Champion’s League Last 16 Second Leg Part Four

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar March 16, 2016 22:58

Champion’s League Last 16 Second Leg Part Four

March 16th 2016

Favourites

Barçelona were expected to complete the formalities in the Camp Nou – after beating Arsenal 2-0 in the first leg. They did so, beating Arsène Wenger’s team 3-1. Bayern München were favourites to join them in the quarter finals even though they let a two goal advantage slip in Turin against last year’s beaten finalists in the first leg, but Pep Guardiola’s team were not about to let their departing coach turn his thoughts to Manchester yet, even if they chose the hard way.

Despite falling behind by two in the first half and being lucky not to go three down Bayern recovered to take the match into extra time and then complete the job with two more in the second period of extra time.

Thriller

Juventus took the lead for the first time in the tie within ten minutes. Former Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira created the opportunity against his compatriots with an incisive pass down the right to Stephan Lichtsteiner. He pulled it back to Paul Pogba who scored easily, as Manuel Neuer had been drawn out of position. Frank Ribéry went close after 15 minutes, but Juventus unfortunate not extend their lead as a poor clearance by Neuer was helped in to the path of Álvaro Morata. The Spanish forward’s lob was disallowed for offside – wrongly.

Juan Cuadrado Bello failed to make his mark at Chelsea, but following a mazy run by Morata, the Colombian winger showed excellent composure to create the opportunity to blast past Neuer at the keeper’s near post to make it 2-0 with less than half an hour played. With less than five minutes of the first half remaining Thomas Müller drew a fine save from Gianluigi Buffon, which was subsequently cleared by Patrice Evra onto Robert Lewandowski – it went wide.

Shortly after that Pogba fed Cuadrado and Neuer pulled off a fantastic save to prevent the Colombian adding to Juventus’ lead. Meanwhile, Barçelona, already two up from the away leg, took a huge step towards completing the formalities in the Camp Nou. Neymar Jr gave the Catalans the lead at half time although former winger Alexis Sánchez missed a glorious chance to level on the night, heading tamely wide.

Recovery

Early in the second half Arturo Vidal took exception to Cuadrado’s reaction to his challenge. Vidal and Lichtsteiner were booked once the flare-up had settled down. Shortly afterwards, Lewandowski was also cautioned for a foul on Evra and minutes later Leonardo Bonucci was booked for fouling the Pole – less than ten minutes into the second half. Morata then had two chances which he wasted – the first a tame effort straight at Neuer.

Douglas Costa’s 73rd minute cross was headed in at close range by Lewandowski shortly after former Bayern favourite Mario Mandžukić came on for Juve. With three minutes left Costa’s right-footed cross found Lewandowski, but he hit the woodwork and was caught marginally offside anyway – Cuadrado was substituted. Substitute Kingsley Coman’s cross was headed in by Müller as the match approached added time.

Lichtsteiner went close in the first half of injury time before Evra’s mistake allowed substitute Thiago Alcântara do Nascimento to put Bayern ahead for the first time on the night. When Pogba lost possession and a foul was not given Coman – on loan from Juve – pounced to make it 4-2. Neuer denied Mandžukić after Pogba’s cross and Stefano Sturaro’s follow up was awful.

Last year’s finalists were out. Arsenal bowed out 5-1 on aggregate. Mohamed Elneny levelled on the night after 51 minutes, but with 25 minutes remaining Luis Suárez’ volley restored order and Lionel Messi’s sumptuous chip after 88 minutes emphasised the superiority of Luis Enrique’s side.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar March 16, 2016 22:58