The UEFA Champions League first knockout stage matches were completed last night and it was a blast. We saw the defending champions – 3 time defending champions in fact, Real Madrid get knocked out and then some. Madrid were not the only high profile teams to get the chop. Germen champions, Bayern Munich and French giants, Paris Saint Germain also got shown the exit of this season’s UCL competition.
However, we also learnt some lessons from these first stage knockout games. Here are my 3 lessons learnt after the completion of this season’s UCL first knockout stage matches:
- Ronaldo is still the UCL King
Dear UEFA please change the name of Champions League to Cristiano Ronaldo League 😎
— ⚽️ Raees Happu ⚽️💸🔫 (@HappuDroga2) March 12, 2019
Having been the highest goal scorer in the last 4 editions of the UEFA Champions League competition, Juventus striker, Cristiano Ronaldo got off to a poor start at this year’s competition. The Portuguese talisman had uncharacteristically managed only a goal in 5 games before Juventus match against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night. However, he reminded the world that he wasn’t finished with the UCL when he astonishingly netted a hat trick against the Rojiblancos to sent Juventus through to the quarter finals. He has done it before and he didn’t think twice before doing it again on Tuesday. And those who had underestimated him got a stunning reminder of why he is the highest goal scorer in the history of the competition.
- English Teams Are Ready to Conquer Europe
Four English teams are in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2009! 🏴
— Goal (@goal) March 13, 2019
After Liverpool defeated Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena last night, all four representatives of the English League had made it to the quarter final stage of the competition. Looking at the fact that the EPL representatives have not been doing so well in recent editions of the UCL, this is a favorable change for the English fans. And they didn’t do it the easy way either. Manchester City thrashed Schalke 10-2 on aggregate, Tottenham send high flying Borussia Dortmund home, Manchester United broke French hearts when they defeated PSG at the Parc des Princes and Bayern Munich crumbled at home to Liverpool. With these incredible displays and results, maybe it is time for English to once more be the Kings of Europe.
- VAR Is The New Controversy Lord
VAR seems so controversial with some of the decisions it gives but I hope along with providing the correct decisions it brings a level of consistency in the decisions which will ultimately rule out the controversy surrounding the decisions.
Consistency is key. #UCL #bbcfootball
— Rohan Bhatia (@Rohan_Bhatia789) March 6, 2019
This stage of the UCL saw the first use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in the competition, and it came with a lot of controversies. Both PSG and AS Roma got knocked out of the competition courtesy of some last minute VAR decision that were quite controversial – to say the least. Both teams felt robbed with PSG talisman, Neymar Jr., going as far as posting a video on Instagram with some not-so-nice words targeted at VAR. anyways, with the next stage set to come, we are all sitting back and waiting for the next controversy VAR is going to bring our way.
With the quarter final draws coming up today, let’s see what the next set of premium UEFA Champions League matches will look like. The teams left fighting for the title are: Juventus, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United, Tottenham, Ajax, Liverpool and FC Porto.
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