Champions League 2020: Winners and Losers After Friday's Round of 16 Results

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 7, 2020

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League, round of 16, second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (Oli Scarff/Pool Photo via AP)
Oli Scarff/Associated Press

The UEFA Champions League made its long-awaited return on Friday with Manchester City and Lyon advancing to the quarterfinals on aggregate. 

City and Lyonnais won the first leg of their respective matches with Real Madrid and Juventus way back on Feb. 26, before play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Pep Guardiola is chasing his first Champions League crown since 2010-11 with Barcelona. The 49-year-old has led Manchester City to the quarterfinals in each of the past two years, where they have lost to the eventual runner-up. 

Gabriel Jesus' goal in the 68th minute provided the knockout blow for City against Real Madrid.

Lyon stunned Juventus 1-0 in the first leg five months ago, handing the Zebras their first loss after going unbeaten in group play. Cristiano Ronaldo tried to will Juventus to the quarterfinals, scoring both of his team's goals on Friday, but it wasn't enough to push the team over the top. 

UEFA Champions League Results (Aug. 7)

  • Manchester City 2-1 Real Madrid (Man City win 4-2 on aggregate)
  • Juventus 2-1 Lyon (2-2 aggregate; Lyon advances on away goals)


Winner: Pep Guardiola

The Manchester City manager was very matter-of-fact about his expectations for his team heading into Friday. 

"I have the feeling now today that we are ready to play the game tomorrow, do a good performance and win the game," he told reporters. "That is my feeling: We are ready."

City wasted no time proving Guardiola right when Raheem Sterling took advantage of poor defense and goaltending by Real Madrid to put his team up 1-0 in the ninth minute. 

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

A dream start for @ManCityUS! A giveaway in front of goal sees Raheem Sterling slot home the empty-netter. https://t.co/VVLbIvfckl

The irony of that moment is Guardiola acknowledged during his Thursday press conference that his team has too often been caught napping on the defensive end. 

"More than conceding the goals, it's the way that we conceded the goals," he said. "When they are brilliant and make a good action, we have to accept it. But for most of them, it was goals that could have been avoided. We have to avoid it. Making mistakes in this competition punishes you a lot."

Madrid did even the score at one in the 28th minute on Karim Benzema's terrific header in heavy traffic, including three defenders, but Guardiola's squad tightened things up after that and only allowed four shots on goal. 

Guardiola made history in the win by ending Zinedine Zidane's streak of Champions League wins in knockout matches:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Zidane loses a Champions League knockout match for the first time as Real Madrid manager. Varane blunders seized on by Man City. It's City to Lisbon for the singe-game Champions League quarterfinal a week on Saturday

One thing that has gotten Guardiola into trouble in previous years was getting outcoached by the opposition, as ESPN's Mark Ogden detailed:

"Their Champions League downfall over the past three seasons has been, in part, down to Guardiola's habit of overthinking his tactics and selection in the knockout rounds. Against Monaco, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, City were eliminated because Guardiola allowed himself to be outsmarted by his opposite number each time. His team lost the first leg at Liverpool and Spurs, and failed to find a way back in the return fixture at the Etihad and were dumped out by an attacking Monaco side that showed no fear."

City looked to be in trouble during the first leg, trailing 1-0 deep into the second half until two late goals, including Kevin De Bruyne's penalty kick in the 83rd minute, pushed them over the top. 

A fast start in the second leg eased a lot of the pressure on Guardiola, and he's back in the quarterfinals with a chance to win his third career Champions League crown as a manager. 


Loser: Raphael Varane

As Real Madrid looks back on everything that went wrong, it's going to be hard not to focus in on Raphael Varane's defensive struggles that directly aided City. 

Jesus was running circles around Varane all day, including on the go-ahead goal midway through the second half:

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

Gabriel Jesus pounces and @ManCityUS are in total control in Manchester, now up 4-2 on aggregate. https://t.co/gnfyAWFC2w

The stats only further solidify how badly things went for the 27-year-old:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

📉 Raphael Varane earned a WhoScored rating of just 4.62 in Real Madrid's 2-1 loss at Manchester City tonight; Only Joel Veltman vs Chelsea (4.27) has received lower of any outfield player in a Champions League match this season https://t.co/IqAxc9sTFU

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

😱 Raphael Varane has now committed three errors leading to an opposition goal in 40 league and European appearances this season, all of which have come in the Champions League 1⃣ 🆚 PSG 2⃣ 🆚 Manchester City https://t.co/XJfKzxHOjt

Zidane had to rely on Varane at center-back because Sergio Ramos was unavailable due to a suspension.

Things couldn't have gone worse for him on this stage, resulting in the Whites going home in the round of 16 for the second straight year. 


Winner and Loser: Cristiano Ronaldo

What more is there to say about Ronaldo at this point?

The Juventus superstar was unable to make up the difference on aggregate for the club to advance, but his offensive output continues to dwarf everyone else's in the knockout stage:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Cristiano Ronaldo has 67 career Champions League knockout stage goals. The next two closest players (Messi and Muller) have 67 KO stage goals combined 😳 @ESPNFC https://t.co/dFd2EWKNjy

Dating back to last year's Champions League knockout stage, Ronaldo has scored all seven Juventus goals.  On an individual basis, there's no denying the 35-year-old remains the most dominant scorer in the world. 

Unfortunately, Ronaldo's success hasn't been enough to get Juventus over the hump in Champions League play. The team hasn't been able to advance past the quarterfinals since he arrived in 2018. 


Cristiano Ronaldo fails to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2010 😳 https://t.co/TQwRoyqXDb

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Cristiano Ronaldo won the Champions League in his last three seasons at Real Madrid. He hasn’t made it past the quarterfinals with Juventus. @ESPNFC https://t.co/c7PH7PMdt4

Memphis Depay's goal for Lyon came on a penalty kick, though there was controversy about referee Felix Zwayer's call because it appeared Rodrigo Bentancur got the ball cleanly from Houssem Aouar early in the first half. 

Depay's conversion provided the only scoring that Lyon would need to advance. Ronaldo and Juventus might spend a lot of time wondering what might have been had that call not happened, but the team waited too long to come alive. 


Winner: Rudi Garcia

Lyon entered the knockout phase coming off an uninspired run in group play. Rudi Garcia's club finished 2-2-2 with a plus-one goal differential to make it out of Group G. 

There was very little evidence to suggest the Kids were going to have enough to hold down Ronaldo and Juventus. 

Juventus dominated the ball in the first leg, holding possession for 64 percent of the time. The key for Lyon on that day was preventing the Old Lady from getting a clean shot on goal in a 1-0 victory. 

Garcia's team held firm long enough in the second led to advance on aggregate, making history in the process:

Tancredi Palmeri @tancredipalmeri

Juventus are kicked out by a French team for THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY!

Lyon will have its hands full in the quarterfinals against Manchester City. Garcia's record since taking over the club in October 2019 is 17-7-10 in 34 matches. It's not an exceptional mark, by any means, but he's done enough to put his team in a position to compete with anyone. 


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