Champions League 1st Knockout Round
We had 4 huge games this week as the Champions League returned to our lives no less on Valentine’s Day.
Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund
The Group B runners up Benifca met with Group F winners Borussia Dortmund at the Estadio Da Luz. Dortmund superstar, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a terrible night. Instead of leading the line for Thomas Tuchel’s men, the Gabonese international, missed a brilliant chance in the early stages of the first half. He was put through in the 10th minute by Frenchman Ousmane Dembele, however Aubameyang rifled his shot over the bar. Demebele himself, was also denied a goal after a great block from reported Manchester United target, Victor Lindelof. The teams went in at half time all square at 0-0. Within minutes of the restart, the hosts had the upper hand. Pizzi’s corner was headed down by veteran defender Luisao and unmarked former Fulham striker, Kostas Mitroglou needed two attempts before he scored the games opening and only goal. With the score 1-0 to the home side, BVB pushed forward before Aubameyang suffered another embarrassment. This time, he received the ball in the opposition box and with only keeper to beat he again shot high over the frame of the goal. The Dortmund striker was given another opportunity to save his blushes, this time from a penalty. Aubemyang went straight down the middle and Ederson saved with ease. With Andre Schurrle warming up, it seemed Tuchel had seen enough as he brought off his star man. The hosts take a 1-0 lead to the Signal Iduna Park, however I quite fancy to Dortmund to turn things around at home and hopefully Aubameyang can find his form again.
Paris Saint Germain vs FC Barcelona
This game is becoming a regular occurrence in European Football, and I can’t say I don’t enjoy it. Two star studded teams with lots of firepower and there is always goals in this fixture. This one pits the French Ligue 1 Champions against La Liga Champions. The hosts absolutely dominated this one. A stunning free kick from former Real Madrid man Angel Di Maria, opened the scoring for the home side giving them an early 1-0 lead. Before the break the hosts struck again this time through Julian Draxler to make it 2-0. The German was one of many PSG stars to shine on the night it was an all round brilliant performance. The Parisians went into the break 2-0 up. Not long after the break, Di Maria curled in another free kick making it 3-0. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani also got in on the act completing the rout with a close range finish to make it 4-0. This was a massacre.
I fully expect PSG to see out there tie, and make it through to the next round however I wouldn’t be too surprised if BVB turned their game around and won the next leg.