The quarterfinals of the Champions League 2017/18 could be seen as one of the most entertaining group of fixtures in the competition for a long while.
The games really had everything including controversy, late goals and red cards. The quarterfinals also saw great memorable fightbacks take place too, so let’s take a look at just who were the winners and losers at this stage of Europe’s top club competition.
Barcelona, who are absolutely flying domestically this season, had raced into a 4-1 lead against AS Roma in the home leg, and while Edin Dzeko had scored an away goal for the Italians, they were seen as the losers at that stage.
However, in the second keg, Roma had other ideas and a Barcelona team which included the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta were powerless to prevent Roma winning 3-0 on the night. It was a remarkable comeback, with Kostas Manolas bagging the winner.
Like Barcelona, Liverpool was heading to the Etihad Stadium with a strong lead ahead of the second leg against Manchester City. Klopp’s side had been superb at Anfield and managed to establish a 3-0 lead ahead of the away leg, but people weren’t prepared to write City off ahead of the return fixture.
Guardiola named a very attacking side as City looked to engineer a comeback at the Etihad but after taking an early lead through Gabriel Jesus, Liverpool took control of the tie, and Pep ended up in the stands.
The quarter-final fixture between Sevilla and FC Bayern was a bit more of a straightforward affair. Sevilla had surprisingly dumped Manchester United out of the competition and when they took the lead in the first leg against Bayern, another shock was possibly on the cards. However, a Jesus Navas own goal and a winner from Thiago saw the Germans put themselves in the driving seat, and they finished the job off by drawing 0-0 at home.
Now, onto possibly the fixture that contains the most winners and losers in a Champions League game for a number of years. Real Madrid has been very disappointing by their standards domestically this season, and pressure began to build on manager Zinedine Zidane.
Winning the Champions League would more than likely see him retain his position for next season and when they raced into a 3-0 first-leg lead over Juventus, they looked to be well in control of the tie.
However, Juventus had other ideas and by 61 minutes in the second leg, they had levelled the fixture at 3-3 on aggregate. This lit the touch paper for a dramatic finish at the Bernabeu that everyone has had their say on. First, Mehdi Benatia gave away an injury-time penalty after a very clumsy challenge on Real’s Lucas Vazquez.
English referee Michael Oliver had undoubtedly made the right call as he pointed to the spot, but Gigi Buffon was incensed and received his marching orders for his reaction, in what was likely to be his final Champions League appearance. If ever an occasion like this needed a man to step up and score the winning penalty in the 97th minute it was Cristiano Ronaldo, who sent real through to the semis, and potentially preserved Zidane’s job for a little longer.