Champions League enters second week of knockout play
The second week of the round of 16 didn’t give us many surprises when it came to results, but these games set the table for intense second leg games in the fight to become champions of Europe.
In the first game Spain’s Atletico Madrid visited the German side Bayer Leverkusen. Athletic were not phased by the the home crowd at the BayArena and took control of the game right from kickoff scoring their first goal on the 17th minute from a brilliant piece of individual play from Saul. They kept applying the pressure and, in the 25th, Gameiro found Antoine Griezmann for the easy tap in and a 2-0 lead going into the second half.
Leverkusen came out firing and made it a one goal game when Bellarabi flicked in a cross, however the lead was made larger when a questionable penalty was awarded to Atletico which Gameiro put away with ease. The game was made slightly more interesting when the ball found its way into the Atletico goal off the foot of one of their own defenders but Fernando Torres sealed the deal with a 86th minute tally to give the Spaniards a 4-2 win.
Manchester City had its hands full with the French side Monaco, but still managed to score first by way way of Raheem Sterling who was also named Champions League Player of the Week. Monaco roared back and took a 2-1 lead off goals by young stars Falco and Fabinho. Monaco looked deadly on attack going into the second half but it was Man. City and Sergio Aguero who capitalized first in the second half to draw the score level. It was then time for Falco to shine as he skinned Man City defender John Stones off the counter and coolly chipped the keeper to give Monaco the 3-2 advantage over the home squad. However it was Man City who would come out on top 5-3 after scoring two goals from corners, one from Aguero and the other from Stones. Monaco should feel good about their chances as they return to France with three away goals in their backpocket.
The first game of Wednesday saw Italian champions Juventus travel to Porto to handle business. It was clear from the start that Porto was going to try and muck the game up with hard physical play and it cost then early as Alex Tellas picked up two deserved yellow cards leaving the Portuguese with 10 men for most of the match. The the man advantage Juve took complete control and had many chances but came out of the half scoreless. The second half was more control by the Italians, but it took a substitute, Marko Pjaca to break the deadlock in the 72nd just 5 minutes after he entered the game. It continued to be the day for substate goals when Dani Alves scored to make the final score 2-0 giving Juventus a commanding lead going into the second leg.
The final game of the week was between Sevilla and struggling Leicester City who started the game very sloppy almost giving up an own goal in the first 10 minutes. The poor play continued as the English side gave away bad penalty, but was bailed out as Kasper Schmeichel saved the shot. Sevilla looked sharp and focused and their tight play created a great chance that was headed into net by Pedro Sarabia. They made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute off a great run and settle by Stevan Jovetic who then passed it to Correa who slotted it home. Leicester fought back and Jamie Vardy scored a tap in to give the visitors a all important away goal. With the two teams now returning to Leicester City for the second leg this looks to be one match no one should miss.
There are no games with week but be sure to be ready for the second legs of the round of 16 as Barcelona fights to stay alive against PSG on March 7 and Real Madrid looks to march past Napoli March 8.