Roma and Liverpool stars feature heavily in our Champions League Team of the Week

Tom Biggs 12/04/2018
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Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino

The Champions League quarter-final second legs provided plenty of drama, as Roma produced an astonishing comeback against Barcelona and fellow Serie A side Juventus almost did the same against Real Madrid.

Bayern Munich did enough to see off Sevilla, while Liverpool beat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium to seal a 5-1 aggregate victory and progress to the final four of the competition.

Here we pick out our Champions League Team of the Week…

GK: David Soria – Sevilla

Had it not been for Soria, Bayern Munich would have won this tie a lot more comfortably. The Sevilla stopper made a total of six saves during the game to keep the score goalless and give the Spaniards hope of launching their own memorable comeback. They were unable to do so, but Soria will have been pleased with his personal contribution in Germany.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool

The 19-year-old backed up his coming-of-age display in the 3-0 first-leg victory at Anfield with another assured performance for Jurgen Klopp’s side. With Manchester City trying to overload the left, Alexander-Arnold did superbly well to nullify the threat of Leroy Sane for long periods. The youngster made six interceptions and three tackles in total.

CB: Kostas Manolas – Roma

Kostas Manolas celebrates his decisive goal against Barcelona

Kostas Manolas celebrates his decisive goal against Barcelona

The hero. Manolas’ performance was assured throughout, as Roma’s defensive unit did superbly well to keep Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi quiet. The defender’s passing was also excellent, finishing the game with a 92-per-cent pass accuracy as he helped Roma build from the back. He left his biggest contribution for eight minutes from time however, popping up with a clever header at the near post to send Roma through on away goals.

CB: Giorgio Chiellini – Juventus

For much of the night it looked as though Chiellini had finally got the better of Cristiano Ronaldo – until the Real Madrid man netted the decisive penalty. The Italian was excellent in keeping the Portugal international at bay, making an impressive eight clearances and three interceptions – both more than more than any other Juventus player – as the Italian side almost pulled off one of the greatest-ever Champions League shocks.

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov – Roma

At 32, Kolarov still has plenty in the tank. Playing as a wing-back, the Serbia international got forward superbly well as Roma chased the three goals, while he also helped out defensively when required. Neither Nelson Semedo nor Sergi Roberto got any joy up against Kolarov, who made three interceptions and six clearances to help Roma record a remarkable victory and progress to the final four.

RM: Sadio Mane – Liverpool

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah may have got the goals, but Mane’s tireless running and commitment to the cause cannot be overlooked. The Senegal international was a menace going forward, completing seven dribbles, while he also made three interceptions as he helped out defensively when called upon. His clever first touch was key to Salah’s crucial away goal.

CM: Daniele De Rossi – Roma

A real captain’s performance from the 34-year-old to inspire Roma to victory. From his fantastic ball over the top of the defence, Dzeko opened the scoring, before De Rossi showed excellent composure from the penalty spot to fire home Roma’s second goal of the night and lift hopes of completing the comeback. The midfielder worked tirelessly to prevent Barcelona’s central midfielders from having time on the ball to pick a forward pass.

CM: Blaise Matuidi – Juventus

Blaise Matuidi was excellent for Juventus against Real Madrid

Blaise Matuidi was excellent for Juventus against Real Madrid

A surprise absence in the first leg, you do wonder what might have been for Juventus had Matuidi played in both games. The midfielder was excellent in the Bernabeu, doing a great job defensively and providing a real attacking threat with deep runs from midfield. He was in the right place at the right time to net the goal that drew Juve level on aggregate, and had a pass success rate of 87 per cent.

LM: Mario Mandzukic – Juventus

Another to come into the Juventus side after not starting the first leg, Mandzukic more than justified his inclusion. The Croatia forward took his two goals really well, rising above right-back Dani Carvajal on both occasions to bring the aggregate score back to 3-2. Not only did he contribute going forward, Mandzukic tracked back well to deny Carvajal any joy when Real Madrid looked to get forward.

ST: Roberto Firmino – Liverpool

Such is the Brazilian’s willingness to work hard, Jurgen Klopp switched Firmino with Salah midway through the first half. His high intensity pressing from wide positions prevented Manchester City from finding freedom on the wings, as Liverpool came from behind to win. His effort was rewarded when he capitalised on Nicolas Otamendi’s mistake and finished superbly to put the tie beyond doubt.

ST: Edin Dzeko – Roma

A real centre forward’s performance from the Bosnian. Dzeko won five aerial duels and kept Barcelona’s defenders under pressure at all times. The former Manchester City man started the incredible comeback with a well-taken goal, before winning the penalty that was converted by De Rossi. Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti failed to deal with Dzeko’s presence all evening.

Sport360's Champions League Team of the Week

Sport360’s Champions League Team of the Week

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Real Madrid player ratings as Cristiano Ronaldo keeps his cool but Keylor Navas flops

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Cristiano Ronaldo held his nerve to send Madrid through to the semi-finals.

