Three more teams qualified for the Champions League round of 16 this Tuesday. After PSG, Juventus and Bayern had done so three weeks ago, now Real Madrid, Tottenham, and Manchester City also secured their places.
Besides that, the highlights are definitely the 4 goals scored by Super Robert Lewandowski, as the Polish striker continues on the peak of his form. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s Spurs made a great comeback, from 2×0 down, with the Special One getting his changes on point at the break.
Real Madrid 2 x 2 Paris Saint Germain
One of the must-watch games of last Tuesday was Real Madrid against PSG. In Paris, Real was embarrassed 3×0, but with the Ligue 1 champions already qualified, ‘Los Blancos’ needed a single point to go through as well.
The 13 times Champions League winners made sure they look better this time, as they opened the deadlock in the middle of the first half. Karim Benzema scored the goal, which was the first one conceded by PSG in Champions League this season.
Then, at the end of the first half, there was some controversy, as Courtois came out of the goal, apparently fouling Icardi. The referee rushed into his pocket for a red card and a consequent penalty.
But after the VAR review, he took back, as Marcelo had been fouled before that sequence of events. So, instead of a red card for Real Madrid, the decision was a free kick in their favor.
Keylor Navas, who swapped Madrid for Paris last Summer, was an absolute rock at the goal, denying Real’s second multiple times. However, with PSG allowing immense space for Marcelo to cross, Benzema ended up beating his former teammate and scoring his second of the evening.
It looked like the result was wrapped up, with Real having a comfortable 2×0 lead with 10 minutes to go. But, just 5 minutes after Madrid’s second goal, Raphael Varane with some sloppy defense, gifted a goal to Kylian Mbappe.
And before Real could recover from it, PSG would net the equalizer, through Pablo Sarabia.
The home side would have to accept splitting points, although, a draw was enough to guarantee a place in the knockout stages.
Galatasaray 1 x 1 Club Brugge
In a match among the two outsiders of Group A, there was a battle to decide which of the 2 teams will be heading to the Europa League and who is out of European football. Just like in the match in Brugge, the result was even: a draw.
Adem Buyuk opened the score for Galatasaray within the first quarter and it looked like the Turkish team would secure the 3 points. A victory would have been essential for Galatasaray, as it would put them in the pole position for the 3rd place of the group.
However, in the last minute, Krepin Diatta leveled the result for Club Brugge, making it 1-1. In the heat of the moment, perhaps, the Senegalese must have forgotten he already had a yellow card and he celebrated effusively by taking his shirt.
Diatta got sent off and won’t be playing the crucial next game, as well as Clinton Maia who got the second yellow for protests. Brugge ended with 9 men, but they are 1 point ahead of Galatasaray.
Tottenham Hotspurs 4 x 2 Olympiakos
On the first home game in charge of Spurs, Jose Mourinho had the task of getting all 3 points, in order to qualify for the next stage of the competition. The two matches with Red Star Belgrade resulted in 6 points and now all they needed was to beat Olympiakos at home.
However, Spurs appeared sloppy in defense and they had to sweat to come back. Gazzaniga was surprised by El-Arabi’s strong shot in the early minutes of the game and it got even worse when a chaotic defense in a corner, allowed Ruben Semedo to make it 0x2 for Olympiakos.
Mourinho looked concerned in the sidelines, as his fellow Portuguese Pedro Martins, Olympiakos coach, was taking the better of the game.
Jose decided to change things and put all his cards on the table, bringing in a creative midfielder, Eriksen, in exchange for Eric Dier, already in the first 29 minutes. Later he would apologize for such an early substitution, but the ‘Special One’ was right, as the Danish changed the game.
Tottenham pushed through and got rewarded with a goal at the end of the first half, when an Olympiakos defender failed to intercept Aurier cross, leaving Dele Alli alone to finish.
Spurs came reinvigorated from the locker rooms and they immediately leveled up the score, through Harry Kane, after a pass from Lucas Moura.
