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UEFA Champions League 2018-19: Top 5 performers in the Round of 16

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
15 Mar 2019, 01:04 IST

The turnaround in Turin: Where does this rank?
The turnaround in Turin: Where does this rank?

What an exceptional finish to the Round of 16 stages! This is only the beginning guys and we have already seen all the thrills and spills that could be offered by a two-legged tie.

Juventus overturned their deficit at home thanks to the great Cristiano Ronaldo. Ajax and Manchester United overturned their deficit away from home with two away goals against them. Liverpool shattered the Bavarian fortress and of course, Lionel Messi played like Lionel Messi.

We started with 32 but we are now left with only 8 teams, four from England, and one each from Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the Netherlands. So what next? A battle of philosophies between Ajax and Barcelona? A battle of the greatest individuals as the Old Lady goes up against the Blaugrana? A derby in Manchester? A battle between the former coach and the new-look team in Manchester City vs Barcelona? Everything is pretty much open.

We have already seen some mesmeric performances in the Round of 16, particularly in the second leg of each tie. We are about the countdown the best performers of the Round of 16 stages.


#5 Sadio Mane

Away in a flash: Sadio Mane took the game away from the Bavarians in their Munich fortress
Away in a flash: Sadio Mane took the game away from the Bavarians in their Munich fortress

The Senegalese maestro was exceptional against the Bavarians in their own fortress. Jurgen Klopp's gameplan was pretty clear to everyone. It wasn't fast and furious gegenpressing and rapid attacking that were on Liverpool's mind.

Instead, they let Bayern have the ball, held their lines well, and hit strongly when they had possession on the counter. As they say, when creating many chances is not your idea, then you got to take the chances that come without fault.

While Mo Salah is having a pretty bad run of form recently, Sadio Mane has caught fire. Think about it. A lobbed ball from Virgil Van Dijk and all we know is that he didn't mean to assist anybody. What does Mane do?

He takes a brilliant first touch, sees Manuel Neuer closing down the shot, turns away from him and Rafinha, and lobs the entire defence from the edge of the box. There is Van Dijk's big moment. Watch him score, watch him defend, and now watch him assist too.

But still, when Liverpool were leading 2-1 and Salah's brilliant delivery came into the box, there was Sadio Mane diving onto it and firing Liverpool through to the quarterfinals. Brilliant Mane, clinical Liverpool.

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