It was a monumental week in the Champions League, with Ajax pulling off the shock of the tournament in beating Real Madrid, and in the manner in which they did.

Elsewhere Spurs beat Dortmund convincingly while United rode their luck to deny PSG any European success for yet another year, meanwhile Porto edged out Roma in an extra-time thriller.

Here’s our best and worst teams from this week’s Champions League ties.

Best XI

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris

The Frenchman put in a strong performance in goal for Spurs as the lilywhites tried to shut up shop at Signal Iduna Park. They did it effectively, winning 1-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate, though that clean-sheet was achieved thanks in large part to the efforts of Lloris.

Key stat: Lloris made seven saves in the game; his opposite number Burki made 0, conceding the only Spurs shot on goal.

Right-back: Noussair Mazraoui

Mazraoui kept that ball in to set up Ajax’s third goal on the night, which went to VAR but was adjudged to have stayed in bounds.

Key stat: Mazraoui made four tackles, the most on the pitch and joint-highest for Ajax.

Centre-back: Jan Vertonghen 

‘Super Jan’ can probably be classed as the defensive performer of the round in its entirety, after his man of the match game against Dortmund at Wembley in which he scored once and assisted. On Tuesday night the Belgian’s efforts were trained on snuffing out chances and intercepting Dortmund attacks. It was his last-ditch tackle that denied an almost certain Dortmund goal 25 minutes into the game.

Key stat: Vertonghen made the joint-most Tottenham tackles with three.

Centre-back: Daley Blind

The former United man put in a strong performance at the centre of Ajax’s resolute defence, alongside the equally assured Matthijs De Ligt.

Key stat: Blind won eight aerial duels, twice as many as anyone on the pitch.

Left-back: Alex Telles

It was Telles’ extra-time VAR-given penalty that won the tie for Porto after 237 minutes of football in this evenly-matched Champions League tie decided on away goals.

Key stat: Telles made the most interceptions of any player on the pitch, with 4.

Honourable mention: Luke Shaw also played magnificently for United as they shut out a usually rampant PSG side.

Centre-midfeld: Fred

The Brazilian put in the sort of performance United fans have been yearning for since he signed for £52m in the summer. The player grew into the game and coped well with the likes of Marquinhos and Veratti.

Key stat: Fred won five duels on the night.

Centre-midfield: Frenkie de Jong

The Dutch pass master played a vital role in knocking out his soon-to-be new club Barcelona’s main rivals with a commanding performance at the centre of the park. There was something of a changing of the guard about the way in which De Jong overran the likes of Modric and Kroos.

Key stat: De Jong enjoyed a passing success rate of 89%, the most of any Ajax player on the pitch longer than 15 minutes.

Centre-midfield: Jesus Manuel Corona

The winger played well on a night where Porto were able to pull off their own minor upset. The Mexican’s cross led to Marega netting for the club’s second.

Key stat: Corona got a match-high four dribbles to go with his assist.

Forward: Dusan Tadic

Dusan Tadic was instrumental to everything Ajax did going forward. It really isn’t hyperbolic to say his performance was one of the great individual displays in the history of the competition. We gave him a 10.

Key stat: Tadic was directly involved in three of Ajax’s four goals, scoring one and assisting two.

Forward: Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian’s been back amongst the goals in a big way for United in recent games, and was the biggest reason behind United’s shock result in Paris, leading the line like few other games of his in recent memory.

Key stat: He’s scored six in three in all competitions, the first United player to do so since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006.

Forward: Moussa Marega

The attacker was instrumental in Porto’s Champions League triumph on Wednesday, setting up one and finishing another to turn the tie on its head in Portugal.

Key stat: Marega now has six goals in the Champions League this season.

Worst XI

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon

As eluded to by our very own Muhammad Butt, it would appear Gianluigi Buffon’s days as an elite goalkeeper are finished. The 41-year-old was rounded with consummate ease by Romelu Lukaku for United’s first goal, before spilling it straight into the Belgian’s path for the second. Few can blame him for the Rashford penalty but if you’re responsible for two goals in a three-goal defeat, it doesn’t constitute a great day at the office for a goalkeeper.

Key stat: Buffon conceded three goals from just five Man Utd shots on target.

Right-back: Eric Bailly

Shoe-horned into an unfamiliar right-back role to try and add some defensive solidarity, Eric Bailly did anything but on Wednesday. The Ivorian giant failed to win a single aerial duel or tackle, was dribbled past twice then hauled off after 36 minutes with an ‘injury’. A terrible evening but he won’t care now that United are through.

