Top Winners, Losers After Tuesday's Champions League Round of 16 Leg 2 ResultsMarch 9, 2021
Are you not entertained?
The Champions League provided a brilliant day of football and some incredible drama on Tuesday, with Borussia Dortmund and Porto advancing to the quarterfinals. Dortmund moved on with a 2-2 draw vs. Sevilla (5-4 on aggregate), while Juventus beat Porto 3-2 in extra time but lost on away goals (4-4 on aggregate).
Whew. Let's take a deep breath and review the winners and losers from Tuesday's action.
Winner: Erling Haaland
This dude is superhuman.
Haaland added two more goals to his impressive Champions League tally, leading Dortmund through to the quarterfinals following the 2-2 draw (5-4 on aggregate). Just look at his work:
Neither one of those goals was even Haaland's most impressive moment of the match. He scored a ridiculous goal after trucking a defender on a 50-50 ball before beating Yassine Bounou at an absurd angle. The goal was disallowed after VAR granted Dortmund a penalty for a previous foul prior to the goal, which led to a Haaland missed penalty.
But VAR struck again, granting Haaland a second chance after it was determined that Bounou was off his line on the initial take. Haaland scored on the second attempt and was booked for mocking Bounou—who had done the same to Haaland after his disallowed save—wrapping up a truly bizarre sequence.
It was all window dressing, as Haaland yet again carried Dortmund to victory. He is one of football's most ascendant superstars.
Winner: Sergio Oliveira
With the draw tied at 3-3 on aggregate, Sergio Oliveira stepped up to a free kick and delivered one of the signature moments of the Champions League this season:
Talk about clutch.
Yeah, sure, the wall should have been better. Wojciech Szczesny certainly could have done better. But Oliveira absolutely fizzed one into the corner. He deserved credit for exploiting some lazy defense and poor goalkeeping.
And Porto deserve credit for surviving, down a man, for the majority of the second half and extra time. What a goal. What a win.
Loser: Andrea Pirlo
If you thought Andrea Pirlo was on the hot seat before, well, it's practically volcanic now.
The Juventus manager is going to be in the crosshairs after being knocked out in the round of 16, a huge disappointment for one of the preeminent clubs in Europe.
But the way Juventus lost will be even more scrutinized. For this team to be up a man for around 65 minutes and still lose is astonishing.
Juventus currently trails Serie A-leading Inter Milan by 10 points (though Juve has a game in hand). It would take a major meltdown from Inter to erase that gap. Pirlo's maiden voyage as Juve's manager this season might be his only one on the job.
Winner: Federico Chiesa's Development
Federico Chiesa nearly saved Juventus from disaster on Tuesday. With Juve down a goal and trailing in aggregate, he scored an absolute stunner to make things interesting early in the second half:
About 12 minutes later, with Porto now down a man, he got on the end of a brilliant Juan Cuadrado cross and headed Juve even:
It was a crucial performance on a day when Juventus didn't come out sharp, and attackers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata just couldn't find that final bit of quality when handed chances. It was also another sign that the 23-year-old Chiesa is trending in the right direction:
Juve needed a hero on Tuesday. Chiesa answered the call. Unfortunately, most of his teammates didn't.
Loser: Cristiano Ronaldo
The superstar, simply put, wasn't good enough on Tuesday. He wasn't clinical when he had chances and didn't play a major part in Juventus' build-up more often than not.
Even more indicting was his lazy defending on Oliveira's tie-winning goal, when he lazily lifted his leg and allowed the shot through.
All in all, a disappointing showing from the Juventus talisman.