Once again English sides suffered mixed fortunes in the Champions League, as the race to make the knock-out stage of Europe’s biggest competition. Read our review of all the action.
Manchester City beat Barcelona on historic night at The Etihad Stadium
There is a time to simply get the thing away, anywhere if necessary – don’t try and play in dangerous areas. Barcelona and Manchester City break all the rules but even the best get found out.
At the Nou Camp it was goalkeeper Claudio Bravo making a howler and receiving a red card for his troubles. This time it was Barcelona making the error, as a stray pass was pounced on by Raheem Sterling who set up Ilkay Gundogan for a tap-in.
In fact mistakes permeated an end-to-end Champions League tie. Barcelona manager Luis Enrique admitted: “They were aggressive and provoked more errors from us than we did from them.”
1-1 at half time with Barcelona enjoying most of the possession and for long periods mesmerising City, with Lionel Messi pinching a wonderful counterattack strike, the home team came out for the second period like men possessed and dominated the 45 minutes.
A needless foul by Sergio Busquets allowed Kevin de Bruyne to curl a Messi-style free kick home and then Gundogan got a second as a rattled and injury-hit makeshift defence succumbed again despite a hint of handball by Sergio Aguero in the build-up.
At 3-1, and Messi unable to have a significant influence, City had it in the bag, and so it proved. A tie expected to be decided by amazing attacks instead defined by defensive frailties. But a brilliant performance by City.
Revenge for that 4-0 thrashing in Spain.
Ozil scores wonder goal as Arsenal come from behind in Champions League thriller
Arsenal trailed 2-0 after 15 minutes away to Bulgarian side Ludogorets but were back in it by half-time with goals from Granit Xhaka and Olivier Giroud.
And a sensational hit was to settle the tie in the Gunners’ favour, scored by the classy Mesut Ozil. Released through the middle, he scoops the ball over on-rushing goalkeeper Borjan, leaves two defenders on their backsides, and strokes the ball it into an empty net!
For Ludogorets Jonathan Cafu and Claudiu Keseru scored early doors, but it wasn’t to be.
Tottenham Hotspur defeated at Wembley and now have slim Champions League hopes
The Wembley jinx struck Tottenham Hotspur in their match against Bayer Leverkusen. A scrappy first half of few chances for both sides, plenty of mistakes, some intelligent midfield play, but a general lack of composure.
Christian Eriksen hit a 20 yarder straight at the goalkeeper. At the other end the former Manchester United star Javier Hernandez sent a very presentable chance wide.
A toothless Tottenham badly missing Harry Kane, out injured but back in training.
The high press of the visitors seemed to disrupt their hosts who flirted with danger almost every time they tried to play it out from the back.
Heard that somewhere before? And it got worse for Spurs in the second half as they went down 0-1.
You can say Bayer Leverkusen got lucky. A deflected shot landed at the feet of Kevin Kampl six yards out and he easily beat Hugo Lloris. Only what they deserved mind you as they were always the brighter and more direct of the two throughout.
Eric Dier rattled the bar from a free kick but it was a very poor display overall. Too many players put in dire performances.
So, Arsenal are through but still fighting Paris St Germain for who gets top spot and an easier start to the knockout stage, Manchester City well placed but likely to come second to Barcelona, Leicester virtually there but Tottenham struggling to qualify.
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