Key quote: Rio Ferdinand’s scathing summarisation of Bailly’s performance: “It’s a blessing he got injured and had to come off.”

Centre-back: Kostas Manolas

Usually so strong and reliable for Roma, Kostas Manolas failed to make a single tackle against Porto and started the decline for the Italians when he went on a senseless run from the defence, resulting in him getting dispossessed and his side going 1-0 down.

Key stat: Had a pass completion of just 68%, the lowest of any starting defender on the night.

Centre-back: Manuel Akanji

Manuel Akankji is a wonderfully cultured centre-back, but why in god’s name did he come charging out to win a ball in midfield and leave a space bigger than a black hole in the Dortmund defence for Kane to exploit? The longer Tuesday’s game stayed at 0-0, the more fragile Spurs looked, while Dortmund can be ferocious when they start scoring – Akanji ended all hopes of that with his moment of madness.

Key stat: Manuel Akanji completed just one successful tackle – Julian Weigl was the only Dortmund defender to rank as low

Left-back: Thilo Kehrer

His back pass allowed Romelu Lukaku to get in on goal for the opener and he always looked to have a mistake in him. French outlet, L’Equipe, gave Kehrer a horrendous 2/10 rating for what they called a “nightmare” performance against United – a sentiment shared by our very own match ratings. Long live Thomas Meunier.

Key stat: Kehrer failed to make a single tackle during his 70 minutes on the pitch.

Centre-midfield: Casemiro

Ah, now we’re into the really fun stuff with Real Madrid’s embarrassment at the hands of Ajax. Putting it bluntly, Casemiro was terrible. The Brazilian should have done better in tracking Hakim Ziyech’s run for Ajax’s first goal, while he was made to look completely stupid by Dusan Tadic as the Serbian sensation walked on water to set up Neres for their second. Not the reliable, dependable Casemiro we’ve come to know during their Champions League domination.

Key stat: Ziyech (72%) was the only starting midfielder to have a lower pass completion rate than Casemiro (78%).

Centre-midfield: Toni Kroos

Yep, another Real Madrid midfielder. Toni Kroos moved the ball with the speed of a 59-year-old, not a 29-year-old, as he lost possession in the build-up for Ajax’s opener, while he was completely unable to influence the game after the break as Madrid tried to haul the tie back in their favour.

Key stat: Kroos was dispossessed twice against Ajax – more times than any other Real Madrid player.

Centre-midfield: Marquinhos

Marquinhos did a great job in nullifying Paul Pogba during the first leg, but with the Frenchman suspended for the return tie, his role was rendered useless. In truth, Marquinhos didn’t really contribute anything of note, slowing PSG’s passing down and contributing the most to their sluggish, turgid approach. Get back in defence, please.

Key stat: Marquinhos and Julian Draxler were responsible for just 4.7% of PSG’s time on the ball each against Man Utd – the lowest of any starting players for the Parisians.

Forward: Gareth Bale

Our third-and-final Real Madrid player, although we could easily have put most of their team in this, is Gareth Bale. His introduction to the action just before the half-hour mark was met with a number of jeers from the Bernabeu stands and although he did come close to scoring, hitting the post in the first half, he was completely anonymous after the break. If he hadn’t have lumbered around with an injury, you wouldn’t have known the Welshman was there in the second half.

Key stat: Bale completed just 67% of his passes – fewer than any outfield player for Real Madrid.

Forward: Edin Dzeko

Porto v Roma was an absolute belter of a game, going all the way to extra time and only just avoiding a penalty-shootout thanks to Alex Telles’ late strike from… a penalty. However, it could have been oh-so-different had Edin Dzeko bothered to look where the goal was. Maybe he was seeing stars from that horrible (not) clash of heads with Pepe? The 32-year-old missed chance after chance, while his 52% pass completion rate on the night was simply horrific.

Key stat: Dzeko had the joint-highest amount of shots (6) of any player on the night but failed to score with any of them.

Forward: Paco Alcacer

Paco Alcacer’s impact at Dortmund this season has been quite remarkable, with the Spaniard scoring 14 goals in Bundesliga and Champions League games, despite starting just 11 times. Tuesday, however, was not his finest hour, with Alcacer failing to score with three shots and being largely anonymous as the Germans toiled to defeat against Spurs.

Key stat: Alcacer accounted for just 1.8% of Dortmund’s time in possession – lower than any outfield player to start on Tuesday.

 

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