Round 2 of the Champions League 2021/22 gave us plenty of excitement and thrill. And of course, a lot of surprising results.
From Real Madrid losing to Sheriff to Lionel Messi scoring his first goal for Paris Saint- Germain, from Barcelona’s continued collapse to Atletico Madrid overpowering AC Milan, this round of group stage fixtures was filled with plenty of classics.
Without further ado, let’s take an in-depth look at the biggest winners and losers from the second round of the Champions League fixtures.
The Group A fixture between PSG and Manchester City was billed as the biggest game of the week and with plenty of reasons. Manchester City have a super squad managed by one of the greatest managers in the history of football while PSG have Messi, Neymar, Mbappe, Verratti, and Donnarumma.
Although Man City had plenty of chances and failed to convert clear-cut opportunities, PSG’s lethal attack ensured a wonderful triumph for the Parisians in front of their own fans at the Parc des Princes.
Neymar, Messi, and Mbappe might have all of the spotlight focused on them but it was Idrissa Gana Gueye who opened the scoring for PSG on the night.
However, the greatest moment of the game arrived in the 74th minute when Lionel Messi, still awaiting his first goal for a new club for the first time in his career received the ball in the middle of the park and started making his trademark run from the left towards the central areas.
He got past two players exchanged a quick one-two with Kylian Mbappe and then finished it off with aplomb beating Ederson at his near post! Job well done.
In a battle of European heavyweights, Atletico Madrid were up against AC Milan back in the Champions League after a really long time.
The game held at the iconic San Siro in Milan proved to be quite the thriller as well. Rafael Leao opened the scoring for the Rossoneri inside the first 20 minutes of the game. However, Milan soon found themselves a man down after Franck Kessie had to see his marching orders with only 29 minutes against the clock.
Stefano Pioli’s side did well to manage themselves well for most of the game with only 10 men against an intense Diego Simeone side. However, Antoine Griezmann back in the Atleti colours after two seasons in Barcelona managed to level things up.
And with virtually no time remaining on the clock in the seventh minute of added time, former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez converted his penalty and seal a memorable win for the side.
What a time to score his first Champions League away goal in six years!
Sheriff Tiraspol’s conquest of Spanish giant and 13-time Champions League winners Real Madrid was the biggest story of the first night of the second round of fixtures.
Sheriff are a small club based in the Moldovan city of Tiraspol which is located in the unrecognised breakaway state of Transnistria. They were founded in 1997 by which period Real Madrid already had six Champions League titles.
Yakshiboev scored in the 25th minute of the match and already put Real Madrid on the back foot. Normalcy resumed when Karim Benzema converted his penalty and got them back on track in the second half.
However, just when a draw was looking highly probable, Sheriff ended up having the last laugh. Sebastien Thill scored a goal with his outside foot from outside the box and it’s surely one he’ll never forget. Nor will the Sheriff fans who celebrated what is probably the biggest night in their club’s history.
The fact that this upset took place at the iconic Santiago Bernabeu just cements the unpredictable nature of Champions League nights.
Just when Real Madrid were getting trolled all over social media for losing to Sheriff Tiraspol, their Spanish rivals Barcelona stepped in to take the centre stage.
The last few games have been extremely underwhelming and unsettling for the Spanish club who are still adapting to life after Leo Messi. Manager Ronald Koeman’s job is also in grave danger with several reports of the club looking for replacements making the rounds.
The 3-0 defeat away to Benfica at the Estadio de la Luz, the site of the infamous 8-2 humbling at the hands of Bayern, might have sealed the fate of Koeman and his plaguing Barcelona side.
Darwin Nunez escaped the attention of Eric Garcia and beat German keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen at near post once again to put his side into the lead.
Although Barcelona managed to create several chances in the remainder of the first half, Dutch forwards Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay weren’t up to the mark.
Rafa Silva scored the second goal for Benfica on the night and Darwin Nunez completed the humbling with another goal from the penalty spot.
Eric Garcia had to face marching orders in the 87th minute but by then, there was little he could do to influence the result of the match.
The only positive lining for Barcelona? It could’ve been worse.