Winners and Losers from the Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Legs

Ryan BaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2014

Winners and Losers from the Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Legs

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    Christophe Ena

    According to Sporting Intelligence, there was a combined €742 million worth of talent on the field at the Parc des Princes when Paris Saint-Germain took on Chelsea. 

    Despite relative financial parity, the Ligue 1 leaders outclassed Jose Mourinho's men in almost every department, but one man who did not live up to his fearsome reputation was Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I've selected him as a "loser" in this piece, but please don't tell him that.

    Read on for the winners and losers from all the first-leg matches of the Champions League quarter-finals...

Winner: David Moyes

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Considering Manchester United's league form and style of play this season, most were expecting European champions Bayern Munich to obliterate them at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

    Even though they enjoyed a phenomenal 74 percent of possession, as per WhoScored.com, the Germans were held to a draw thanks to the tactics of David Moyes.

    Man Utd defended doggedly, they sat very deep for most of the match and they were very happy to let Bayern enjoy the lion's share of possession. In lieu of any kind of midfield, United got men behind the ball, stopped Die Roten in the final third and set up fast counter-attacks. Speaking to the German press on Wednesday, Arjen Robben made it clear he wasn't a fan of the tactics, but they worked. 

    The Red Devils were organised and managed to maintain their shape—two traits that have been lacking so far in this campaign. Thanks to Moyes, they now have a fighting chance at the Allianz Arena next week. After all, if Manchester City can win there...

Loser: Marouane Fellaini

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    The longer he has worn a Manchester United shirt, the worse Marouane Fellaini's form seems to have become. 

    The Red Devils faithful have been piling criticism on the lanky Belgian this season, with the general consensus being that he is not the kind of midfield enforcer the club needs.

    On Tuesday evening, Fellaini put in a poor performance, particularly in terms of keeping up with the pace of the game. When Bastian Schweinsteiger rifled in the equaliser, Fellaini was nowhere near the man he was supposed to be tracking. 

    Spanish newspaper AS (via the Daily Mail) were so damning that they refused to give him a player rating, while the Mail also notes that he lost 76 percent of his tackles and 83 percent of aerial duels. Considering the fact that he won more than 150 aerial duels with Everton last season—more than all 11 of United's midfielders combined—this is not good news.

Winner and Loser: Bastian Schweinsteiger

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Bastian Schweinsteiger had a mixed night at Old Trafford.

    The Bayern Munich man maintained a pass accuracy of 89 percent and took more touches than anyone else on the field, as per WhoScored.com, showing his importance in midfield. And of course, he scored Die Roten's vital away goal in the 66th minute, which qualifies him for "winner" status.

    However, Schweini left the field in the 90th minute having picked up two yellow cards. The first was awarded when he held Danny Welbeck back, and the second was a mistimed tackle on Wayne Rooney. Pep Guardiola may have believed the England striker dived—and he did make a meal of it—but the challenge was almost certainly worthy of another yellow.

    Schweinsteiger will now miss the return leg at the Allianz Arena next Wednesday.

Winner: Diego

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    Manu Fernandez

    Barcelona met La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid for the fourth time on Tuesday evening, and for the fourth time, the game ended honours even.

    Atleti's game plan looked to have taken an unfortunate turn when La Liga's second-highest goalscorer, Diego Costa, had to be subbed off with an apparent hamstring strain in the 30th minute.

    However, they were able to bring on another Brazilian-born Diego in his place, who scored one of the best goals you are likely to see this season, beating Pinto at his near post from distance.

    The strike was so impressive that Barca manager Tata Martino almost cheered. "When I saw the ball go in I almost wanted to celebrate it, it was a tremendous goal," he was quoted as saying by ESPN.co.uk

    This was Diego's second substitute appearance of this European campaign and just his second goal since his January transfer from Wolfsburg.

Loser: Gerard Pique

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Atleti weren't the only ones to suffer a serious injury setback at the Nou Camp. Barcelona's title aspirations will also be damaged by the loss of Gerard Pique, who fell heavily in the 12th minute and picked up a hairline fracture of the pelvis, as per The Guardian

    The central defender will be out for four weeks, which means he will miss the second leg, the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid and several league matches. 

    Pique was replaced by 23-year-old youth team graduate Marc Bartra. Seeing as Carles Puyol has spent much of the season on the sidelines and defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano has had to drop back and fill in, it's fair to say Barca's defence is now a little stretched.

Loser: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    Michel Euler

    Chelsea came to the Parc des Princes on Wednesday evening knowing the task would be much tougher than their last visit in September 2004, in which Jose Mourinho recorded a comfortable 3-0 win on his European Cup debut with the club. 

    PSG were more than up to the task, playing some beautiful football, enjoying 54 percent of possession and taking twice as many attempts on goal, as per UEFA.com.

    One man who didn't put in a vintage performance, however, was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who managed only one off-target shot, as per WhoScored.com, and contributed very little.

    This will do nothing for his reputation in the English press, where he is criticised for failing to perform against the Premier League's elite. According to Back Page Football, the talismanic Swede has only scored three goals in 17 games against English teams, all against Arsenal.

Winner: Javier Pastore

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Javier Pastore only spent five minutes on the field on Wednesday, but his contribution may prove vital in PSG's ascension to the semi-finals.

    In the 90th minute, the Argentinian weaved through the Chelsea defence to score a marvellous solo goal. The defending from Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry and Frank Lampard left an awful lot to be desired, with Pastore being given a relatively easy ride to beating Petr Cech at his near post.

    The goal put the Parisians 3-1 ahead, making it much harder for Chelsea to mount a comeback at Stamford Bridge next week. They could have dealt with a 2-1 loss, but 3-1 will be particularly challenging for a side that's shown defensive naivety recently.

Loser: Chelsea Fans

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    Credit: @peterallenparis

    Before the game, a group of so-called Chelsea fans rampaged through Paris. According to The Guardian, a group of travelling Blues supporters smashed shops and cafes in central Paris, with witnesses spotting them doing Nazi salutes and singing English Defence League chants. 

    This disgusting behaviour tarnishes the reputation of the true fans and the beautiful game itself. Hopefully, those found guilty are dealt with swiftly.

Winner: Dani Carvajal

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    Paul White

    Real Madrid were out for revenge against Borussia Dortmund, the side that dumped them out of the Champions League semi-finals last season. A win for Los Blancos was always on the cards, however, with BVB suffering a long list of injuries and only fielding four players from last season's 4-1 demolition.  

    Madrid's best player was surely Dani Carvajal, who took only three minutes to set up Gareth Bale's well-taken opener. According to WhoScored.com, he made eight tackles—more than any other full-back in the competition this season.

Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    In the 57th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo picked up a ball from Luka Modric to round Roman Weidenfeller for the third goal.

    This was the Portuguese star's 14th goal of the Champions League campaign, equalling the record set by his pal Lionel Messi in 2011-12. According to Goal.com, he has now scored every 50.71 minutes in the tournament, eclipsing Messi's 70.71-minute average.  

    Ronaldo caused concern when he hobbled off injured, but Carlo Ancelotti is "not too concerned about it," according to La Liga journalist Dermot Corrigan.

Winner: Me!

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    Credit: Bleacher Report

    On the day of the Champions League quarter-final draw, I made predictions for each of the ties. Somehow, I managed to get all the results right and nearly all of the scores. 

    Will my crystal ball prove just as accurate for the second leg? Tune in next week to find out!

     

    Follow me on Twitter @RyanJayBailey.