On Tuesday night, Liverpool and Real Madrid confirmed their place in the quarter-finals of Champions League. In the end, neither tie produced any surprises. Here is what happened on Tuesday night:
Tie already won in the first leg
Liverpool’s last-16 game against Porto on Tuesday night was a bit of a dead-rubber. The Reds had produced an incredible performance to win 5-0 in the away leg, which made the second leg almost unnecessary.
The game ended goalless and rather flat. The biggest talking point of the first half was Sadio Mane hitting the post. In the second half fit-again striker Danny Ings saw a late header tipped over by veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
The game is likely to be Casillas’ last in the Champions League and the whole ground saluted the Spanish legend, who has played a competition high of 171 times. The home fans gave the former Real Madrid a rousing welcome.
Casillas’ may not be featuring in the Champions League any longer, but Liverpool are very much in the competition. At full strength, Jurgen Klopp’s team have the ability to cause any team in the Champions League problems.
Madrid show they are the real deal in Paris
Real Madrid headed into their last-16 second leg tie against PSG 3-1 up from the first leg. The European champions were always favourites to progress and picked up a 2-1 at the Parc des Princes to cruise through to the next round.
After a goalless first half, Real Madrid struck early in the second period. Marco Asensio produced a fine bit of skill to find Lucas Vazquez, who hung a cross up to Cristiano Ronaldo at the far post and the Portuguese superstar headed past Areola.
The goal meant that the home side needed three goals just to take the tie into extra-time. Their task was made even more difficult on 66 minutes when Marco Verratti received a second yellow card for dissent. The home side did equalise on the night on 71 minutes, though. In truth, it was a crappy goal, as the ball ricocheted around the area before hitting Edinson Cavani and bouncing in.
The visitors hit the French team on the counter-attack with just ten minutes remaining to seal the tie. The ball eventually broke to Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro, whose effort from the edge of the box took a double deflection and wrong-footed Areola in the PSG goal.
In the end, the European champions know-how and class told. Los Blancos remain one of the favourites to win the Champions League this season. Meanwhile, the big-spending French giants will have to wait another year for another crack at winning the holy grail of European football, the Champions League.
Wednesday night’s games
Wednesday’s two Champions League last-16 second legs are just like Tuesday games, with one tie all but decided and another one finely balanced.
In Manchester, Manchester City takes on Swiss side Basel, with the Citizens already 4-0 up from the first leg. The game is unlikely to mean much, as City are already preparing for the last eight of the competition.
Elsewhere, Premier League Tottenham host Italian giants Juventus at Wembley. The tie is delicately balanced at 2-2 from the first leg in Turin. There is little to choose between the teams and the tie could go either way.
Who will qualify for the Champions League last eight?