UEFA Champions League: Winners and Losers in Tuesday's Matches

Stefan GouyetAnalyst INovember 21, 2012

UEFA Champions League: Winners and Losers in Tuesday's Matches

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    The first eight matches in Round 5 of the Champions League Group Stage are over.

    Barcelona, Valencia and Bayern Munich all qualified while Sporting Braga, Spartak Moscow and BATE Borisov were all eliminated. 

    It was an interesting but controversial set of matches as the Group Stage comes to a close. 

    Here's a list of winners and losers from Tuesday's fixtures.

Loser: Shakhtar Donetsk

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    Shakhtar Donetsk won 5-2 on Tuesday, but they will be criticized for their unsportsmanlike behavior.

    Luiz Adriano scored a hat-trick but his first goal came under very controversial circumstances. 

    Following a foul on Nordstrand, the referee awarded a drop-ball, which Willian rightly played back to Nordsjælland's keeper. However, as you can see on the video, Luiz Adriano took the ball before it reached the keeper and scored to equalize for Shakhtar.

    Whether he was confused or simply unsportsmanlike, the goal will be seen as very unfair. 

    And the fact that Shakhtar didn't let Nordsjælland get a goal back makes the situation even worse.

    The Ukrainian side will be happy about the final score, but you can expect there to be a fair amount of backlash from soccer fans around the world. 

Winner: Benfica

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    At the end of Gameweek 3, Benfica were last in Group G, with one draw and two losses.

    Now, the Portuguese side are second with seven points.

    Their form has improved greatly, and they are now guaranteed at least a spot in the Europa League's knockout rounds.

    Benfica beat Spartak Moscow at home two weeks ago and overcame Celtic on Tuesday. From one point after three games to seven points after five games, Jorge Jesus' side have turned their fortunes around tremendously.

    They play Barcelona at the Camp Nou for their final group game and will need luck on their side if they are to progress.

Winner: Burak Yilmaz

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    Burak Yilmaz is undoubtedly Galatasaray's most important player in the Champions League.

    After earning just one point in three group matches, the Turkish side recovered with an away win at CFR Cluj and a home victory against Manchester United.

    Yilmaz scored all five of Galatasaray's group-stage goals and is a huge threat to any team.

    Like Benfica, Faith Terim's side improved their form and are now just one win away from a spot in the Champions League Round of 16.

    Galatasaray face Sporting Braga in Portugal while CFR Cluj, who are tied on points with the Turks, play at Old Trafford. 

    Yilmaz will need to keep adding to his goal tally if his side are going to go far in the competition.

Loser: Roberto Di Matteo

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    Chelsea's form has plummeted tremendously since losing to Manchester United on October 28th. They have won just two of their last seven games in all competitions.

    They have dropped down to third in the English Premier League and are at risk of being eliminated from the Champions League.

    With every point dropped, Roberto Di Matteo moves closer to getting fired. 

    Now, even if Chelsea do win against Nordsjælland in the final Group Stage match, the Blues may still be eliminated from the competition. 

Winner: Barcelona

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    Barcelona have been in stellar form this season but were criticized for their performance against Celtic a fortnight ago.

    On Tuesday, the Spanish side put in a strong performance to knock Spartak Moscow out of the competition. Barcelona were great, with Lionel Messi once again adding to his 2012 goal tally.

    Tito Vilanova's side have dropped just two points in La Liga so far this season and look unstoppable. If they keep playing like this, Barca will be strong favorites to lift the Champions League trophy.