The Champion’s League was back in full flow this week and 8 of the 16 teams played the first leg of their ties. Some of them were extremely thrilling ties while others were a one-sided fixture. The first part of the first leg matches having concluded, here are 3 points that have had the entire football community talking.
Late goals that changed the outcome of the match were seen in 3 of the 4 ties this week. Except for Man City Vs Sporting, all the games saw late drama, setting up an exciting second leg for the fans.
PSG’s Kylian Mbappe scored a 94th-minute stoppage-time winner against what could be his club next season- Real Madrid. The Galacticos employed a very defensive tactic on Tuesday night and looked to have been playing only for a draw, accepting a win as a bonus. They frustrated PSG up until 60 minutes when Dani Carvajal’s foul in the Penalty Area awarded PSG a penalty kick. However, Messi missed the penalty, and the game remained 0-0. Then, in minute 90+4 of stoppage time, Neymar back-heeled a pass to put Mbappe through, who scored a goal with what was essentially the last kick of the game.
Bayern was saved their blushes against RB Salzburg when Kingsley Coman scored a 90th minute of the game to draw them level, after Chukwubuike Adamu, who was substituted in for Okafor due to an injury, scored a goal in the 21st minute. The tie is now set up for a thrilling finish in the Allianz Arena.
Liverpool kept it late against Inter Milan on Wednesday night. The game started well, and went as expected, with Inter sitting tight on defence and waiting patiently to counter-attack, while Liverpool tried to break through their lines. It took a long time, but Roberto Firmino scored in the 75th minute to break the dead-lock before Salah sealed the deal for the Merseyside team in the 83rd minute.
All in all, the late goals have set these ties up to be a heated affair in the second leg.
Man City’s Domination
Manchester City utterly dominated Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday, effectively ending the tie and sealing the deal, unless Sporting conjures an unlikely miracle in the Etihad 2 weeks from now. City, as usual, started extremely well, with Mahrez opening the floodgates in the 7th minute. By halftime, they were already 4 goals up, through the addition of goals from Phil Foden and 2 goals from Bernardo Silva, who is enjoying a great run of form this season. Sterling added the 5th in the 58th minute to finish the tie. Pep Guardiola was impressed by his team’s performance., but says that Sporting are a tough team to beat and qualification isn’t guaranteed yet.
The Effect of the Scrapping of Away Goals Rule.
This season, UEFA scrapped the away goals rule for the knockout stages. And the effect of it is already visible, most vividly in the PSG Vs Real Madrid game.
The away goal rules in the knockout stages meant that in case of a tie in the aggregate score of a matchup, the team with the most away goals will progress further. While many saw it as an unfair law, it did lead to some extremely thrilling results. Fans will likely remember the PSG Vs Man United game, where Ole Solskjaer led a team of youngsters to a likely victory in the Parc De Prince to win the tie through away goals. That and many other ties were decided through this ruling. However, UEFA decided to scrap that rule from this season onwards. And it has led to some undesired effects.
Real Madrid laid out an extremely defensive game plan on Tuesday, likely to pull off a draw in this tie and then go all out in their stadium. Florentino Perez was said to have been furious in Ancelotti for doing so. This kind of mentality could be seen further in many other teams in the upcoming games, making football much more boring.
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