This week’s Champions League matches delivered entertainment, heartbreak and historic moments. Here are some of the Things we learned from the Champions League. You can bet on the Champions League here.
Solksjaer makes a bold claim for the permanent role
Many people had counted Manchester United out of the Champions League before their second leg match away to PSG in the Champions League Round of 16. Battered and bruised in the first leg at Old Trafford and a team ravaged by injuries and full of fledging youth, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side stunned the French giants. United had never lost a home tie and went on to qualify for the next round. And on the 107th attempt, they became the first team to overturn a 2-0 deficit to progress to the next round. What happened at the Parc des Princes was like a coronation. For now, it’s a matter of when, not if the 46-year-old Norwegian will be handed the job on a permanent basis.
Spurs finally show grit to advance
After seven years of disappointment, Spurs finally progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Their qualification was sealed is through a gritty performance at the Westfalenstadion stifling their opponents who came with guns blazing. Moreover, this was just the second time the North London team has qualified for the quarters. After seeing their Premier League pursuit crumble in the last few weeks which included two losses and a draw, Spurs felt they could drop a performance away from home and they did. Although the competition gets tougher as you go on, a well-drilled Spurs, led by their talisman Harry Kane, can compete with anyone in Europe.
End of an era for Real Madrid dominance in Europe
Real Madrid won’t be winning a historic fourth Champions League crown in a row. They were stunned by a young, hungry and unruffled Ajax Amsterdam, a slumbering European giant who humiliated them 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. With Cristiano Ronaldo gone, the Los Blancos fought through tooth and nail but it wasn’t to be another straight forward win. There was no one to step up and produce moments of brilliance to get them out of their predicament. Their reign in Europe in the last five years is slowly coming to an end. In their match against Ajax they looked helpless as the likes of Dusan Tadic, Hakim Ziyech tore through their defence with relative ease. Ageing players, discord between the players and the management means Madrid will have to restructure so as to be a dominant force again in the coming seasons.
Ajax show they can compete with the best
A giant of a team in the Netherlands, but Ajax against Real Madrid was always going to be a David v Goliath story. However, on Tuesday night, the Dutch side produced arguably one of their best performances in Europe to emphatically knockout Champions League defending champions Real Madrid with a 4-1 win. On Tuesday the young players rose to the occasion and completely blew away the 13-time champions. If this was anything to go by, we were witnessing the reincarnation of a former European giant. The future is definitely bright for the 1995 Champions League winners, which seems like centuries ago, and if this core stays together, they can challenge Europe’s elite.
Roma now a shadow of last season’s semi-final team
Last season, AS Roma, famously eliminated favourites Barcelona out of the Champions League overturning a 4-1 deficit by beating them 3-0 in Rome. The Giallorossi were in seventh heaven that time and were only a whisker away from the final. This season, however, they look a totally different team. In Porto for the second leg, they were second best and were outplayed for most parts of the game by their hosts. Roma’s top four chances are also diminishing in Serie A and they’ll have to improve or risk going into oblivion. Their performances have also lacked a cutting edge; desire aggressiveness and urgency which we saw last season something which has put Eusebio Di Francesco’s job on the line.