Top Winners, Losers After Tuesday's Final Champions League Round-of-16 Results

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne, obscured, is congratulated by teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Borussia Moenchengladbach at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Laszlo Balogh)
Laszlo Balogh/Associated Press

There wasn't much drama in the Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday, with Real Madrid easing past Atalanta 3-1 (4-1 on aggregate) and Manchester City dominating Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 (4-0 on aggregate). 

Below, we'll break down the winners and losers from the day's action. 


Blink and you'll miss this rocket from Kevin De Bruyne: 

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

KDB HIT THAT 🚀😳 https://t.co/eWOQAUbqcO

What a strike. What a player. 

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

25 - Kevin De Bruyne has scored 25 goals from outside the box in all competitions for Manchester City, the most of any Premier League since he joined the club. Thunderous. https://t.co/RMVhAUqM9e

City were never really troubled by Gladbach in either leg of this draw, precisely because the club boast world-class players like De Bruyne. If you were picking a favorite to win the Champions League right now, smart money would probably be on City. They are irrepressible at the moment. 


Winner: The Phil Foden-Ilkay Gundogan Connection

Just look at this brilliant attack and goal from the City pair: 

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That through ball from Phil Foden 🤤 https://t.co/5Zo0uLSCuo

Arlo White 💙 @arlowhite

What a beautiful City goal, and Foden was central to it. Pep looked suitably delighted & impressed with it. Excellent Football.

Ever crafty, Phil Foden wasn't done there:

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

Phil Foden. Filthy 🔥 https://t.co/UZjFfplKlR

Nobody wants anything to do with this City side at the moment. Their highlights from Tuesday are a perfect example of why. 


Winner: The Pressing from Karim Benzema and Luka Modric

An excellent bit of pressure from Karim Benzema and Luka Modric led to Real Madrid's first goal, which ultimately was all they needed to see themselves through to the quarterfinals:

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

One shot. One goal. Karim Benzema scores his 70th #UCL goal. 🌟 https://t.co/jCgusibWpS

For Benzema, it continued what has been a brilliant Champions League career: 

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

Top goal scorers in Champions League history: Cristiano Ronaldo (134) Lionel Messi (120) Robert Lewandowski (72) Raúl (71) 𝐊𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐦 𝐁𝐞𝐧𝐳𝐞𝐦𝐚 (𝟕𝟎) https://t.co/48nKwL47fU

This is not the Real Madrid powerhouse of the past. But the club's combination of wily veterans like Benzema, Modric and Sergio Ramos and young, exciting talents like Vinicius makes them a scary proposition to face nonetheless. 


Loser: Marco Sportiello

The Atalanta goalkeeper gifted Real Madrid the first goal of the game, putting them in a hole they couldn't climb out of Tuesday. 

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

A cast-iron howler from Sportiello.

He gave up three goals in the match and, frankly, was lucky the tally wasn't higher:

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

Marco Asensio with the dagger. 🗡 https://t.co/a4p12zrPkO

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

The run from Vinicius 👏 The finish from Vinicius 🙈 https://t.co/O5BPyH7FD4

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

The ball out wide from Benzema. The cross from Lucas Vázquez 💫 https://t.co/z5jfAMlcoM

It's hard to pin the loss solely on Marco Sportiello. The Atlanta defense struggled with Real Madrid's counter-attack all evening long. But he didn't make matters any easier on his teammates.  


Loser: Danny Makkelie

The referee decided to blow the whistle at halftime, interrupting a brilliant scoring chance for Atalanta: 

Champions League on CBS Sports @UCLonCBSSports

The ref really blew the halftime whistle as Muriel was through on goal 😬 https://t.co/3jsoji29Gw

footballitalia @footballitalia

The moment the referee decided to whistle for half-time... Liveblog https://t.co/2d0ev1qxnF #RealMadridAtalanta #UCL https://t.co/4tlLNh3Ep8

Shambolic. Simply shambolic. 

Granted, the moment ultimately didn't decide the tie. And yes, by the letter of the law Danny Makkelie had the right to blow the whistle when he did. But referees normally offer attacking teams some leeway if they are threatening. You can't be any more threatening than that.