Story By: Nathaniel Rivas
Just when you think you know everything, sports prove the world wrong. We saw it in the past year in the NFL, NCAA, NBA and MLB. The 2nd Leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League followed in the same fashion. Some teams continued to dominate, while other teams won in an unthinkable way. Yes, I am talking about Barcelona, but it wasn’t the only upset. All facts are reported from the UEFA Champions League website.
Bayern Müchen rules, Real Madrid soars
March 7 – Arsenal FC scored first in the 2nd Leg matchup with Bayern Müchen, but the storyline and score faired the same result. Bayern responded with five goals and stamped its place in the quarterfinals with a 10-2 aggregate. Arsenal’s red card in the 53rd minute sparked the scoring spree for Bayern. Robert Lewandowski netted the penalty kick. Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa both scored, followed by two goals from Arturo Vidal.
Real Madrid CF cruised to the next round with another 3-1 victory over SSC Napoli. Sergio Ramos delivered yet another header goal for Madrid, and an own goal by Napoli and a goal from Álvaro Morata sealed the match. The champions move closer and closer back towards the winner’s circle.
Dortmund shows up, Barcelona shocks the world
March 8 – Borussia Dortmund came out kicking and screaming in their 4-0 victory over SL Benefica. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed the hat-trick, and the 18-year-old American sensation Christian Pulisic added to the team’s dominance. Dortmund left no doubt in why the team deserves to be in the quarterfinals.
The biggest storyline (again) revolves around FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain but not in PSG’s favor. Barcelona did the impossible: come back from a 4-0 aggregate deficit and advance. A 6-1 score propelled Barcelona into the next round. Goals came from all three big men (Lionel Messi, Neymar with two and Luis Suarez), but Sergio Roberto was the hero with a goal in the last seconds of stoppage time. Somehow and some way, Barcelona is in the quarterfinals.
Juventus advances, Leicester comes alive
March 14 – Juventus Football Club added to its aggregate total with a 1-0 victory over FC Porto. Juventus is the only team to hold its opponent scoreless in both legs of the tournament this year. The team dominated from the beginning with 66 percent possession and a goal from Paulo Dybala.
Leicester City FC turned its unlucky odds around and defeated Sevilla FC 2-0 and won on the 3-2 aggregate. Sevilla received a red card in the 74th minute, but this was after the two goals were scored for Leicester. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel played another fantastic game and helped carry the English champions into the next round.
Atlético ties for victory, Monaco stuns Manchester City
March 15 – Club Atlético de Madrid utilized its tie against Bayer 04 Leverkusen to advance into the quarterfinals. Coming in on a 4-2 aggregate, Atlético had to simply protect their lead. Leverkusen seemed to win the game on paper with 18 shots and 55 percent possession, but none of the shots found the back of the net. Atlético now finds itself in its fourth consecutive year in the quarterfinals.
After winning 5-3 in the 1st Leg, Manchester City FC needed a small margin of victory to advance. Instead, AS Monaco FC won the second match 3-1 and pulled the aggregate to 6-6. Since Monaco had three away goals compared to City’s one, Tiemoué Bakayoko of Monaco rescued the team in the 77th minute with his header. Monaco earned the right to the quarterfinals.
The game is truly never over until it’s over. In case you forgot from the past year in sports, Barcelona reminded you once more. Even after an away goal from PSG seemed to seal its fate, Barcelona found a way to continue fighting, and Sergio Roberto will forever be the hero of this match.
Man of the Week:
Neymar. The man brought a stellar performance for Barcelona scoring two goals in three minutes and had the assist on the final goal for the team. Despite what people may think of Neymar and any issues off the pitch, Neymar showed up on the big stage once more.
— Neymar Messi Fans ⚽ (@Fc_barcelona_Gr) March 19, 2017
The quarterfinal draw is as follows: Atlético vs. Leicester, Dortmund vs. Monaco, Bayern vs. Real Madrid and Juventus vs. Barcelona. Matches begin on April 11.
Featured Image Courtesy of UEFA Champions League