Champions League is undoubtedly the biggest event in European club football and looking at the quality of teams, it’s best in the world. Champions League Round of 16 ended today demonstrating how beautiful the game of football is. Total of 16 matches were played in the span of one month:
- Real Madrid vs Napoli
- Arsenal vs Bayern Munich
- Barcelona vs PSG
- Borussia Dortmund vs Benfica
- Juventus vs FC Porto
- Leicester City vs Sevilla FC
- AS Monaco vs Manchester City
- Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen.
Barcelona started the Round of 16 with a shocking 4-0 away defeat to PSG. High pressing PSG dominated the game till the final whistle scoring 4 goals, thanks to a brace from Di Maria, and a goal each from Draxler and Cavani. PSG were successfully able to prevent the dangerous attacking trio MSN from penetrating through their defence. On the other hand, Benfica won Borussia Dortmund 1-0 at home, the only goal being scored by Kostas Mitroglou.
Real Madrid started the first leg on a high note with a 3-1 win over Napoli on home. Although the score was opened by Lorenzo Insigne for Napoli, Real Madrid fought back to score three goals, thanks to a goal each from Benzema, Kroos, and Casemiro. It was quite a great day for Madrid as the arch rivals Barcelona had crashed a day before. On the same day, Bayern Munich thrashed Arsenal 5-1 at home with a goal each from Robben, Lewandowski, and Muller and a brace from Thiago Alcántra. Arsenal’s horror Champions League repeated, and Sanchez scored the only goal for Arsenal.
A week later, Atletico Madrid visited Bayer Leverkusen and defeated them, the game ending with high score line 4-2. A goal each from Saúl Ñíguez, Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro, and old warrior Fernando Torres canceled a goal from Karim Bellarbi and an own goal from Steven Savic to take the two-goal lead and four away goal advantage for Atletico in the second leg. There was another high scoring game same day as Monaco visited Manchester City and ended up with the final score of 5-3 with City ending on the higher note, but Monaco too had three crucial away goals.
Juventus played an away tie against FC Porto and got the victory with two crucial away goals by Marko Pjaca and ex-Barcelona star Dani Alves. On the other hand, Sevilla got the victory at home over Premier League Champions Leicester with scoreline 2-1. Jamie Vardy scored an away goal to take some positives back to the second leg in King Power Stadium.
Real Madrid got an easy victory over Napoli finishing 6-2 on aggregate with the man of the moment Ramos scoring two headers. Arsenal who lost their hope on the first leg were again heavily defeated by German Champions with the aggregate score of 10-2, the heaviest defeat on Champions League to any English side.
Barcelona were to create a miracle to reach the quarter-final, and no team in the history had ever overcome the 4-0 first leg deficit. But, they were Barcelona, and with the best player in the world in the squad, they had the ray of hope. They started pressing high from the first minute and got their first goal on 3 minutes as Suarez gets in through a header. Within an hour of a game, they had three goals, thanks to a great effort from Iniesta to force an own goal and a penalty from Messi. After the hopes were shattered by Cavani’s goal, Barcelona had to score three goals with thirty minutes to go. And, it seemed as Barcelona’s campaign ended until Neymar scored from a brilliant free kick in the 88th minute. Neymar then, scored after Suarez won a penalty in the 90th minute before setting a goal for Sergio Roberto at the dying seconds to complete a miracle. Barcelona finished 6-5 on aggregate against PSG to reach the quarter-final.
Borussia Dortmund finished 4-1 aggregate against Benfica by getting all the four goals after coming from 1-0 first leg deficit. Juventus finished 3-0 on aggregate by winning FC Porto 1-0 on the second leg. Leicester City coming from a goal deficit from the first leg scored two goals on home to continue their fairy tale to the quarter-final of the Champions League.
Atletico Madrid with a two-goal lead from first leg deficit played a 0-0 draw against Bayer Leverkusen on the second leg to reach the quarter-final. On the other hand, Monaco came back from two-goal first leg deficit to win Manchester City with an aggregate score of 6-6 and reaching the quarter-final with an away goal advantage.
And, here ends the Champions League Round of 16 with the following teams qualifying for the quarter-final:
Champions League draw for the quarter-final will take place on the morning of Friday, 17th March 2017. It gets under way at 11 am GMT and will be broadcasted from Nyon, Switzerland.