Thursday, March 12, 2015

It Happened In Europe: Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg

It was a busy first portion of the second legs in the Round of 16. Here’s how they all turned out.

Porto 4-0 Basel (5-1 Agg.)
Basel never really stood a chance in this one. Four different players scored for the Portugeuse champions and they got started after all of 14 minutes. Possession may have been even, but it was all Porto in the shots and they forced Basel to commit 19 fouls.

Real Madrid 3-4 Schalke 04 (5-4 Agg.)
This was one crazy game. After Real Madrid escaped Germany with a 2-0 away victory, all they really had to do was coast to victory on their home turf. Schalke had other plans. They got on top in the 20th, but Crisitano Ronaldo made sure that didn’t last long by equalizing five minutes later. Klaas Jan Hunelaar put Schalke ahead again in the 40th, but Ronaldo would score again after five minutes to level the leg at 2-2, basically securing a Real victory.

The second half was equally wild. Karim Benzema gave Real their first lead seven minutes after the restart, but that eould last about as long as either of Schalke’s leads. Leroy Shane renewed their hope after only five minutes of trailing. The now score stood 3-3 in the leg and 5-3 to Real on aggregate. Schalke still needed two more to win. They only got one. In the 84th, Huntelaar bagged a second to give a faint glimmer of hope, but it wouldn’t be enough. Real fought off a furious charge from the Germans and managed to limp into the quarterfinals.

Bayern Munich 7-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (7-0 Agg.)
What’s to say? After a goalless draw in Ukraine, Bayern came home and owned 74% of possession, blasted 25 shots, 11 on target, and seven went in. Shakhtar’s Oleksandr Kucher was sent off in the third minute, the quickest sending off in Champions League history.

Chelsea 2-2 PSG (3-3 Agg. PSG through on away goals)
After the almost upset on Tuesday this one followed through and gave us what we were hoping for. England’s best team had their 1-1 draw in France, needed only a simple win at home to see themselves through. Paris St. Germain didn’t let them through so easily. It didn’t start off well for the French champions, however. Their main goal threat, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was shown straight red in the 31st minute. Not only were they down a man, but they were down their number one goal scorer.

Gary Cahill thought he put the home side through in the 81st, but David Luiz equalized five minutes later for PSG. They game was slated for extra time, when PSG’s Thiago Silva handled the ball in the box, setting up Eden Hazard for an easy penalty conversion. Things looked bleak for the French side until Silva exorcised his demons by scoring a pretty headed from barely inside the box. The goal put PSG through on the away goals tiebreaker.

Next week presents more chances for upsets and comebacks. On Tuesday, Atletico Madrid will try to come back from down 1-0 as they host Bayer Leverkusen. Arsenal also heads to Monaco to try and erase a disappointing 3-1 defeat back home. Wednesday’s action sees Manchester City fight for their lives in Barcelona after losing 2-1 at home and Borussia Dortmund also tries to overcome a 2-1 deficit at home against Italian side Juventus.

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