Champions League Round of 16 first leg review

Aveek Chakraborty


Bengaluru, Feb 27: After two weeks of nail-biting and thrilling action, the round of 16 first leg fixtures the UEFA Champions League has finally ended, leaving us with more to look forward to from the second leg.

England, Germany, and Spain are among the best-represented countries in the knockout round of the tournament this year. England and Spain have four clubs in the knockout round while Germany and Italy each have three and France two.

The first knockout round of the tournament lived up to the expectations where some teams were handed in shock defeat while another set of teams made their case stronger for the second leg.

Here are the major talking points after the first set of fixtures:

1. Besides Manchester City, all Premier League sides suffered defeat

It has not been a kind week for Premier League sides, as three out of four sides were handed defeats by their opponents. Chelsea were the worst among the lot, who was battered at home, 3-0 by German Champions. Their chances of advancing into the next round look now almost impossible.

Liverpool, last season's winners were another side who suffered a shocking defeat in hands of Diego Simeone at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium where they made history just nine months ago. Jurgen Klopp's side conceded an early goal, just after four minutes to a Saul Niguez opener and despite plenty of effort could not break down their opponents' stubborn resistance. They, however, are still very much alive for the second leg, and will get the chance of avenging the defeat at Anfield in the next fixture.

Tottenham were another unlucky side, who despite all their injury issues and struggles fought hard at home but lost to an exciting RB Leipzig 1-0. The narrow scoreline means, they still are very much alive in the game but with a severe injury, it will be interesting to see how they fare in Germany.

Pep Guardiola's men were the most standout performer from England as they beat favourites Madrid in their backyard. Isco put the team in front but two late goals from Jesus and De Bruyne sealed the victory for them. They now have the huge two-goal advantage in their favour and Zidane's men surely have to fight strong in their away tie.

2. Juventus handed defeat but other Italian sides fared well

Another shocking result came in the second week of the fixtures as one of the favourites of this year, Juventus suffered a shocking defeat in the hands of minnows Lyon at their home. The French side scored the only goal of the game in 30th-minute but despite all their efforts, the away side could not break the deadlock. Juventus still are favourites to go ahead but surely Lyon will have an advantage in the second tie and could cause an upset.

Elsewhere, Atlanta once again enjoyed a memorable trip to their first-ever Champions League knockout phase and they look destined for a quarter-final berth after a comprehensive 4-1 home win against Valencia. Napoli on the other hand restricted Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at their home. The Catalan side will have an advantage in their next home tie but Napoli can't be written off.

3) PSG need to improve their game

Although the French champions are very much alive in the game however they have to improve their contest in the home fixture if they are to through to the next phase. Dortmund took a while to get going but eventually achieved narrow 2-1 victory over the away side after two goals from Erling Haaland put them in front. But a vital Neymar strike have surely given the French side a hope to make a comeback in the second leg.

Champions League round of 16 results:

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Paris St. Germain

Atalanta 4-1 Valencia

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 RB Leipzig

Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich

Napoli 1-1 Barcelona

Lyon 1-0 Juventus

Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City

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