Champions League Wednesday – Recap

Another enthralling Champions League night delivered plenty of excitement for some while bringing tears to the others.

Let’s have a look at the three talking points from Wednesday’s Champions League action.

Dortmund OUT of the competition!

Sporting Lisbon and Borussia Dortmund faced off in a ‘winner-takes-all’ Wednesday’s Champions League Group C encounter at the Estádio José Alvalade. 

The home side picked up a vital 3-1 victory to progress into the knock-outs at the expense of the Bundesliga giants, who will switch over to the Europa League play-offs.

Sporting and Dortmund were level on points going into the penultimate round of Group C fixtures, with Ajax already sealing a place in the last-16 with two games to spare.

Marco Rose’s men faltered in Portugal without a host of indispensable first-team stars, including Erling Haaland, Thorgan Hazard, Mats Hummels, and Gio Reyna.

Pedro Goncalves’ quick-fire brace catapulted Sporting to a clear-cut two-goal cushion at half-time, giving the German visitors a mountain to climb in the second half.

Despite making four changes midway through the second half, Rose failed to spark his side’s attacking set-up, with Borussia failing to reduce the deficit.

Instead, Sporting added the third to the tally, courtesy of Pedro Porro’s 81st-minute header, to put the final nail in Dortmund’s coffin.

Marquee summer signing Donyell Malen drew one back for the 2012/13 Champions League beaten finalists, but it wasn’t nearly enough to ease the pain.

Junior Messias – from a 4th division semi-amateur to AC Milan’s Champions League hero

Football writes romantic stories from time to time, and the one involving AC Milan’s Junior Messias stole the headlines on Wednesday night.

The very player who used to deliver refrigerators and other household appliances while playing at amateur level three years ago tore Wanda Metropolitano down to hand the Rossoneri’s qualification hopes a lifeline.

Despite taking the field as overwhelming outsiders, Stefano Pioli’s men defied the odds to beat Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the Spanish capital.

Coming into this matchday, Milan looked like a doomed outfit having gained just a single point from their opening four Champions League outings. 

However, last season’s Serie A runners-up have returned in contention for a top-two finish in Group B, a virtue of Messias’ stunning late winner against the reigning La Liga holders.

In one of the most poetic twists of fate, the 30-year-old attacking midfielder went from being an unknown entity into the conqueror of Wanda Metropolitano.

Messias joined the fray beyond the hour-mark, replacing Rade Krunic, and went on to impact the game in a way not even the most die-hard Milan fans could have hoped for. 

The ex-Crotone man headed home Franck Kessie’s inch-perfect lofted pass in the 87th minute to give the Rossoneri a genuine opportunity to advance to the Champions League last-16.

Manchester City on top of ‘Petrodollars’ derby

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain locked horns at the Etihad Stadium in a mouth-watering, heavyweight Champions League clash between the two richest clubs on the planet.

With revenge looming in the forefront of Man City’s mind heading into this fixture, bragging rights were at stake in the clash of European powerhouses.

PSG defeated the Citizens 2-0 in the reverse H2H at the Parc des Princes in a match highlighted by Lionel Messi’s breakthrough in Paris.

But the payback came on Wednesday, even though it looked like Les Parisiens could rack up back-to-back wins over City for the first time in history.

After a goalless first half, PSG speed demon Kylian Mbappe broke the deadlock in the 50th minute, silencing the sold-out Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s picked themselves up from a shock and drew the score level just 13 minutes later as Raheem Sterling converted Gabriel Jesus’ assist.

The in-form Brazil international came up huge in the final quarter of the game, turning home Bernardo Silva’s lay-off to complete the turnaround and ensure Man City’s place in the knock-outs as Group A winners.

Despite going down in Manchester, PSG will join Man City in the last-16, a virtue of a runner-up finish.