24 - 02
By Guillaume Mahot
The first leg games of 8th finals of Champions’ League played on the last two weeks gave birth to contradictory feelings for the sixteen teams involved in the tournament. While certain clubs can, without haughtiness, already think of a quarter final, some others are filled up with doubts and fears before the second round planned in early March.
Bayern, City and Liverpool should be present in quarter finals unless cataclysm. The teammates of Senegalese striker Sadio Mané (Liverpool), who scored his first hat trick in Champions’ League against Porto, kicked out the Portuguese squad of Cameroonian forward Vincent Aboubakar 5-0 (in Porto!) and leave their adversary practically no hope for the next confrontation in Anfield Road. Egyptian Mohamed Salah scored as well for the Reds.
Bayern Munich defeated Besiktas Istanbul 5-0 at home too, while Manchester City of Ivorian Yaya Touré (who did not play) blew up FC Basel of Ivorian Serey Dié 4-0 in Switzerland. Who could bet on a qualification for Porto, Istanbul or Basel now?
Real Madrid is in a leading but indecisive position after the win 3-1 against PSG in Santiago Bernabeu. Spoiled by a failed end of game, Paris still has chances to pass provided they win 2-0 in France, but the task seems delicate when facing Cristiano Ronaldo, current best scorer of the competition with eleven goals.
Barcelona, who got the draw in Chelsea (1-1) thanks to the first goal of Lionel Messi against the Blues in career, took a small advantage before the second leg game in Camp Nou. The Chelsea of Nigerian Victor Moses did their utmost in a game mastered and controlled by the Blaugrana in Stamford Bridge. Same small advantage as well for Shakhtar Donetsk against AS Roma (2-1): a 1-0 could qualify the Italians.
Juventus Turin of Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah may have regrets after having led 2-0 (two goals from Higuain) against Tottenham Hotspurs of Ivorian right back Serge Aurier, who provoked a penalty kick during the game. Rejoined 2-2 eventually, the Bianconeri will be eliminated at the kick-off in London within two weeks.
At last, Seville and Manchester United drew 0-0, leaving anything possible in Old Trafford for the return. Ivorian central defender Eric Bailly was sitting on the bench, Lindelöf and Smalling being fielded by José Mourinho at the first whistle blow of French referee Clément Turpin.