Home UEFA/EUROPA UCL: Five Talking Points After Wednesday’s Encounters

UCL: Five Talking Points After Wednesday’s Encounters

The UEFA Champions League quarter-finals was wrapped up on Wednesday with Manchester United losing to Barcelona at Old Trafford courtesy of an own goal deflected into the net by Luke Shaw.

At Amsterdam, ‘giant killers’, Ajax shared the spoils with Juventus in a game that ended 1-1.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the Bianconeri few seconds to end the first half and David Neres levelled for Ajax in the 46th minute after the second half resumed.

All four teams that played on Wednesday stand a chance of reaching the semi-finals with the slim victory and stalemate.

Here are five talking points from both games.

VAR LIVING UP TO EXPECTATIONS: When the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was finally approved for use in the Champions League by UEFA, it was an indication that football is not lagging behind in terms of modernization.

Barcelona’s goal at Old Trafford though was adjudged to be a deflection from Luke Shaw, but it was Luis Suarez who did the hard part when he headed a lobbed ball from Lionel Messi

Just when the Uruguayan striker was celebrating, the linesman raised his flag for an offside.

Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi acted on advice from his fellow countrymen watching on TV to overturn the decision and hand the visitors the lead.

The hawk-eyed technology has helped officials to make the right decisions in recent Champions League games including a penalty awarded to Manchester City in their game against Tottenham and Manchester United’s penalty goal that gave them the victory against PSG in the round of 16.

FOUR VENUES, FOUR VICTORIES FOR BARCA: Variety they say is the spice of life. Barcelona spiced their dominance over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Barcelona’s victory against Manchester United was the fourth venues the Blaugrana have now defeated the Red Devils.

The other three previous Stadiums are Camp Nou, Stadio Olimpico and Wembley.

LUKE SHAW OWN GOAL PUTS MANCHESTER UNITED ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY: Manchester United got on the wrong side of the UEFA Champions League history following Luke Shaw’s own goal at Old Trafford.

Hapless is the right word to describe the Red Devils’ situation who have now scored a total of eight own goals in the Champions League; a record unbeaten by any other club.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, RONALDO’S LEAGUE: Whenever the Champions League anthem is played, it always sounds like a shot in the arm to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Having been sidelined due to a tight injury, he sustained while on international duty for Portugal since March 25, Ronaldo returned for his first match since then against Ajax and he scored for Juventus in their 1-1 draw.

Anytime the five-time Ballon d’Or and Champions League winner scores, he creates another record.

The Juventus talisman has now extended his goal in the Champions League to 125 as the all-time highest goal scorer.

Ronaldo’s goal against Ajax was his 23rd goal with head since his debut in the competition in 2003 and now holds the record for the most goals scored with head in the Champions League.

BANKING ON AN ENCORE

Having bounced back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 and qualified to the quarter-final on 3-3 aggregates, Manchester United can replicate that same incredible performance against Barcelona despite losing 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Ajax has so far proved they can withstand any top team in the Champions League this season.

Their performance against Bayern Munich in the group stage and their unbelievable victory against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu, should be of great worry to Juventus ahead of the return leg next week in Turin.

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