The long-awaited restart of Europe’s finest club tournament left nobody disappointed and we’re already looking forward to more. This week gave us both crushing defeats and truly nail-biting top-class action, from some of the very best in the game. This article brings you some of the highlights for each of the 4 Champions League games played this week.
Basel – Manchester City
In a rather one-sided contest City showed us why they are a strong title candidate this season. Basel started the game well, with Dimitri Oberlin ending up one on one with goalkeeper Ederson, but not being able to make the most out of it. This was just before City really sunk their teeth in to Basel and they were 3-0 up after just 23 minutes. In the second half, City extended their lead when Ilkay Gundogan scored his second goal of the night, cementing the final score, 4-0.
In three weeks from now, Basel will travel to Manchester, facing a task which is next to impossible.
Juventus – Tottenham
As we mentioned in our previous Champions League article, we held Juventus as narrow favorites on home soil against Tottenham. Our prediction seemed accurate at first, as Juventus started off at a furious pace. Their efforts soon paid off and Juventus found themselves with a 2-0 lead after just 9 minutes.
This turned out to be both a blessing and a curse, as Juventus unintentionally gave away the initiative to Tottenham who slowly took over the game.
Harry Kane scraped one back in the 35th minute after a lose ball was picked up just outside Juventus penalty area. Tottenham kept putting Juventus under pressure, so it was somewhat unexpected when Juventus were awarded a penalty and the chance to make it 3-1, just before half time. Relishing his chance for a hat-trick, Gonzalo Higuain stepped up to the spot, but blasted the ball in the cross bar to the home fans dismay.
In the second half, Tottenham continued where they left off in the first half and it wasn’t in any way unfair when Christian Eriksen scored the equaliser in the 71st minute, which marked the final score.
Tottenham are now slight favourites to go through and it will take something truly special for Juventus to make it to the quarter finals 3 weeks from now.
Porto – Liverpool
In what was expected to be a hard-fought battle, Liverpool did what they do best: adopting a high pressing game right from the kickoff, aimed at forcing the opponents to make mistakes in their own half. And it worked like a charm. Liverpool went 1-0 up after just 25 minutes when Sadio Mane cut inside from the left and fired a shot that just barely slipped through the arms of Porto goalkeeper José Sá. Mohamed Salah doubled the score line just 4 minutes later when he smoothly juggled the ball past the goal line.
Liverpool showed no mercy in the second half as they kept piling on the pressure. Mane added two more goals to his tally plus a Firmino strike, making the final score line a crushing 5-0. Most people held Liverpool as close favourites making it through to the quarter finals, but it was rather surprising to see such a convincing victory away from home.
Real Madrid – PSG
This was the game that everyone was looking forward to. A true clash of the titans. Record winners and title holders Real Madrid against French giants, PSG – the biggest transfer spenders during the last few years. This was a game that nobody wanted to miss!
A Real Madrid under firm pressure this season started the game at a phrenetic pace, playing with a lot of heart in front of their home crowd. Ronaldo came close on a couple of occasions. Toni Kroos fired one away just outside the penalty area. El Blancos initial dominance slowly faded as Neymar and co slowly worked themselves in to the game. And in the 33rd minute, it was PSG who scored 1-0 after a brilliant move by young starlet Mbappe. The ball was flicked back by Neymar to Adrien Rabiot, who made no mistake as he gently put the ball in the back of the net.
But with the help of the home fans, Real kept pushing on and just before half time, Kroos went down and a penalty was given. Ronaldo opted for power as he firmly placed the ball in the goalkeeper’s right-hand corner.
Going in to half time, it was still anyone’s game. The second half started just like the first one ended, with chances flourishing on both ends and for long spells, PSG looked like the most likely winner. But then it happened; a deflected cross found its way on to the knee of Christiano Ronaldo, who made it 2-1 in the 83rd minute. PSG barely got the chance to recover before it happened again – enthusiastic wing back, Marcelo, made it 3-1, with Real again making their way through PSG’s right flank.
This game gave us gave us everything we could have hoped for…and more!
After a spectacular first week, we’re already longing for more Champions League action. Luckily, we don’t have to wait for long, as the tournament continues next week already. In our next article, we will bring you everything you need to know about next week’s games and maybe even our predictions for what’s promising to be another spectacular football week.