Champions League winners and losers: PSG's dream cut short without Neymar, VAR plays huge role and Dzeko's dive
There were plenty of surprises this week
Half of the Champions League quarterfinalists are known after whatthis week. Ajax, Tottenham, Porto and Manchester United are through, while Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Roma and PSG are eliminated. Gone are Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Christian Pulisic and others with four underdogs winning their ties. But who are the real winners and losers of the week of action?
Loser: PSG's European dream
PSG seems to always win everything in France, so for this team to reach continental success, it has to win the Champions League. With all of the money and all of the stars, perhaps this was the yearthe last two season with the collapse at Barcelona and losing Neymar against Real Madrid.
So after getting a 2-0 win at United in the first leg, it felt like a foregone conclusion that PSG would advance. Instead, they choked once again without Neymar and will be watching the rest of the cup from their couch.
Maybe next year.
Winner: Fans of golazos
We had some fine goals, especially in the Ajax vs. Real Madrid game where the Dutch club bounced the reigning champs. But none was better than the last one from Ajax's Lasse Schone. Fans of the sport were even gifted this awesome cell phone video of the goal from right behind the kick taker. Behold this beauty:
Loser: Real Madrid from top to bottom
Lots of changes are likely coming to Real Madrid. After getting stunned by Ajax, the expectation is for them to probably have a new coach next season and for the roster to look a lot different. They never properly replaced Cristiano Ronaldo, so expect them to be heavily linked with Eden Hazard and Neymar this summer. And the fans were calling for president Florentino Perez to resign after a failed season:
Winner: Pro-VAR fanatics
There were three huge VAR calls late in both of Wednesday's games. There was the penalty kick awarded on the Presnel Kimpembe handball which a, as United knocked out PSG. And in Roma vs. Porto, each team had a potential penalty kick reviewed. Porto was awarded one for a take down in the box that was a clear foul and they got a penalty and won it. Roma, meanwhile, thought it had one when Nicolo Zaniolo went down in the box, but it was not given. All calls appeared to be the right ones, and that's why VAR is there. So those who like the review system will see it as clearly working in the most important moments.
Loser: Ajax's European future
Wait, Ajax's European future is a loser? Yeah, but that's because they have some many darn good young players who are going to probably get signed this summer. They stand to make a ton of money over the summer, so the club's bank account can be a winner. Frenkie de Jong is already off to Barcelona, defender Matthijs de Ligt is highly rated, and striker David Neres has future star written all over him. The list goes on and on, and before long we'll see a lot of these guys killing it in bigger leagues.
Loser: Dzeko's prospects at an acting career
Edin Dzeko of Romafrom Pepe and went down to the ground ... five seconds later. Check out this poor piece of acting from the veteran forward. And come to think of it, it's ironic to see someone dive when going up against Pepe, one of the biggest divers and exaggerators of the last decade:
You can watch the rest of the Champions League round of 16 next week on fuboTV (Try for free).
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