UCL holders Madrid sent packing: Champions League review & preview

WINDHOEK, MARCH 11 – The exit of title holders Real Madrid was the major story coming out of the midweek action in the UEFA Champions League, while Manchester United completed a historic comeback against Paris Saint-Germain.

Real looked strong favourites to advance into the quarterfinal and keep up their hunt for a fourth straight European crown, as they entered their home clash with Ajax enjoying a 2-1 aggregate lead. But over the next 90 minutes, the Spanish giants were torn apart by a younger, hungrier team and ended up on the wrong side of a 4-1 (5-3 on aggregate) score line.

Ajax players Daley Blind (L) and Matthijs de Ligt (R) celebrate their victory against Real Madrid at the end of a UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match played at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, 05 March 2019. EPA/RODRIGO JIMENEZ

Their shocking exit from the Champions League followed within days of back-to-back losses against Barcelona which put them out of the Copa del Rey and La Liga title race, meaning manager Santiago Solari is surely set for the axe sooner rather than later.

As for Ajax and their wonderful showing, manager Erik ten Hag labelled it “pretty close to perfection”. He added, “Everything was right, we won over two matches and we were able to play football today, we showed that we have a very good team.

“Dusan Tadic was a great target man and made a nice goal but I do not want to specifically highlight one player, the whole team was fantastic, and we have to build on that. A number of experts questioned this, but this is historic.”

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Tottenham’s Harry Kane celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur in Dortmund, Germany, 05 March 2019. EPA/ARMANDO BABANI

Tuesday night saw Tottenham Hotspur weather a first-half siege from Borussia Dortmund before running out 1-0 winners to secure a 4-0 overall triumph, while Wednesday’s matches were headlined by a historic win for Manchester United.

Manchester’s Romelu Lukaku celebrates during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between PSG and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris, France, 06 March 2019. EPA/JULIEN DE ROSA

The Red Devils became the first team in the competition’s history to advance after having lost the first leg of a knockout match at home by two or more goals. Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the first half, before a controversial late penalty from Marcus Rashford secured a 3-1 win away to Paris Saint-Germain and progression for the English side on away goals.

The other tie on Wednesday went to extra time, as Porto claimed a 3-1 win (4-3 on aggregate) to eliminate Roma from the competition.

FC Porto’s Alex Telles (R) and Moussa Marega celebrates a goal against Roma during their Champions League last-16 second leg soccer match, held at Dragao stadium, Porto, Portugal, 06 March 2019. EPA/FERNANDO VELUDO

The Champions League will complete its last 16 ties with four further second-leg matches next midweek, March 12-13. First up, Manchester City are expected to ease past Schalke as they enter their home leg with a 3-2 advantage, while Juventus have a mountain to claim as they look to break down Atletico Madrid’s resilient defence and recover from a 2-0 defeat in the Spanish capital last month.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (R) and Lyon’s Memphis Depay (C) in action during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Olympique Lyonnais and FC Barcelona at the Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, France, 19 February 2019. EPA/SEBASTIEN NOGIER

Wednesday’s games see Barcelona and Bayern Munich looking to make the most of home advantage as they host Olympique Lyon and Liverpool respectively. Both first leg games ended goalless.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (left) and Bayern Munich’s David Alaba battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match at Anfield, Liverpool.

UEFA Champions League results, 5-6 March
Final aggregate score in parenthesis

Tuesday 5 March
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (0-4)
Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (3-5)

Wednesday 6 March
Paris Saint-Germain 1-3 Manchester United (3-3 – United won on away goals)
Porto 3-1 Roma AET (4-3)

UEFA Champions League fixtures, 12-13 March
All times CAT, aggregate scores in parenthesis

Tuesday 12 March
22:00: Manchester City v Schalke (3-2) – LIVE on SS6
22:00: Juventus v Atletico Madrid (0-2) – LIVE on SS5, Max1 & SS Play

Wednesday 13 March
22:00: Barcelona v Olympique Lyon (0-0) – LIVE on SS8, Max2 & SelGo4
22:00: Bayern Munich v Liverpool (0-0) – LIVE on SS5, Max1 & SS Play –

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