by Victor Opone
Whew!! That was one helluva UCL quarterfinal round!! Like Sir Alex Ferguson said “Football: bloody hell!” After that amazing round in the Champions League, there were plenty positives as well as not so good outcomes for different individuals and teams.
Let’s start, shall we?
- The Neutrals
Yes, the neutrals are the overall winners out here presently. No nail biting moments as their teams weren’t involved. Getting treated to exciting encounters all over the pitch. Again, for enjoying amazingly great soccer in the second legs when all hopes of that were gone because of the first leg results.
The Romans truly deserve their spot in the last four of the Champions league this season. They have looked so rejuvenated under the tutelage of Eusebio Di Francesco! A second semifinal berth in this competition in their history is definitely something massive for them.
Strong performances from all over the pitch, tenacity and sheer will, even when key players like Radja Naingollan were subbed the team looked dominant against one of the most perennially dominant UCL sides.. Even if the fall… Wait! Do they even look like they will fall?
- Eden Dzeko
As if helping Roma beat Chelsea in the group stage wasn’t enough for him, he did reject a move and then talked about being happy he rejected them right after their 3-0 victory against the team that knocked Chelsea out of the competition. Dzeko the man!
- Second legs
Second legs. If Sevilla, Juve brought back ecstasy for second legs, AS Roma gave us big reasons to believe in Comebacks. Bloody European Nights! Red in the nose already!
They were clear winners over 180 minutes in a game against a side being mentioned as the best Premier League side. Klopp does actually have that edge over Pep Guardiola ever since welcoming him to Germany with a defeat. Passion definitely did win!
And of course welcome back to the big European Nights, Kops! Three attackers amongst the highest goalscorers in the competition currently, having that perfect sync with the fans out there, let’s rock n roll,folks!!! Fans already believe the can lift thus trophy. Why not?
- Mo Salah
For his exploits this season already. End the season today and plenty will have the Egyptian Messi as player of the year. Potential contender for Balon D’Or? Need a moment in this quarterfinal round? That cool finish in the second leg is sweet!
- Insert Cristiano Ronaldo?
This looks very much his league. Still wondering why its called the Champions League? The stats don’t lie. 120 Uefa Champions League goals. 23 quarterfinal goals. Sending Gigi Buffon into retirement finally has plenty of CR7 in the recipe.
- Mario Mandzukic
For bringing on the game in the second leg. Despite being played in different positions in recent times he looked like the only one who could possibly lead The Old Lady through. Kudos!
- Mehdi Benatia
Simply for coming out after the match to end all debates about that penalty call from Michael Oliver. Truth shall set you free!
- The Top Four Leagues
Why not? A team from each league in the semis. Why not? Resilience, sheer will and determination,vibrant attacking football. Why not? Pure fantasy,guys!
- Manchester City
From being touted as the best Premier league side to being wack all within 8 days.. For giving Liverpool fans that believe! For making their fans cry twice. For creating a really reduced margin over two weeks in an already ridiculous league title race to killing hopes of their fans in their own yard! That was not cool. For bringing back memories of last season’s capitulation! That was bad!!
Just when people switched off From the Man. City vs Liverpool game, whilst hoping to see some brilliant dominant display to keep the Romans at bay, #TheSlump happened. Being knocked out by a team everyone had written off from the first leg tells a sad tale.
Some were looking to console themselves with a Barca qualification because of what was happening at the Etihad. But both fell on the same night. Same Barca that know that comebacks do exist. Same Barca who brought that believe back from last season. We can as well mention Lionel Messi in this bracket… for going AWOL in the quarter-finals of the UCL.
- Nelson Semedo: for losing his first since early last year
- Pep Guardiola
For those selection problems. For those tactical setups. Actually, it’s for not keeping his side focused and piped up mentally for the ties. For not ensuring his dominant team where more assertive all over in a way required of true champions. Now, critics have taken over the airwaves. What a time to be alive, eh?! Why are we truly worried he’s not gotten into any UCL final since 2011? Why are we worried he’s got just about 5wins in the knockout stages of this competition?
Now he’s being picked on for losing his cool almost every time it looks things won’t go his way. Poor Pep!
Got the goal that brought the tie back to starters….only to relent instead of pushing for the fourth that would increase all pressure on Madrid’s side.. But no, they stepped down a little. Did they not know already?
Extra time, dying minutes are very dangerous when playing against Real Madrid! Then they allowed that much space for Madrid’s attackers especially that dude in the penalty box. Then the ref surround. Aww!
Enter Gigi Buffon.
No matter your status in the game, that was a clean red through and through. You don’t do that! Pretty sure Zizou was reminded if his own sign out game for France last night. As if being beaten several times by Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t enough already.
Have any names in mind I omitted? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.