Tuesday, 14 February 2017

UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - Matchday Report - Day 1

In this match day report we are going to cover the UEFA Champions league Round of 16 matches. Two matches took place the other day and one of it was the clash of heavy weights as PSG welcomed, the Champions league favorites, Barceclona to their home ground and Benfica welcomed Dortmund.
The first match was highly anticipated with Barcelona viewed as the clear favorites to win the match while the second one was assumed to be a walk in the park for the German team. So, how did it end for the odds on favorites? let's find out.

PSG Vs Barcelona

There was no doubt as to who the favorites to win this match were when Barcelona traveled to PSG for their first leg match of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 and Unai Emery who was brought in just for this purpose had a huge task in his hands as his side faced the most dangerous attack in world football at the moment Messi, Suarez and Neymar.

Getting into the details of the match, let me tell you that from the start PSG looked more determined than the multi-time Champions league winners. Even before the first goal was scored, via a free kick, PSG had a couple of chances to take the lead and then when they got their chance Di Maria ensured that he drew first blood when he stepped over the dead ball and as graceful as you’d like, curled it into the Barca net. That beginning was all that PSG needed.

A few minutes later the new boy Julian Draxler had his chances that was saved by Ter Stegen but the lad found his way back from the opposite foot the next time and scored his first Champions League goal for PSG. From that moment on it was all PSG as Barca began to lose their confidence and crumble. The away team did however get their chances through a few quick counter attacks but failed to find that final touch.

Barca saw themselves stretched when PSG attacked from the sides, however when the home team made those crosses in the final third they were having a tough time to find the net past Barcelona’s defense.

The 3rd goal by PSG was pure team work. It started from the end by Trapp and the ball was slotted into the back of the net by Di Maria with a fine curl. These were the moments where Barca could not do anything but watch PSG play at their best. The away team were the second best in every aspects as PSG played a very pin-point technical game but the home team were not done yet. How can the match end without their star striker getting his name on the score sheet? In the final few moments of the game, another brilliant team work allowed Cavani to get his feet on the ball inside the opposition’s penalty and there would only be one outcome in those situations. Cavani fired it home and the Champions League favorites were thrashed 4-0 by PSG.

If, you ask me I would say that Barca were too slow. Didn’t make much needed attempts to win the ball back as they allowed PSG to dance through their defense. It was almost like they didn’t want to win. Barcelona have their second leg to be played in Camp Nou but I don’t see PSG giving up their 4-0 advantage that easily. Not at this stage of the game.

Benfica Vs Borrusia Dortmund

Now, this was a match that did not have a massive score line but the drama was still there. It was mostly about capitalizing from your opponent’s mistake for the first 30 minutes but both end were terrible when it came to finishing and finding the net. In the 38th minute, Auba missed a sitter. All that he had to do was touch the ball from a yard out but he couldn’t.

The scoring was opened in the second half of the game, in the 48th minute, through a corner that was delivered by Pizzi and Mitroglou took advantage of a little confusion and slotted the ball in the back of Dortmund’s net.

What I saw from Dortmund was absolute rubbish finishing, especially from Aubameyang. You could not have seen him miss more chances in a single match in a long time, was he just unlucky? Was he just not focusing? I have no idea but had he converted those chances, Dortmund would have won because Benfica were not so threatening comparatively. To make things even worse, Aubameyang missed a penalty. Where in the world was one of the best strikers in the world, yesterday? Cause I sure didn’t see that man in Aubameyang.

Finally the game ended 1-0, in favor of the home team. My verdict is that, Dortmund were bruised but they are not lagging by a large margin like Barcelona. So, in the reverse fixture, they should be able to play better in their home turf and turn things around for them and progress forward.

That’s all for this time. Next post will be the match report of

  1. Real Madrid Vs Napoli (This should be an easy contest but never say never)
  2. Bayern Munich Vs Arsenal (The hopes of finally winning the Premier League has slipped through Wenger’s hands. Will he now focus on the most coveted prize in Europe? But Bayern sure won’t make it a walk in the park for the visiting team)

Until next time folks.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.