The first round of games in the UEFA Champions League is done, with the second four games of the Round of 16 played on February 23rd and 24th. There weren’t quite as many goals as last week’s games, and there weren’t any standout upsets, but we still saw a red card, a stunning overhead goal, and a statement of intent from the current trophy holders. Let’s take a look at what went down in the latest round of games, and give you updates to look forward to on the best Champions League betting odds for the second leg.
Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea
Score: Atlético Madrid 0 – 1 Chelsea
Atlético Madrid are having the best season they’ve in years and have been comfortably perched at number 1 in the La Liga table for some time now; their form has mainly been courtesy of the arrival of infamous striker Luis Suarez. Keeping the Los Colchoneros’ main man quiet would be the biggest test for new Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel, so far.
The game was predictably tight with both teams focussed mainly on not conceding, rather than on plundering goals. The first glimpse of a goal came just before the 15th minute for Chelsea when Mason Mount whipped a cross in that Timo Werner just could quite get onto the end of. Atleti then went on the counter and could have gone ahead, but Luis Suarez couldn’t quite connect with Angel Correa’s short cross. The teams went into the break with nothing to separate them.
Ultimately the game was decided by a moment of magic: An Olivier Giroud overhead kick that found the back of the net. The goal was originally ruled out for offside, but VAR found the ball had come off of Mario Hermoso rather than Mason Mount, and the goal was awarded. This outrageous piece of skill is the only thing that separates the two teams going into the next leg at Stamford Bridge.
Whether Tuchel simply got his tactics right in nullifying the threat posed by Luis Suarez or Atleti were having an off night should be seen in the next game. Odds are on the Blues going into the next round, but it’s unlikely that Atlético Madrid are going to roll over and give the points to them. This should be a tight encounter with plenty of attacking soccer on display.
Date: March 17
Place: Stamford Bridge, London
Betting odds: Chelsea: +105 Tie: +240 Atlético Madrid +250
Lazio vs. Bayern Munich
Score: Lazio 1 – 4 Bayern
If there was a list of teams that Simone Inzaghi would have liked his team to avoid at this stage of the competition, Bayern Munich would have topped it. The current Champions League trophy holders are having a smashing domestic season and haven’t put a foot wrong in the Champions League so far. So, it was always going to be a test for Lazio on how to protect their goals rather than try and win the match.
Unfortunately for the Biancocelesti, Bayern were out to win this match and to do so with aplomb. In the ninth minute, Robert Lewandowski took advantage of a poor back pass to put the ball in the back of the net. In doing so, he became the Champions League third top scorer of all time—behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. 17-year-old Jamal Musiala then doubled Bayern’s lead and became the youngest English player to score in the Champions League. The next two goals for the current champions came via Leroy Sane tap in and a Francesco Acerbi own goal.
Lazio midfielder Joaquín Correa gave his side a consolation goal early in the second half, but it’s safe to say that Lazio won’t be progressing any further. It’s almost impossible to see how they will keep the Bayern engine from turning on their home ground.
Date: March 17
Place: Allianz Arena, Munich
Betting odds: Bayern: -350 Tie: +450 Lazio: +675
Atalanta vs. Real Madrid
Score: Atalanta 0 – 1 Real Madrid
Gian Piero Gasperini’s team went into this match with confidence. This is a team that has risen to greater heights over the last couple of seasons and they play attractive, attacking soccer. Atalanta would not have been feeling too pressured about their meeting with Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, given that they have been rather inconsistent of late.
However, a horror start saw Atalanta down to ten men when Remo Frueler was sent off in the 17th minute for denying Mendy a clear goal-scoring opportunity. From here on out, it should have been plain sailing for Madrid, but that wasn’t to be.
Real labored through this game with rather lackluster soccer and really struggled to break down Atalanta, who sat deep in defense with all ten men. Mendy eventually broke the deadlock in the last twenty minutes to give his team all three points and an important away goal. This certainly isn’t going to be a game to remember for either side, and hopefully, there will be more to write home about in the next match.
The next game will hopefully have all players on the pitch and be more of an exciting one to watch. Ultimately the odds are on Real Madrid to progress to the next round, but Atalanta have nothing to lose and should ramp up the intensity with their full team.
Date: March 16
Place: Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Madrid
Betting odds: Madrid: -110 Tie: +250 Atalanta: +280
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Manchester City
Score: Mönchengladbach 0 – 2 Manchester City
Man City extended their unbeaten run for another game when they put in a dominant display to take all three points from Mönchengladbach. The Citizens have now won their last 19 games in all competitions, and Guardiola will surely believe that this is the year that they can finally lift this coveted trophy.
What makes the result here even more impressive is that City won this game without the services of John Stone, Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, and Sergio Aguero. Gladbach had only one shot on goal during the game, which came via Alassane Plea’s spectacular backflick-volley just after an hour had gone. Otherwise, Marco Rose’s team were firmly camped in their half, trying to defend the onslaught of City’s attacking prowess.
The first goal was scored by Bernardo Silva in the 29th minute when he headed home from a Joao Cancelo cross into the box. Scorer turned provider for City’s next when Silva crossed deep for Gabriel Jesus to pop into the net on the 69th minute.
The way that City are playing at the moment offers Gladbach almost no hope in the next leg, where they will face this impervious Guardiola side on their own soil.
Date: March 16
Place: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Betting odds: Man City: -450 Tie: +500 Mönchengladbach: +1100
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