The latest games of the second leg matches of Round 16 were every bit entertaining. One stunning comeback, an ‘almost’ miraculous comeback, a historical advance to the quarter-finals and a fairy-tail like performance.
Barcelona came back from a very uncomfortable deficit of two goals when they taught AC Milan a lesson of tactics. As the official UEFA website says, no side had ever recovered from a two-goal first-leg loss without the benefit of an away goal. However, Lionel Messi had a good day and that made all the difference. Scoring an early goal to shock their opponent (something Milan used against the Catalans in the previous match), Messi lifted his team. The rest was a matter of time. For the record (although people don’t seem to talk about them), David Villa and Jordi Alba scored the winning two goals. What Carles Puyol said before the first game proved true. Barcelona is, after all, the more experienced team and they can’t get carried away easily independent of whether they lost badly or won in a blowout.
The ‘almost’ miraculous comeback belonged to the last English team remaining in the competition. Arsenal did their job in Germany to perfection and won. A somewhat boring Bayern Munich was in danger of becoming from a favorite to the biggest disappointment of this year’s tournament. Instead, they won on away goals. Arsenal was one short. The Bavarians surely pressed a lot throughout the match but never had the right finish, which is unlike them. They didn’t lose possession even when they looked a little nervous towards the end.
Galatasaray made history by advancing to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2001 after beating FC Shalke 04. This was a match that remained unpredictable until the end. The Turkish team was under tremendous pressure, especially after signing some of soccer’s biggest stars Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder. Beating the home team that had not lost until that day wasn’t easy. Shalke had the early lead but then Galatasaray had a quick turnaround when Altintop and Burak Yilmaz scored two goals within five minutes of each other. For the fans who like to see fast and attacking style of soccer, this was a brilliant game.
Malaga won’t have to wake up from their fairytale dream. On aggregate, they scored one more goal than the once-champions from Porto to advance to the quarter-finals in their first Champions League season. Malaga won’t have to do much more and will still be among the most memorable teams in the competition. Malaga overturned a 1-0 deficit but, luckily for them, they had to do it in front of home crowd. The match was not the most excited in terms of goal attempts. Instead, both teams were aggressive committing 17 fouls each. Eight yellow cards were given. At times, both Malaga and Porto looked desperate and agitated.
In the end, no English teams in the quarterfinals and three clubs from the Spanish La Liga. The draw took place on Friday, March 15.
Here is the following schedule from the draw.
April 2, 2013
PSG vs FC Barcelona
Bayern Munich vs. Juventus
April 3, 2013
Malaga vs Borrusia Dortmund
Real Madrid vs Galatasaray
April 9, 2013
Dortmund vs Malaga
Galatasaray vs. Real Madrid
April 10, 2013
FC Barcelona vs. PSG
Juventus vs. Bayern Munich
UEFA Champions League Hymn You Tube Video courtesy of J. Solares C