UCL Round-Up, Round Of 16 (Second Leg): Barcelona Script Mother Of All Comebacks And More
I still can’t believe what went down last night as I begin to recollect the midweek fixtures from the UEFA Champions League. There has hardly been any comeback as unbelievably dramatic as the one we witnessed at Camp Nou late Wednesday night. For those in this part of the world, who were in deep sleep when the majority of Europe was biting their nails, Barcelona actually reversed their 4-0 first leg defeat at Par des Princes to get the better of Paris Saint Germain 5-1 in the second and in turn advanced to the quarter finals of the tournament on a 6-5 aggregate.
The goal-fest in the Catalonian capital began with some poor defending inside the PSG box that led to Luiz Suarez nodding the ball home in as early as the third minute. After several attempts at the Paris goal, Barca then got their second in the 40th minute after another lapse in defence as Layvin Kurzawa’s mistimed clearance directed the ball in the back of his own net.
Soon after half-time, the Spanish champions then came into touching distance of erasing the 4-goal deficit from the previous leg as Neymar was tripped by a falling Meunier inside the box. After a signal from his assistant, the referee pointed to the spot and Lionel Messi stepped up to successfully convert the opportunity. But there was a twist in the tale as a failed clearance led Edinson Cavani to smash a volley home past a stunned Ter Stegen to get a crucial away goal for the visitors.
And then arrived the 88th minute (!) after which the season was spectator to its maddest spell of seven minutes. Neymar curled in an absolute peach of a free kick into the near post from a very tight angle on the left edge of the box.
With the home side chasing two more goals, Suarez went down after a challenge from Marquinhos to win a controversial penalty that was sent bursting into the net by Neymar again. And then came Sergio Roberto’s late winner in the 95th minute off a long-range pass to seal one of the most spectacular games in Champions League history.
Another day, same result
Another goal-fest this matchday witnessed German powerhouse Bayern Munich humiliate Arsenal by the same scoreline as the first leg. But this was the Emirates and a 5-1 thrashing at home doesn’t bode well for Arsene Wenger’s future at the club.
In response to Theo Walcott’s opener, a goal apiece from Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal’s brace were enough to end all Gunner hopes for a comeback. The fans even went on the shower toilet paper all around the turf in objection to the club’s dismal show.
Talking of repeat scorelines, even defending champions Real Madrid replicated their 3-1 antics away to oust Napoli 6-2 on aggregate. Dries Mertens scored on both sides of the pitch while Sergio Ramos got his 100th goal for the club and Alvaro Morata sealed the scoring in stoppage time.
Borussia Dortmund also entered the last eight of the tournament thanks to a hat trick from their star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. They overcame a 1-0 first leg loss to win 4-1 on aggregate against Portuguese big shots Benfica.
Images: Club Facebook pages