Champions League First Leg Recap
The first leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League has finished and what a weird round of games it was. I’m going to preface this whole article with the fact I went 2-5 in bets during this round so if it seems I have bias towards a certain team, they probably fucking blew it. Can’t wait for the intervention my family inevitably throws for me in the coming weeks. My gambling problem is a lot less of an issue than Luis Suarez’s goal scoring problem. We probably should’ve seen it coming as horses generally fall off after 3-4 years. Without further ado, let us take a bite out of the first round and give us something to chew on for the second leg.
PSG – 2 : United – 0
United critics finally got something tangible to latch onto as a bare bones PSG went into the Theatre of Dreams and pretty much secured passage into the quarterfinals. PSG are not known for blowing big 2nd leg leads in the Champions League so this second leg should really just be a formality. United just couldn’t do anything in this game after the first 20 minutes. The midfield of PSG and specifically Marco Verratti just dominated the game from that point on. Sources say that Verratti hadn’t slept for 5 days straight before giving a masterclass at Old Trafford. In fairness to United, Martial and Lingard getting hurt did not help them. Add in the fact that PSG had a full team healthy and you can see why PSG scored twice. Kimbempe got the first goal off a corner when he probably should’ve been sent off already. I say probably because I can see why it wouldn’t be a card, the only problem is United got a card moments earlier for doing almost the exact same thing. If only we had VAR. Mbappe got the second and wow if you blinked, you might’ve missed him covering 10 yards in a second.
Seriously just how fucking fast is this dude? He’s faster than Alexis Sanchez’s loss of talent. To cap off a night of good feelings Pogba got a stupid red card. Martial, Lindgard, Martial are all out for the second leg. Not a good look for Ole and co but stranger things have happened.
Tottenham – 3 : Dortmund – 0
Ballsy performance by Tottenham without a ton of key guys. It was a sluggish first half for both teams with the exception of Jadon Sancho. This kid is the real deal and was putting on a show for his Wembley homecoming. Second half was all Spurs with goals coming from Son, Vertonghen and Llorente. Yeah you read that right Fernando Llorente scored a champions league goal. Man of the match had to be Jan Vertonghen who played on the left side and actually looked like a competent wing back. His inch perfect cross into Son for the first goal was magical and his volley for the second goal was sublime. Maybe he was in the wrong position the whole time. Dortmund are in some serious shit right now both in Europe and domestically. They can’t score or hold a lead to save their children’s lives. I can’t see them putting 3 past Tottenham in the second leg. Go on you Spurs!
City – 3 : FC Schalke – 2
This was the craziest game of the stage. Sergio Aguero opened the scoring early after a howler from Schalke GK, Fahrmann. Credit to Schalke they did settle in and wound up getting a penalty after a VAR review that took longer than a wait at the DMV. I don’t love the call honestly and its not because I’ve been a City fan since I was born (2012). Otamendi’s arm is in a natural position and he is moving it away from the shot. He had no time to move it anywhere and it barely made him bigger. Also, if you slow down every handball instance it’s going to look worse than it was. Anyway, that made it 1-1 and then Schalke got another PK and went up 2-1. Fernandinho just made a bad mistake here and pulled down Sane in the box. Didn’t love Pep going Fernandinho at center back and Laporte on the left. Seemed a bit of a push but I know it worked against Arsenal so I will believe in him going forward. As City dominated possession Schalke dropped further and further back. Alas, Otamendi has too much respect for Fernandinho and couldn’t let the game end with him making the dumbest foul. Second yellow on a foul that impacted nothing, and City were down to 10 men with 20 minutes left. Schalke kept sitting back however and enter Leroy Sane. He bangs an absolute cock shot off pipe and in from 30 yards out to tie the game.
City weren’t done there as Ederson wanted to get in on the action. Just your casual 80-yard bomb from the keeper to Sterling who made no mistake about the finish. Schalke have to be kicking themselves for not trying to play with City after they went down to 10 men. Fernandinho and Otamendi miss next leg due to card suspension but City should still have this locked up. Shout out to Weston McKennie for making us Americans look good against the best team in the world.
Real – 2 : Ajax – 1
More VAR controversy in this one as Real squeaked past a fun and young Ajax side. Ajax thought they had the opener in the first half but after a VAR review it was correctly determined Courtwat was impeded. It’s shitty for Ajax fans but it did seem like the right call for me. From there Real got the opener through Karim Benzema. The play was made by Vinicius though and wow he’s good. He was causing terror down that left side for most of the game. Ajax did get an equalizer though and 1-1 going back to the Bernabeau didn’t seem too bad. Enter Marco Asensio. A brilliant cross by Carvajal saw Real go through with a goal advantage. They also covered the spread. Two away goals in huge for Madrid but I wouldn’t count this Ajax team out. They don’t have a lot to lose and the talent is clearly there.
Juventus 0 – Atletico 2
Atletico and Diego Simeone may have figured this Champions League thing out huh. A solid and albeit dominating effort from the other Madrid and Juventus are suddenly staring at an early exit. Ronaldo was completely locked up in this one as was much of Juve. Atletico knew Juve would be focused on their strikers, so they relied on their centerbacks to score both goals. Simeone really is an innovator. I mean look at this celly, giving Klopp a run for his money.
In truth this was a huge performance from Atleti and something to give confidence going into the second leg. Juventus have to figure out how to score and I’m not sure they will with the wall Madrid have. We should just put Oblak, Godin and Jimenez on our border. Hopefully no one is reading at this point. Alright, Atleti to advance after a 1-0 Juventus win in 2 weeks.
Games that sucked:
Liverpool 0 – Bayern 0
Snoozefest. Liverpool had more chances to score than Dan Bilzerian on a vacation but couldn’t close. Bayern did a whole lot of nothing, but I think that was the plan for the most part. Getting out of Anfield with no goals allowed is always a good result. But the away goal aspect seems too important to not go for it at all. Especially since Van Dick was out you really could’ve taken advantage of that. I’m still in the belief that Liverpool get through, listen they rarely have trouble scoring and they will get chances at the Aliianz. Convert on a few of those chances and you’re through. Bayern still have a lot of work to do.
Barcelona 0 – Lyon 0
Wow this was a clash of teams that could score, and this ended without a goal as well. What a great Tuesday this was, soccer the sport of the future. Barcelona missed quite a few chances and Lyon hit the post once, but this was mostly Barcelona dominating possession and Luis Suarez shitting on the badge and my bank account. He missed a prime chance late on, blazing over the bar from 12 yards out and his form lately is coming dangerously close to Alexis Sanchez. It’s a disappointing result from Messi and co but they’ll be fine coming back to the legendary Nou Camp just needing a win to move on. Barcelona gets through, I know going out on a limb here.
Games Not worth watching:
Roma 2 – Porto 1
I’d be lying if I said I even bet on this one. Either team that gets through will be eliminated. There’s some deep analysis for you. I seriously doubt that any of the 20 people that read this are Porto or Roma fans so honestly who cares.
Check back next week for predictions that won’t come true! Much love everyone.
Don’t know why I said that oh well let’s end on this viral video of kids loving fortnite.