English Clubs in The Champions League
The English clubs featuring in the knockout stages of the Champions League had a fine outing as they went undefeated in the first leg of their respective matches. Manchester City and Liverpool ran rampant as they won convincingly against FC Basel and FC Porto respectively. Spurs earned two key away goals against Juventus in an exciting 2-2 draw. Chelsea were held 1-1 against Barcelona while Manchester United shut off shop at Sevilla.
FC Basel 0-4 Manchester City
Manchester City dispatched FC Basel in their first game at St. Jakob Park in the first leg with goals from Ikay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero. Ikay Gundodan gave City the lead in the 14thminute with a headed goal. Bernardo Silva doubled the visitor’s lead in the 18th minute. Sergio Aguero scored his 14th goal in this calendar year in the 23rd minute to put the game way past Basel’s reach. Gundogan scored his second of the match in the 53rd minute to make it 4-0. This dominating victory has sent out a strong warning to all the clubs remaining the the Champions League about City’s strengths. They face Basel in the second leg on March 8 at the Etihad stadium.
Juventus 2-2 Tottenham
Tottenham came back from 2 down to level 2-2 against the Old Lady at Turin. Spurs bring back key away goals with them for their re-clash against Juventus at Wembley. The match did not start well for Spurs as they trailed in second minute through a Gonzalo Higuain goal. In the 9th minute, Ben Davies brought down Federico Berneardeschi inside the box. Gonzalo Higuain stepped up to take the penalty and scored. Such start to the match hit Spurs hard however they hit maintained calm and stuck to their game. Harry Kane got the first goal back to Spurs with a dominating header on 35 minutes. Spurs maintained their pressure towards Juventus in the second half and got their equalizing goal in 71st minute through a Christian Eriksen free kick.
FC Porto 0-5 Liverpool
Like Manchester City, Liverpool also enjoyed in their travels in the first leg as they thumped Porto 5-0. Sadio Mane scored a hat trick in the match while Salah and Firmino scored one each. Sadio Mane opened the scoring for the Reds with a low shot which was misjudged by the goalkeeper which went underneath him. Salah bagged his goal in the 29th minute looping the ball over the keeper and placing it past the covering defender. Mane scored his second goal after the break on 53 minutes. Firmino got his goal in the 69 minute. Mane completed his hat trick late in the match on 85th minute. Liverpool are the highest scoring team in the Champions League this season.
Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona
This was one of the most awaited matches for viewers all over the world as Chelsea took on Barcelona at Stamford Bridge. The match was end to end as both team fought hard to have the upper hand in the tie. Willian hit the post twice in the match before getting the goal that gave his side the lead on 62 minutes. Eden Hazard had some good chances in the match which he put over the bar before. Barcelona equalized in the 75th minute as some miscommunication in the Chelsea back line gifted Iniesta a chance which he passed on to Lionel Messi which he converted confidently. The game presented plenty of chances of both sides to get the winning goal however that did not happen. Chelsea travel to the Catalan on March 15 for the second leg.
Sevilla 0-0 Manchester United
Manchester United held Sevilla ta 0-0 in their away leg. The match was closely contested in which both sides had good chances of taking the lead and clinching the match. David De gea was in good form convinced to preserve his clean sheet. United’s defense were also calm and put out any serious chance created by the home side. United had a few chances of their own to take the lead as well. Romelu Lukaku put the ball into the net however the goal was disallowed for handball.
Manchester City look strong on paper as well on the pitch with their attacking prowess and smooth playing style. They are in a strong position in the League and they show no signs at all of stopping. They are considered among the top contenders to win the Champions League. Liverpool’s strong showing in the recent matches puts them among the strongest teams in the competition who can beat any team on their day. They seem like the dark horse to win this season who can win the competition.
Tottenham’s comeback against Juventus puts them among the teams to be feared list as well. Tottenham possess quality players who can destroy any team at a given day. Chelsea’s good showing after their recent slump puts them a good light. They flaunt a star studded squad with quality bench. My concern remains over Manchester United who have been unsure of how to approach every match. Paul Pogba’s recent issues with the manager brings further problems in their ranks. However, Jose Mourinho’s management cannot be underestimated as he has proven time and again in the past that he is a winning manager.