Winners and Losers from Champions League Last-16 2nd Leg: RVP Nets Hat-Trick
Here are the winners and losers from the eight UEFA Champions League last-16 second-leg fixtures.
This slideshow will go through winners and losers from the Atletico Madrid vs. AC Milan, Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal, Barcelona vs. Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea vs. Galatasaray, Real Madrid vs. Schalke, Manchester United vs. Olympiakos and Borussia Dortmund vs. FC Zenit games.
Statistics via WhoScored
Atletico Madrid 4-1 AC Milan (5-1 on Aggregate)
WINNER: Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
AC Milan centre-backs Adil Rami and Daniele Bonera were no match for Costa, a physically imposing yet skillful centre-forward who dominated the game with two goals.
Three minutes into the game, Costa eluded both Milan centre-backs and guided the ball past Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati after a delightful cross from Atleti all-round midfielder Koke.
Costa's goal all but ended any chance of Milan building up momentum.
He added a second late in the game.
LOSER: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan)
Balotelli only scored two goals in eight UEFA Champions League games from 23 shots—unacceptable.
Aside from making a pass to Andrea Poli, who crossed the ball for Kaka to head home, Balotelli did not do enough for Milan.
This is why Milan legend Alessandro Costacurta believes the club cannot make Balotelli the "fulcrum of the team" as he "will never be a world-class player," per Football Italia.
Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal (3-1 on Aggregate)
WINNER: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)
In two UEFA Champions League games against Arsenal, Thiago attempted 207 passes and had a 92.5 passing completion percentage.
He kept play rolling along for Bayern and was vital in winning back the ball.
He led Bayern in tackles (three) in the 2-0 first-leg win and interceptions (five) in the 1-1 second-leg draw.
Thiago is just part of Pep Guardiola's midfield rotation and Bayern's word-class squad depth is a big factor why the club are unbeaten in 50 league games, per Bayern's official website.
LOSER: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Ozil's hamstring injury in the second leg against Bayern deprived the German international of making up for his anonymous first-leg performance, per the Guardian.
Ozil's body language has progressively worsened, so the three- to six-week layoff could recharge the German mentally, as the constant criticisms of his performances temporarily stop.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made an insightful comparison between Dennis Bergkamp and Ozil following the German failing to score a penalty against Bayern in the first-leg. Wenger told James Orr at the Independent:
It's part of the job to deal with disappointment and prove you can get on with it. He [Ozil] apologised after the game. I have seen this before with Bergkamp, missing in 1999 [in the FA Cup semi-final replay against Manchester United] and refusing after to take any penalties.
Former Arsenal manager George Graham said he was not worried about Ozil's form, pointing to Bergkamp struggling early on his Gunners' career, per Alex Varney at talkSPORT.
Barcelona 2-1 Manchester City (4-1 on Aggregate)
WINNER: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
If not for the woodwork, Messi would have scored three times over two legs against Manchester City, instead of twice.
But he was at his best in the second leg, when he accumulated seven dribbles, made 92 percent of his passes and dictated play like a footballer who is on a quest to win back the FIFA Ballon d'Or.
LOSER: Manchester City management
Even with Sheikh Mansour's billions, City managed to field two walking liabilities in Martin Demichelis, who is only at the club because of his friendship with City manager Manuel Pellegrini, and Joleon Lescott, who is already thinking about life after City, per Stuart Brennan at the Manchester Evening News.
Demichelis cost City in the first leg by conceding a penalty and being sent off, while Lescott's mistake led to Messi's goal in the second leg.
Paris Saint-Germain 2–1 Bayer Leverkusen (6-1 on Aggregate)
WINNER: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain)
Ibrahimovic has never won the UEFA Champions League.
Although if he continues the form that has led to 10 goals in seven Champions League games, PSG will be contenders to win the Champions League.
He was close to scoring in the 2-1 second-leg win over Bayer Leverkusen when he hit the crossbar.
LOSER: Leverkusen Defence
Leverkusen manager Sami Hyypia, a centre-back who played 10 seasons at Liverpool, needs to sort out this inconsistent Leverkusen defence.
While Leverkusen are tied with Borussia Dortmund for the second-best defensive record in the Bundesliga, Hyypia's team have had implosions in the Champions League.
Leverkusen conceded nine goals over two games against Manchester United and four goals against PSG in the first leg.
Chelsea 2-0 Galatasaray (3-1 on Aggregate)
WINNER: Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)
Another professional and tidy win by Mourinho's Chelsea.
"We [Chelsea] are among the best eight, the best clubs in the world, and we are there," Mourinho said, per Dominic Fifield at the Guardian. "We wait for the draw. It doesn't matter who. They are all welcome."
Mourinho is striving to win his third UEFA Champions League title (won with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010).
LOSER: Roberto Mancini (Galatasaray)
Mancini has a tendency to make left-field tactical decisions and he was true to form in Galatasaray's second-leg defeat to Chelsea.
Why did he play Wesley Sneijder, a creative playmaker, on the left wing against Chelsea's muscular and robust right-back Branislav Ivanovic?
Without Sneijder's incisive passes, it limited Galatasaray centre-forward Didier Drogba's effectiveness.
Real Madrid 3–1 Schalke (9-2 on Aggregate)
WINNER: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Ronaldo is not content with two goals; he wanted four goals and twice the woodwork bailed Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann out.
If those two shots deflected into the back of the net, Real would have won 11-2 on aggregate.
Ronaldo's will to continue scoring will put him in good stead as he aims to win another European Golden Shoe.
LOSER: Jese (Real Madrid)
Jese will not be able to add to his five goals and four assists in La Liga this season as he will miss the rest of the campaign after suffering cruciate damage to his knee against Schalke, per BBC Sport.
Jese was enjoying a breakout season for Real, so hopefully he can make a swift recovery.
Manchester United 3-0 Olympiakos (3-2 on Aggregate)
WINNER: Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
Van Persie should have been red-carded after frustration-induced tackling in a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion and then he had an off game in a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Cue open season on lambasting Van Persie.
Well, it did not last long because he saved United manager David Moyes with a match-winning hat-trick against Olympiakos.
The free-kick that left Olympiakos goalkeeper Roberto (a great shot-stopper) stationary was perfection.
LOSER: Jose Holebas (Olympiakos)
OK, Olympiakos had a 2-0 first-leg lead against United, a team in disarray after being played off the field by Liverpool.
Why did Jose Holebas give away such a pointless penalty?
Van Persie converted the spot-kick and completed his hat-trick 26 minutes later.
Holebas' error fuelled United's comeback.
Borussia Dortmund 1-2 FC Zenit (5-4 on Aggregate)
WINNER: Axel Witsel (FC Zenit)
Witsel controlled midfield proceedings and was a star for Zenit as they valiantly pushed to overturn a first-leg deficit.
He led the game in pass attempts (95), won back possession four times and forced Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller into two saves.
LOSER: Dortmund defence
Mats Hummels and Sokratis were all over the place Wednesday.
Sokratis gave away the ball 26 percent of the time he attempted a pass and Hummels switched off at irregular intervals, which is not a great thing to do with his team attempting not to concede more goals.
If Weidenfeller was not on his game today, Dortmund may have been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League.