Victories For Atleti & Dortmund But Ties Still Delicately Poised

2 of the most anticipated ties of the 2019/20 UCL Round-of -16 clashes went down on Tuesday night, the 1st leg clashes saw Liverpool went down 0-1 to Atletico Madrid in Spain while Dortmund also edged PSG 2-1 in Germany.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

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It’s a tale of the unstoppable force Liverpool going back to their old hunting ground Wanda Metropolitano to slug it out against the immovable object Atletico Madrid. Most would argue that Atleti isn’t that immovable object anymore but they will as well agree that there is no undermining Diego Simeone’s well-drilled Atletico Madrid, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp understood this when he said in one of his prematch conferences that playing Atleti ‘machine’ is brutal to players.

“Playing Atletico is one of the most difficult things in the life of a football player”-Klopp

Klopp couldn’t be more right as Atleti not only jettison possession for doggedness but also took an early lead when Saul Niguez scored just 4 minutes into the game. The Reds, despite having the larger possession of the ball were restricted to just 1 clear cut chance in the 1st half.

Atleti dropped even deeper in the 2nd half, frustrating Liverpool’s efforts for an equalizer and eventually saw off the tie with a slim 1 nil victory. A goal at Anfield in the return leg will make things complicated for the Reds.

It was a night Liverpool front 3 of Mane, Salah & Firmino failed to click, no thanks to vintage Atleti resolute defending. Mane and Salah were both hauled out and replaced by Divock Origi and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlin respectively.

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Mastermind Diego Simeone

Simeone has never lost a UCL knockout game at home as Atleti manager, played 13, won 9 & drew 4, the Argentine maintained that impressive record. Liverpool, on the other hand, lost the battle against Atleti but the war is far from over, they, under Klopp, have never lost a 2-leg-UCL tie and will draw confidence in such feat when Atleti comes visiting at Anfield for the 2nd leg.

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 PSG

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There is a local saying from where i come from that interprets to; “where 2 irons meet, 1 must bend for the other”. This is how best to describe Borussia Dortmund Round-of-16 tie against PSG, 2 of Europe’s free scoring sides.

The 2 sides in their respective domestic league have been scoring goals with reckless abandon. While the host boast of attacking lineup of Thorgan Hazard, Jadon Sancho and the newly acquired, free-scoring Erling Haaland, the visitor are also blessed with rich frontline that includes Neymar Jnr, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, Mauro Icardi amongst others, and even more pressing is the fact that Dortmund’s former handler Thomas Tuchel now leads PSG’s dogout, some had touted him to be the x-factor if PSG is to advance ahead of Dortmund.

It was a keenly contested 1st half, however, it was the host that asked all the questions in front of goal while the visitor PSG failed to register a single shot on target, a rare occurrence judging by the array of accomplished strikers in their arsenal, in fact, the last time PSG failed to register a shot on target in a UCL match was in the defeat against Manchester United in last season Round-of-16.

The deadlock was finally broken 9 minutes after the hour mark, however, it wasn’t the star-studded PSG that notched it, it was the home side through their golden boy Haaland. Mbappe and Neymar combined for the latter to restore parity in the 75th minute, however, parity only lasted 2 minutes as Haaland completed his double in the 77th minute to restore Dortmund lead.

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Erling Haaland

The sky is the limit for the young lad Haaland who now has 10 UCL goals(8 goals with Red bull & further 2 with Dortmund) this season and became the 2nd youngest player after Mbappe to reach that goal tally.

Dortmund held on to record a slim 1st-leg win, however, they would have it all to do in the return leg at the Parc de France, PSG away goal will play a major role in both teams will be set up come March 11 when the return leg will be played.

Thanks.

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Portugal Rely On Ronaldo

 

Portugal’s meeting with the Netherlands to decide the first ever winners of the Nations League on Sunday sees the unstoppable force of Cristiano Ronaldo face the immovable object in Virgil van Dijk.
Ronaldo sat out the early stages of UEFA’s new competition to save his 34-year-old legs for his first season at Juventus, but returned in time to ride to the host nation’s rescue once more in Wednesday’s semifinal against Switzerland.

The Swiss enjoyed the better of the game in Porto, but the five-time world player of the year was lethal in scoring his 53rd career hat-trick with
three exquisite finishes. “It’s the preparation – my work ethic. I still feel good despite being 34 years of age,” Ronaldo told UEFA.Com.

Image source : https://www.beinsports.com/us/soccer/news/cristiano-ronaldo-sad-following-portugal-draw/282498

Source : AFP

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Are You Ready!

Hi Guys! I am a super excited for tonight super encounter, i guess the whole football world ofcourse. 

I had always hated the Spurs and my hatred was even stronger in the Leicester BPL winning season when poor chelsea fought hard to give retriev Leicester to win the title.

I think the match would be a very tight one infact a pergect combat to watch and if you are a fan on either sude like me , then you need a shot after a while. 

 

 

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Who Will Be The Best ?

Among the rewards for the Champi-
ons League winners on Saturday will be silverware, status and history but the greatest prize awaiting Liverpool or Tottenham might be an end to
the agonising wait.

Combined, it has been 18 years -seven for Liverpool, 11 for Tottenham – since either lifted a trophy, despite huge strides made in recent years under the much-praised
Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio
Pochettino.

Klopp and Pochettino have
been singled-out as two of
Europe’s best coaches after
crafting teams that reflect their
personalities – Liverpool
thrilling and fearless, Spurs brave and unrelenting.

Source : AFP

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Can They Win?

Fuelled by the pain of their failed Premier League title bid, Liverpool’s stars admit they are desperate to win the club’s sixth European Cup when
they face Tottenham in Saturday’s Champions League final.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will be
motivated by a burning sense
of injustice in the all-Premier
League clash at the Wanda
Metropolitano.

A win against Tottenham in
Madrid would give Liverpool
their first Champions League
crown since Rafael Benitez’s
underdogs stunned AC Milan
in 2005 with one of the all-time
great comebacks.

So can they win, well the time is near?

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Mane Full Focussed On CL

Sadio Mane admits he is flattered
by suggested interest from Real Madrid but insists he is hap-
py at Liverpool and fully focused on trying to help them win the Champions League. Reports from Spain in recent weeks have suggested that Real want to bring the Senegal forward and Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba to the Bernabeu. Mane will
be in action across the city on Saturday, at Atletico Madrid’s
Wanda Metropolitano home, which will host the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham.

The 27-year-old has scored 17 goals in 24 matches for his club since the turn of the year, and is expected to lead his country’s attack in Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, which
starts in late June.

As he prepared for Saturday’s European final, Mane was
asked about interest from Real Madrid, and did not dismiss
it altogether.

He did, though, insist that Liverpool’s progress to the Champions League final – which has seen them knock out Napoli, Bayern Munich, Porto and Barcelona – is a sign of their standing in the European game.

“This is part of football, so we have to deal with it,” said Mane. “But for me, the more important thing is that I am with Liverpool and I am very happy here, and I am preparing for
one of the club’s biggest games.

“Let’s focus on this first, and on winning it.

“It’s always a pleasure for this kind of team to want you, but Liverpool, don’t forget, we beat big teams.” Mane scored for Liverpool in last season’s Champions League final, which ended in the disappointment of a 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in Kiev. 

 

News Source : AFP

Image Source: Google