While Cristiano Ronaldo pulled off another Champions League miracle, Bayern Munich had one of their worst ever nights – here are the week’s winners and losers
The most criticised man in Italy for the past two weeks had his personal revenge. And what an emphatic way to do it. Keeping his calm throughout the criticism storm stemming from the 2-0 defeat in the first leg against Atletico Madrid, the Juventus coach planned and then executed the perfect tactical masterclass, to get the most out of his men and to annihilate Diego Simeone’s Colchoneros. A tremendous comeback. Perfection.
The executor of Allegri’s plan. Get crosses whipped into the box, and he’ll get the job done. Two headers that are wonder strikes, considering the elevation and the ability to direct the football on target.
Another hat-trick against Atletico Madrid, who are his favourite victims. Ronaldo kicked out Juventus last season with that incredible bicycle kick – now he is the man that could lead the Bianconeri to glory.
When a Pep Guardiola side finds a soft opponent and gets everything right, the outcome is a result like the 7-0 demolition of Schalke 04. The Germans had little chance of progressing anyway – after the 3-2 home defeat in Gelsenkirchen – but Guardiola’s men made it a glorious evening, netting seven, and doing so with a majestic Leroy Sané and a lethal Sergio Aguero. The main men for City at the moment.
Two goals scored, two assists served. The best possible reply to Cristiano Ronaldo, as Barcelona demolished Lyon 5-1 and booked a place in the quarter-finals. The Argentinian’s second was a thing of beauty, dribbling past two opponents with a single move, then beating the keeper. A classic Messi goal. Sublime.
Every single Atletico Madrid player struggled. And so did Diego Simeone, unable to have his usual fighting team and unable to make the right changes from the bench. But if there is one man who once again disappeared in front of his majesty Cristiano Ronaldo, that’s Griezmann.
The French World Champion remains an outstanding player, he just – quoting him – “Picked the wrong night to f**k up.” It happens, but his impotence and inability to make something special happen were deep in Atletico’s problems. He didn’t show up, and won’t have a second chance.
Fine, Schalke were essentially already out after the first leg, but to concede 10 goals in two matches, including seven in a single 90 minutes, at Champions League level, is almost disgraceful. It happens – especially against a side as talented and thirsty as Manchester City – but a team that reaches the Round of 16 in Europe’s top competition should be able to do better than this.
The defensive display at Anfield had resulted in a solid away draw. The defensive display in Munich lead to a fearful performance, and a dreadful 3-1 defeat at home. Niko Kovac’s men never gave the idea of being able to qualify, as Liverpool went in front and cruised to the quarter-finals. Too easy.
He was meant to be the next best number nine, back in the day when he was at Borussia Dortmund. With the goalless double-legged encounter against Liverpool, he has now gone seven Champions League knockout matches without scoring. Simply not good enough.