The first leg matches of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 are through and we witnessed some riveting encounters. The top European sides locked horns in the Round of 16 matches and most ties are still evenly balanced going into the second leg.
So how did the first leg of the knockout stage of the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League pan out? Let’s find out.
PSG 1-0 REAL MADRID
This was the fixture that had all the eyeballs on it. There were a few subplots in this match as Lionel Messi was taking on his arch-rivals from his Barcelona days, Real Madrid. Kylian Mbappe had a chance to impress his potential future teammates given the conjecture surrounding his future. The French forward’s late goal was the difference between the two sides as PSG got the goal they deserved from the first leg.
Madrid were pretty content with the way things were going heading into the stoppage time but some Mbappe magic in stoppage time changed the outlook of the tie. He gave the Parisians a slender lead heading into the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg.
SPORTING 0-5 MANCHESTER CITY
A trip to Portugal could have been a tricky one for the English champions but Pep Guardiola’s side were dominant as ever. They eased past Sporting Lisbon as they were 0-4 up in just the first half. The second half for the Cityzens was to control the tie as they found the fifth goal in the 58th minute and managed the match easily post that mark.
This tie is the only one that seems all but over heading into the second leg at the Etihad.
RB SALZBURG 1-1 BAYERN MUNICH
Austrian side RB Salzburg had a stiff task in front of them as they were up against German champions Bayern Munich who had won all their games in the group stage.
But Salzburg proved to be a strong unit at home as they gave Bayern a tough game and would be happy with 1-1 going into the second leg in Germany.
INTER MILAN 0-2 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool in the group stage had already made a successful trip to the San Siro and churned out another positive result in the Round of 16 first leg as they rolled Inter Milan over, 0-2. The match was a tactical masterclass as Inter did cause Liverpool some problems, but the English giants proved just too strong offensively for the Italian champions.
It would be extremely difficult for Inter to turn this deficit around at Anfield but we’ve seen funnier things happen in the Champions League before.
CHELSEA 2-0 LILLE
European champions, Chelsea were sky-high in confidence after clinching the Club World Cup earlier in the week. They had a tricky match against French champions Lille at home. An early goal by Chelsea set the tone for the match but Lille played some fantastic football in this game but didn’t get anything positive out of the game.
The scoreline may seem comfortable but Chelsea clearly struggled in certain aspects of the game and this result could prove to be a banana slip for the English team heading into France for the second leg.
VILLARREAL 1-1 JUVENTUS
It was Dusan Vlahovic’s Champions League debut with Juventus and within the first minute of the game, the striker showed why the Turin club paid the big bucks for him. Apart from the early goal, Juventus didn’t create much in this game and Spanish side, Villarreal deservedly got their equaliser in the 66th minute.
This tie is too close to call and could potentially be decided via a penalty shootout in the second leg.
ATLETICO MADRID 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
Atletico Madrid were by far the better team in the first half at the Wanda Metropolitano as Manchester United struggled to compete in the first 45. The second half was a bit different for Ralf Rangnick’s Red Devils as they showed a better account of themselves and a first Champions League goal by Anthony Elanga helped them draw level going into the second leg.
BENFICA 2-2 AJAX
A 2-2 draw at Lisbon was one of the more entertaining games from the first leg. Dusan Tadic opened the scoring for the Dutch side but soon Benfica equalised via Sebastien Haller’s own goal. The current highest goalscorer of the competition, Haller scored at both ends in the first half as he gave Ajax the lead. But Benfica found a late goal and things were level at 2-2.
Overall Ajax would be disappointed that they couldn’t come away with a win in this game but would be confident heading into Amsterdam for the second leg.
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