A thrilling session of Champions League football threw up some major talking points. No team has officially qualified from their groups yet, which sets us up for some exhilarating last two rounds of matches in the coming weeks.
Here are our picks of winners and losers from the games on Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Manchester United pulled off the biggest surprise of the week when they rallied from a goal down to snatch three massive points from Juventus on Wednesday night. The Red Devils fell behind in the second half when their former player Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brilliant goal, his first in the Champions League for Juve.
Juan Mata then drew José Mourinho’s side level with a stunning free kick with the clock running down, before Alex Sandro scored an own goal to gift the visitors an unexpected three points. The win was far from pretty, but it once again demonstrated the undying spirit the team has embodied in recent weeks.
In his first fortnight in interim charge of Real Madrid, Santiago Solari has had to endure persistent rumours about who would take over from him on a permanent basis. He cannot begrudge those whispers, given that this is after all his first management job in senior club football.
After three matches, the Argentine has led Los Blancos to three victories in different competitions. In those games, they have scored 11 goals and not conceded once. The tide is beginning to turn, and the grapevine now is that players want him to stay at least until the end of the season.
The group of death has been a gift that keeps giving. After four matches, only two points separate Napoli in first place and Crvena Zvezda in fourth. The Serbian minnows shocked Liverpool with a 2-0 win on Tuesday, a result that has left the qualification hopes of last season’s finalists hanging in the balance. With only two rounds of games to go, it remains anyone’s guess who will make it through the group and who will not.
Liverpool’s failure to beat the Belgrade side is not only bad for the Reds’ chances of qualification, but also for their morale. The momentum they have built up in the early parts of the season could easily be lost thanks to performances and results like these. They will be looking to get back to winning ways as fast as possible.
Things went from bad to worse for Thierry Henry at Monaco, as his charges fell to a humiliating 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Club Brugge. That result now means that Henry is still searching for his first win as manager. His record currently reads played five, drawn two, lost three.
The conversation around the merits of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology was back on the table this week, as Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was awarded a bizarre penalty by Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai. The decision once again proved the fallibility of human officials with no technological assistance. That said, however, Kassai was poorly positioned to make a correct call in the moment. Even with five assistants, they still got the verdict wrong.