Another thrilling Champions League game saw Juventus nearly pull off another stunning comeback as they took a 3-0 lead at the Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid.

However, a dramatic finish saw Cristiano Ronaldo score an injury-time penalty to send Madrid through to the semi-finals after Gianluigi Buffon was sent off for protesting the penalty decision.

Here’s how the Madrid players perform.

STARTING XI

Keylor Navas 3 – An absolute howler for Juventus’ third goal. Moments like these are why Madrid are always linked with goalkeepers in the transfer market.

Dani Carvajal 4 – Was caught out twice against Mario Mandzukic, for two goals. Didn’t receive enough help from his fellow defenders, but bears some responsibility himself.

Raphael Varane 5 – Should have done better for the first goal, when his movement dragged the entire defence wide to leave Mandzukic open. Nearly made amends with a thumping header against the bar.

Jesus Vallejo 5 – Looked nervous, making his Champions League debut, but ended up just about being Madrid’s best defender.

Marcelo 4 – Left his defence exposed too often, and all three Juventus goals came from his flank. Usually an underrated defender, but on Wednesday he was caught out.

Luka Modric 5 – Played some delightful passes to get Madrid out of pressure at times, but lost his duel with Blaise Matuidi. Taken off for Kovacic to give the side some solidity.

Casemiro 4 – Taken off at half-time after a rare poor outing. Should have been providing cover for Carvajal given the mismatch with Mandzukic.

Toni Kroos 5 – Conducted the midfield when Madrid were attacking, but was overrun when Juventus attacked. Bossed the game towards the end to redeem himself.

Isco 6 – Pulled the Juve defence from side to side with his running, but with less impact compared to his first-leg performance.

Gareth Bale 5 – Given a chance to impress and didn’t take it. Barely got on the ball, didn’t have an impact when he did, and was hauled off at half-time.

Cristiano Ronaldo 7 – Ice cool for his penalty and always a threat. With all the pressure and all the madness going around him, to put that way as emphatically as he did was sublime.

SUBSTITUTES

Lucas Vazquez 7 – Made an impact after coming on at half-time, playing a couple of good passes in the final third. Went down easily for the penalty – but was entitled to, with the contact.

Marco Asensio 6 – Provided cover for Marcelo on the left, which was missing in the first half. Linked up well with the rest of his attack.

Matteo Kovacic 6 – Came in and stabilised Madrid’s midfield after Juve had been overrunning his colleagues all evening long.

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Cristiano Ronaldo breaks Juventus hearts to send Real Madrid through to semis

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored an injury-time penalty to book Real Madrid’s place in the Champions League semi-finals after losing the second leg 3-1, but winning the tie 4-3 on aggregate.

Juventus had wiped out Real Madrid’s three-goal advantage from the first leg with Mario Mandzukic scoring twice before Blaise Matuidi levelled the tie at 3-3 after an hour.

But with the tie heading towards extra-time, Madrid were awarded a penalty following Mehdi Benatia’s challenge on Lucas.

Gianluigi Buffon was shown a red card by Michael Oliver for protesting the decision, leaving Ronaldo to score his 41st goal of the season from the spot past substitute keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Trailing 3-0, Juventus needed a positive start to get back into the tie and Mandzukic gave the Bianconeri the perfect start by heading home Sami Khedira’s lofted cross to the back post with 90 seconds played to make it 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

Gareth Bale came close to restoring Madrid’s three-goal aggregate lead but his shot was saved by Buffon and Bale’s follow-up back heel found the side netting.

In a wide open start to the game, Isco had the ball in the back of Juventus’ net, but the flag was up for offside as he followed up after Buffon spilled Ronaldo’s shot.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri was forced into a substitution after just 17 minutes, replacing Mattia De Sciglio with Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Juventus were indebted to their 40-year-old goalkeeper Buffon who denied Isco with a fine save after Ronaldo’s through ball created the chance.

That save proved to be crucial as three minutes later Mandzukic scored with another back post header, this time from Lichtsteiner’s cross from the right.

In added time at the end of a pulsating first half, Raphael Varane saw his header from six yards out rebound off the bar after being picked out by Toni Kroos’ delivery from the left.

With half an hour to play, Juventus had wiped out Real Madrid’s three-goal advantage. Keylor Navas failed to collect a cross into the box and Matuidi was in the right place at the right time to poke the ball home for an improbable equaliser.

Real Madrid searched for the first home goal of the tie and Isco forced Buffon into another good save as he turned the shot past the post for a corner from which Varane’s shot on the turn sailed wide.

Ronaldo, from a similar position from where Mandzukic score his second, failed to find the target with five minutes remaining in normal time.

The Portuguese played a pivotal role in the conclusion to the game. It was his header that Lucas was about to control when Benatia was adjudged to have fouled the Madrid man six yards from goal.

Buffon took his protests too far and was sent off by the English referee before Ronaldo showed great composure to fire his penalty past Szczesny to send the defending champions through to the semi-finals.

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