Champions League: Round of 16 (Day 2)

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The last day of this week’s Champions League match ups has finally come to an end. And the most anticipated round of 16 match between PSG and Real Madrid did not disappoint.

FC Porto 0-5 Liverpool

Liverpool took care of business on the road just like Manchester City did yesterday. The goals kept falling to this dangerous offense, Mane bagged the hat trick, while Salah and Bobby Firmino got one each as well. Liverpool took the wheel and never let go, the goals kept coming and the defense held strong with a clean sheet. With this help Liverpool will be able to focus much less on the return leg and focus more on the league.

Real Madrid 3-1 Paris Saint-Germaine

Real Madrid gets the win at home, and what a way to do it. This round of 16 draw is gonna be a big decider for the fate of each manager, with each team having so much pressure to perform in this tournament. Both teams started the game quite aggressively, not always characteristic of the first leg of a draw. Leading to the first half ending in a tie, with PSG netting that crucial away goal.

There’s a couple things that Unai Emery is going to think here at the half time, this Real Madrid team hasn’t been in the best goal scoring form, and you already have the away goal, a 1-1 result would be great to take home. So at the 66th minute he takes out Cavani and puts in Meunier, a very defensive minded substitution. In my opinion, as soon as you make the decision that attacking isn’t a priority, you’re at a huge disadvantage, you cannot trust a team with the quality of Real Madrid to not have multiple great chances for 20 minutes.

Now here’s where Zidane made the right choice, between the 68th and 79th minute, he makes three key offensive substitutes bringing in Vazquez, Bale and Asensio. Instead of being complacent he pushed for another goal knowing the return leg at PSG was going to be as challenging as it gets. Asensio makes an instant impact, and passes the ball into the corridor of uncertainty where Ronaldo hits it home off his knee. To put the icing on top Marcelo scores one more time to make it three, his work rate this game was nothing short of incredible.

The whole entire defense of Real Madrid shined this game, Varane made multiple great clearances, and Ramos made many goal saving blocks maybe preventing some goals that could’ve thrown the momentum of this match the other way.

PSG’s goal keeper Areola was having a great game right up until those last goals, and Emery’s attempt to salvage the game with the Draxler substitution was too little too late.

Real Madrid is in a great position to go through now, but it would be a mistake to count out a team with as much talent as PSG, it’s gonna be a nail biter.

Both return legs for these fixtures will be played on March 6th.

 

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