Cristiano Ronaldo made a case for the competition being named after his in as Barcelona did the business in Old Trafford. Here are the Champions League winners and losers
Call it the Cristiano League. Now on 125 Champions League goals, 24 of which have been scored in 21 quarter-final games, having scored in 11 seasons in the Champions League final eight. Unique. Once again, Ronaldo showed the world one of his specialities, scoring a majestic header to give Juventus a fundamental away goal.
The 1-1 home result isn’t great, obviously. But in the Johan Cruyff Arena the result is secondary. Once again Ajax offered the world a phenomenal performance, with one of the youngest and more entertaining sides around.
Another goal should have been scored for the amount of chances produced, but playing the same spectacular football in Turin could see them progress, with a bit of luck. And even if they don’t, they will be remembered for the team’s style and philosophy.
He might be a bit crazy at times off the pitch, but Lloris is the World Cup-winning goalkeeper for a reason. That save on Aguero’s penalty could prove to be decisive in the outcome of this double-legged encounter.
The beauty of the Blaugrana is that they make it look easy. Go to Old Trafford, play an average game, come out with no goals conceded and an away goal scored. Lionel Messi’s pass leading to the goal is the stuff of dreams, then Gerard Pique’s man of the match performance locked up the result for Ernesto Valverde’s men.
They were the luckiest in the draw, and made no mistake on the night. The 2-0 victory at Anfield is the ideal going into the second leg at Porto, where things will be slightly tougher.
Ajax were dominant for most of the game, yet the Bianconeri could have won it. Juve suffered from beginning to end, with the fresh pressing and passing game of the Dutch being key.
Ajax had 18 shots and didn’t score more than once, but will play the same style in Turin and could give Juventus a hell of a difficult time. Had Douglas Costa scored that late chance – where he hit the post – then the Bianconeri could already be planning the semi-final.
It looked like Pep just wanted to get a scrappy result, a draw or narrow win and then demolish Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium. It didn’t quite go the right way, as Spurs were dominant in their brand new home and managed to not concede whilst scoring one, putting themselves at an advantage looking at the second leg. Why did Guardiola bring in Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane at the 89th minute? A mystery.
His presence was a doubt until the very end, then he was deemed fit to start against Spurs. In hindsight, it would have been better to rest him initially. Aguero had the massive chance to score from the spot the away goal City needed. He missed it.
Teams used to go at Old Trafford and struggle to score, let alone get a result or a victory with a clean sheet. After Juventus in the group stages and Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, Barcelona came out with a win without conceding in Manchester.
The drought away from home in Europe continues. His last away goal in the Champions League is now three years ago. Everyone thought he had scored at Old Trafford, but it turns out it was a Luke Shaw own goal. Maybe next time?