The penultimate matchday of this season’s Champions League group stages treated fans to an incredible drama going into the final day in a fortnight.
The likes of Bayern Munich, Paris Saint Germain, Tottenham, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester City all secured passage to the knockout stages with a game to spare.
Messi breaks Ronaldo and Raul’s record: Before the clash against Dortmund, the Argentine was levelled with the Juventus forward and the Madrid legend as players that have scored against most opponents (33).
But the 32-year-old’s goal against the Black and Yellow means he has now moved past Ronaldo and Raul, and have now scored against more oppositions (34) than any other player in Champions League history.
Add Dortmund to the list ✅
Messi breaks a tie with Cristiano Ronaldo and Raúl. pic.twitter.com/B2kNjvLDfV
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 27, 2019
Messi was in superb form on a night Barcelona qualified for the knockout stages for the 16th consecutive season. The Argentina captain set up Luis Suarez for the opener before the Uruguayan return the favour for Barca’s second. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner then set up Antoine Griezmann for Barca’s third as Ernesto Valverde secured a comfortable victory.
Nigerian Stars UCL Journey Come To An End: Six Nigerian players played in the Champions League this season, but none will be playing in the knockout stages.
Victor Osimhen’s Lille had a campaign to forget having picked up just a point in the five matches they have played so far. Peter Olayinka’s Salvia Prague’s side did not fare any better, picking up just two points from the five games they have played so far.
Steven Odey and Paul Onuachu’s Genk side is probably the worst side in this season’s competition, picking up just a point, and conceding 16 goals in five games.
Emmanuel Dennis and Daniel Okereke’s Club Brugge fared better including an impressive draw against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, but it was not still enough to earn a spot in the Round of 16.
It has indeed been a disappointing campaign for Super Eagles stars playing in the Champions League this campaign.
Lewandowski Matches Messi’s Record: The Polish international has been in incredible form this season, and that continued on Tuesday as he scored four times in Bayern’s 6-0 win over Red Star Belgrade.
4 – Robert Lewandowski is only the second player to have scored 4+ goals in a Champions League game on more than one occasion, along with Lionel Messi. Phenomenal. pic.twitter.com/i8VIqtyMY0
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 26, 2019
In doing so, the 31-year-old is now the only second player after Lionel Messi to have scored four goals twice in Champions League history. However, he holds the record of scoring the fastest ever quadruple in Champions League history.
— Optajean (@OptaJean) November 26, 2019
NB: Lewandowski has scored 27 goals in 20 games this season. Ridiculous.
Patson Daka Makes History For Zambia: The 21-year old created history as he became the first Zambian player to score in the Champions League in Salzburg’s win over Genk.
Daka opened the scoring in the 43rd minute by tapping in after Gaetan Coucke had saved Dominik Szoboszlai’s shot.
Daka was not the only Salzburg player to make history on Wednesday night. One of the stories of this season’s competition is Erling Braut Haaland. The Norwegian has taken Europe by storm this season and he showed once again why he is attracting interest from top clubs across Europe.
5 – Red Bull Salzburg’s Erling Haaland has become the first teenager in the history of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League to score in five consecutive appearances in the competition. Famous. #UCL pic.twitter.com/6YYNOVXFgb
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 27, 2019
The 19-year-old scored Salzburg fourth of the night at the Luminus Arena to increase his goal tally in the competition to five. In doing so, he becomes the first teenager to score in five consecutive appearances.
Mourinho’s Rollercoaster Return: The Special one was announced as new Spurs manager last week after Mauricio Pochettino was sacked. He won his first game in charge against West Ham side at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
That should have set him and the team up perfectly in his first home game against Olympiacos. However, the Greek side did not get the memo as they scored twice in the opening twenty minutes.
But a goal from Dele Alli a minute before half-time gave Spurs a lifeline which they duly used. A brace from Harry Kane and Serge Aurier’s perfect finish after the restart ensured it will be a perfect night for Mourinho in his new home.
Big Teams In Danger: Only seven teams have secured qualification for the Round of 16 with a lot still left to be played for going into the final matchday of the group stages.
Defending champions, Liverpool faces the danger of an early exit when they travel to Salzburg in their final group game. The Reds had the chance to secure top spot and qualification for the knock out stages when they took on Napoli at Anfield, but they could only manage a 1-1 draw against Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Although they still lead the group, they will need to avoid defeat at Red Bull Arena in two weeks to secure qualification.
Premier League rivals, Chelsea are also in danger of playing Europa League football next season unless they beat Lille in their final group game. The Blues currently sits third in Group H with eight points- same with Valencia.
But Los Ches are ahead by the virtue of a superior head to head record. Ajax lead the group with ten points, and they face Valencia in the final group game, so Chelsea know a home victory against Lille means they will be playing Champions League football at the turn of the year.
Spanish La Liga side, Atletico Madrid need a win against Lokomotiv Moscow to secure second place in Group D. Diego Simeone’s side currently sits in second place with eight points in Group D, but only lead Bayer Leverkusen in third place by a single point.
The German side host Juventus who have qualified as group leaders, so Los Rojiblancos will need to better Die Werkself to qualify for the knockout stages.
In Group F, Barcelona have qualified as group winners, but Inter Milan and Dortmund still have to battle it out for a second place. The two sides are currently levelled on points, but Inter are in second place courtesy of a superior head to head record.
The Nerazzurri will qualify with a win over Barcelona in their final group game at the San Siro, while Dortmund can still go through if they beat Slavia Prague and Inter fail to defeat Ernesto Valverde’s side. With so many teams still in with a chance of qualifying, matchday six can’t come soon enough.