The comeback would be complete when after a quick ball reposition, Son combined with Serge Aurier to make it 3×2.
It was still time for a 4th goal, as Harry Kane nodded a free-kick from Eriksen. Tottenham is through and Mourinho becomes the first manager to qualify for knockout rounds of Champions League with 6 different teams.
FK Crvena Zvezda 0 x 6 Bayern Munchen
Bayern was already qualified to the next stage of Champions League, following 4 straight victories, but they did not ease up against Crvena Zvezda. In Belgrade, the Germans destroyed the opposition, with an exhibition of the current best striker in the world: Robert Lewandowski.
Goretzka opened the score with a header, before Lewandowski doubling Bayern’s lead at the end of the second half. However, the goal of the Polish striker did not count, as the assisting player, Tolisso was offside.
Lewandowski took revenge into the second half, in 14 minutes that would become part of history. 14 minutes was all it took for Lewa to score 4 goals, 1 one them a penalty and put Bayern leading 5×0.
Not only he became the first player in the history of the competition to score 4 goals in such a short span of time, but he also jumped to the top scorer of the tournament with 10 goals. In total Lewandowski has 27 goals in 19 games, across all competitions for Bayern.
Tolisso finished it up for Bayern, in a memorable night, that consolidated the Bavarians’ first place in group B. Also, with this victory, Hansi Flick takes 4 wins in 4 games since he is in charge as interim coach of Bayern Munich.
Atalanta 2 x 0 Dinamo Zagreb
At the start of matchday 1, Atalanta had a single point in the Champions League and things looked rough for the Italian side. However, they did steal a point from Manchester City and their morale was boosted.
The Serie A table had been destroyed in Zagreb 4×0, but now they looked more confident and they broke the deadlock in the first half. Luis Muriel from the penalty kick chipped it in.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Papu Gomez made it 2×0, securing the first-ever victory for Atalanta. Now, the Italians need to forcefully win in Donetsk and hope that Manchester City defeats Dinamo Zagreb.
Can they still do it?
Manchester City 1 x 1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Even in minimal services, Manchester City guaranteed not only their passport to the next stage of the Champions League but also the first place of group C.
Ilkay Gundogan opened the score in the Etihad, after an assist from Gabriel Jesus. However, in the late minutes, Israeli striker Manor Solomon proved again essential for Shakhtar aspirations, as he rescued a point that puts the Ukrainians in the second place of the group.
A victory over Atalanta, or a draw and a slip from Dinamo Zagreb in the next matchday will guarantee Shakhtar’s presence in the knockout stages.
Juventus 1 x 0 Atletico Madrid
Already with their passport booked for the knockout stages, Juventus hosted Atletico Madrid in a match of summary importance for the ‘colchoneros’. However, Diego Simeone’s men were not able to break the Italian wall and special the Polish keeper Szczesny.
The last match between both was a tight affair, with a late goal from Hector Herrera making it 2×2 in the end. This time, however, the victory smiled to Juventus, who just needed a single moment of magic from Paulo Dybala.
The Argentinian stunned everyone with a perfect free-kick conversion, from a tight angle that guaranteed the 3 points and the 1st place of group D.
Atletico is obligated to win against Lokomotiv Moscow or they are in danger of being demoted to the Europa League.
Lokomotiv Moscow 0 x 2 Bayer Leverkusen
It was the last gasp between Lokomotiv and Leverkusen to decide who would still have a shot of dreaming of qualification in the next matchday. Leverkusen got a moralizing win over Atletico Madrid and the trip to Moscow was crucial.
An early own goal by Rifat Zhemaletdinov gave the lead to the Germans. Bayer would double it in the second half through captain Sven Bender, in a well-timed volley.
Lokomotiv is now officially eliminated from European competitions, while Bayer will need a victory against Juventus and dream of a slip from Atletico.
The Champions League group stages continue this Wednesday with more action happening. Barcelona vs Dortmund and Liverpool vs Napoli are some of the must-watch matches.