued with a 3rd minute second leg strike, to set the Catalan giants on the front foot so early.
That was the first of the three goals which the hapless Blues would go on to concede as they had no choice than to bow to the supremacy of the La Liga winners in waiting.
20 February : Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona.
14 March: Barcelona v Chelsea.
At Allianz Arena, Juup Heynckes’ encore continued to deliver the goods.
It was plain sailing for the Bavarians who on both legs asserted their authority over their Turkish opponents.
Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski starred as FC Hollywood auditioned a thriller that ensured an easy passage to the last eight.
20 February: Bayern 5-0 Beşiktaş
14 March: Beşiktaş 1-3 Bayern (agg: 1-8)
“He is capable of saving even an ailing relationship”…. This became a popular mantra in Nigeria after David De Gea spectacularly kept Manchester United in the competition at least until the second leg.
However, Vincenzo Montella’s side tweeted a message to De Gea ahead of the second leg asking him to save his best for the World Cup finals.
And the Manchester United’s number 1 heeded the clarion call, by conceding two quick-fire goals in the last quarter of the second leg at Old Trafford, as Mourinho’s men exited the competition.
21 February: Sevilla 0-0 Manchester United.
13 March: Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla (agg: 1-2).
The only round of 16 fixture where the away-goal rule came to play was the Titanic battle between Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Both teams did all they could to be in the last eight, but the team from Rome made the second leg home game count as Edin Dzeko once again, rose to the plate at the crucial point, with his lone goal sending Luciano Spalletti’s team to the quarter finals.
21 February: Shakhtar 2-1 Roma
13 March: Roma 1-0 Shakhtar
(agg: 2-2, Roma win on away goals)
Draw (16 March)
Quarter-finals, first leg (3–4 April)
Quarter-finals, second leg (10–11 April)
Semi-finals and final
Draw (13 April)
Semi-finals, first leg (24–25 April)
Semi-finals, second leg (1–2 May)
Final, NSC Olimpiyski, Kyiv (26 May)