Champions League, chapter Vl: this tale is (almost) over

First group: Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Lille, Manchester United, Juventus.

Second group: PSG, Atlético Madrid, Sporting, Inter, Benfica, Salzburg, Chelsea.

Europa League: Leipzig, Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Sheriff, Barcelona, ​​Seville, Zenit.

Eliminated: Bruges, Milan, Besiktas, Shakhtar, Dynamo Kiev, Wolfsburg, Young Boys, Malmö.

The group stage is almost over and until the last day the uncertainty of knowing all the qualifiers was maintained (and will continue until Thursday), first of all the Atlético’s coup in Portugal, on Tuesday, and then the madness. Wednesday, with all the combinations of Group G that were finally decided in favor of Lille and Salzburg and the dreaded, at the same time expected, fall of Barcelona. Which was terribly harsh.

Real Madrid did the right thing and little else to add their 30th consecutive classification in a group stage (in the 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons there were two league groups and they did not participate in the 1996- 97), being the only club in Europe that, having played the tournament at least twice, was never eliminated at the first exchange rate, which was suffered by Barcelona for the fourth time since the 1997-98 season.

Benfica smiled just like Lille, who struck in Germany, while in Austria, Sevilla added to the disappointment of Barça. And in Russia, Chelsea allowed themselves to be tied by Zenit to give Juve the first final position.

This Thursday, if time does not prevent it, Atalanta and Villarreal will play the game that was suspended due to the snow and will decide the last classified for the round of 16 accompanying Manchester United.

GROUP A. Procedure. Sentenced the order of the first two classified, it remained to be known if Bruges would be able to work the miracle in Paris to access the Europa League. But Mbappé and Messi made clear the reality of the Belgian team, condemned to absolute elimination due to their defeat, while in Germany, Leipzig secured their third place by defeating a relaxed Manchester City that suffered an unnecessary and serious expulsion of Kyle Walker who will miss at least the first leg of the round of 16 personalizing a loss of indisputable significance for Pep Guardiola.

GROUP B. Miracle. From everything to nothing and vice versa, Atlético de Madrid has gone through a real roller coaster in this group stage that closed with a miracle in Do Dragao. For Porto it was enough to win to be second, Milan had to win and hope that the Portuguese did not. And Atlético had to win in hostile territory and rely on a Rossonero stumble. He did it, in his own way, and consumed that unexpected blow. Suárez was injured, Oblak saved him, Griezmann set a magnificent foot and already with the 0-1 the game was muddled in a bad way, breaking any rhythm of a Porto unable to keep cold blood before the control of the situation of an Atlético that He won comfortably and thanked Liverpool for the comeback at San Siro against Milan, which Fikayo Tomori advanced but was unable to keep up with the superiority of some Reds who rode throughout the league, closed with a full score.

GROUP C. Alegría. That of an Ajax that, starting the course with the aspiration of fighting for second place in the group, ended the league with a plenary session that was as surprising as it was magnificent. He will go to the second round showing probably the most choral football of the tournament, presenting Sebastien Haller (10 goals) as an unexpected star and, who knows, dreaming of being the protagonist again in the final rounds as he did in 2019. Borussia Dortmund will not be, that he accused Haaland’s absence for two days in such a way that he reached the last day knowing that he was eliminated for the benefit of Portuguese Sporting, that he could not stop the imperial step of Ajax but remained above the German team, always pending his crack to the It took him 18 minutes of comeback to score a double.

GROUP D. Solvency. Inter surrendered to the evidence in a way that was as habitual as it was resigned. He besieged a bewildered Madrid looking for the victory that would give him the pass as group champion. And on his first arrival on goal, Real scored thanks to an excellent and unexpected shot from Kroos. He was hopeful throughout the first half and the first third of the second, until Militao caused Barella to be expelled and his drive and hope ran out. The merengue team ended up winning.

GROUP E. Reality. Barça stayed on their feet for half an hour in Munich and from then on it was a toy in the hands of an infinitely superior Bayern, who won again 3-0 giving the feeling of power, once again, humiliating him without possible reply. The hope of the Spaniards began to fade as soon as Benfica, who was saved from 0-1 by chance, scored 1-0 at a quarter of an hour into their match in Lisbon against Dynamo and the night ended as it was supposed, with the Portuguese team accompanying the German. And Barça destroyed in a bad way. Two goals scored in six matchdays. Says it all.

GROUP F. Wait. Manchester United, already first at the start of the day, lived a quiet night at Old Trafford before the push of the Young Boys who the victory would have kept in Europe. The Swiss team did not succeed and everything is left to Villarreal and Atalanta. The snowfall forced the match in Bergamo to be suspended and this Thursday it must be played. The yellow submarine is worth a draw to be in the quarterfinals, the Italian team will need to win.

GROUP G. Hombrada. That of Lille in Germany. He went to meet a Wolfsburg that only served the victory and defeated him with an incontestable solvency, giving him the first quick blow (at 11 minutes) and sentencing him in the second half, when the German team tried with more desire than success and danger real to avoid a triumph that was as deserved as it was historic. As deserved it was the sinking of Sevilla in Austria, where it was necessary to win to lose in an exercise of impotence. He wanted to win from a conservative scheme and as soon as Okafor scored 1-0 at the beginning of the second half he fell without remission.

GROUP H. Surprise. Chelsea, who on the previous day crushed Juventus, had to win in Saint Petersburg to confirm their pass as group champion. And in the last breath he saw how a magnificent blow from Magomed Ozdoev avoided that victory that he was already embracing with a Werner double with which he had first advanced on the scoreboard, just starting the match, and then coming back five minutes from the end. Juventus took advantage of this, which was enough with a single goal from Moise Kean to add the victory over the eliminated Malmö and close the league as group champions.


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Champions League, chapter Vl: this tale is (almost) over