5 Best Round Of 16 Second Leg Matches In Champions League History
While people usually only remember matches played in the finals and semifinals of UEFA Champions League, the competition has a history of amazing matches played between teams of great pedigree even during the initial stages of the competition.
Quarterfinal clashes, Round of 16 ties, and even the matches during the group stages of this competition have been a matter of great importance and thrill.
So, here are our picks for the five best UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg matches, in no particular order.
Chelsea FC vs. FC Barcelona, 2004/05
After losing the first leg of the tie by one goal ( 2-1) at the Camp Nou, Chelsea went into the game without their main striker, Didier Drogba.
The first leg was a fiery one—with events happening on the pitch as well as off it. Jose Mourinho, Chelsea’s manager at the time, accused the then-manager of FC Barcelona, Frank Rijkaard, of having a little chat with the referee Anders Frisk in his room.
Without their main striker—but with an away goal to their name—Chelsea started the second leg at Stamford Bridge brilliantly. Eidur Gudjohnsen opened the scoring for The Blues in the 8th minute.
This early goal opened the floodgates for Barcelona. The Catalan giants went three goals down inside the first 20 minutes of the game thanks to two more goals from Frank Lampard in the 17th minute and Damien Duff in the 19th.
However, the game had just started, and Ronaldinho had yet to show his magic. Due to a handball in the Chelsea penalty area, Barcelona got a penalty in the 27th minute. And the Brazillian put away the penalty, pulling the Catalan giants back in the game.
Furthermore, for his second, Ronaldinho scored a magnificent Samba goal for the Blaugranas in the 37th minute against crowded Chelsea defense and Petr Cech. The first half ended with a score of 3-2 with Chelsea in the lead.
The second half was equally entertaining and tense despite the lack of goals to show for it. Both Victor Valdes and Petr Cech had multiple magnificent saves that kept the scoreline intact for a while. But this was not to last for long.
From a corner by Damien Duff, John Terry scored a header in the 76th minute and gave Chelsea a lead of two goals. Barcelona, on the other hand, had multiple attempts, but couldn't materialize them.
In the end, Chelsea turned around the tie by winning 5-4 on aggregate. The match kept us interested till the last minutes.
This was the game that started the rivalry between Chelsea and Barcelona and probably even started Jose Mourinho’s rivalry with the Blaugranas.
FC Porto vs FC Schalke 04, 2007/08
Porto played Schalke in the 2007/08 Champions League season’s RO16 fixture. The match was perceived as an evenly-matched tie.
Both clubs had magnificent players on their side: Porto had the likes of Bruno Alves, Paulo Assunção, Quaresma, Raul Meireles, to name a few, and Schalke had their own talented bunch with Ivan Rakitic, Manuel Neuer, Rafinha, and Halil Altintop.
After the first leg of the tie ended with a Porto loss (0-1) at Schalke's Arena AufSchalke, both teams went to battle at Porto's Estádio do Dragão for the second leg.
At home, Porto dominated throughout the game. They had 11 shots on target compared to Schalke’s four.
When Schalke had just started to think that they had won the match, Porto's Lisandro Lopez hammered home a goal past Manuel Neuer in the 86th minute. The match eventually reached extra time because both teams were in the situation of a 1-1 in aggregate.
But neither team could score in the extra time. Schalke couldn’t score because they weren’t that offensive, but Porto couldn’t score because Manuel Neuer was having an absolutely majestic performance. The German stopper had 11 saves during the game. Consequently, the game went into a penalty shootout.
The game, which was basically a Neuer show up until this point, continued to be the same in the penalty round. The German saved two penalties during the shootout saga and helped his team Schale to attain a 1-4 win.
This match was one of Manuel Neuer’s finest performances of his who. It paved his way to being one of the best goalkeepers of his generation.
Real Madrid vs Juventus, 2004/05
Real Madrid were destined to face Juventus in the Round of 16 in the 2004/05 Champions League. Both teams were jam-packed with superstars of all sorts; Madrid had Beckham, Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Raul, Zidane, and Roberto Carlos, whereas Juventus featured Buffon, Ibrahimovic, Del Piero, Pavel Nedved, Thuram, and Cannavaro. This was expected to be an amazing tie.
And amazing it was. The first leg, played at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, ended in a 1-0 home win for the Spanish giants with Helguera scoring the only goal of the game. However, with the quality Juventus had, everybody knew this marginal victory wasn’t going to be nearly enough for Real to win the match.
The return leg was played at the Stadio Delle Alpi, Juventus’s then-home stadium. The place was absolutely buzzing.
Enjoying the backing of the home fans, Juventus started the game on the front foot and were creating problems for Real Madrid at the back. However, there were no goals during the first half.
After the break, Real Madrid started the second half well. Ronaldo had a great shot but Buffon saved it. In the 57th minute, Juventus' Del Piero was taken out of the game and David Trezeguet replaced him.
The home side were denied a penalty shortly after Trezeguet’s entry, but he eventually made up for it.
In the 75th minute, Trezeguet received a pass from Ibrahimovic and scored an amazing goal from inside the Real Madrid penalty box with an overhead kick. This goal pulled back Juventus into the game and leveled the score on aggregate. No more goals were scored during the regular time, and the game went into extra time.
The game was much more scrappy in the extra time. Two red cards were shown during the period: Ronaldo for Real and Tacchinardi for Juventus were sent off in the 113th minute. However, there was still another twist to come and it was far from done for both the teams.
On the 116th minute, Trezeguet scored an almost-last minute goal from a cross that wasn’t properly dealt by Real Madrid’s defense. He caught the ball on a half-volley and smashed it past Iker Casillas and it almost broke the net.
After that, there was not enough time for Real Madrid to try to get back in the game, and with Ronaldo gone, they were lacking firepower upfront.
Juventus won the game 2-1 on aggregate and progressed to the Quarterfinals.
ACF Fiorentina vs FC Bayern Munich, 2009/10
Fiorentina and Bayern Munich met in the Round of 16 in the 2009/10 Champions League season. Bayern were clearly the favorites going into the tournament and had a lot of star players such as Robben, Ribery, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Lahm, and Mario Gomez.
However, the tie wasn’t going to be a walk in the park for Bayern since Fiorentina too had a strong team with the likes of Juan Manuel Vargas and Riccardo Montolivo in the team.
This was a battle not only between two good teams but also between two great managers in Cesare Prandelli of Fiorentina and Louis van Gaal of Bayern Munich.
The first leg was played at the Football Arena Munich. The match would have been a fair draw if it wasn’t for Miroslav Klose’s 89th-minute winner for the Bavarians. However, Fiorentina had an away goal to build upon, and they had hoped to do so at their home in the second leg.
The second leg started in an explosive way for Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. While clearing a shot from a long distance, Bayern’s keeper Hans-Jorg Butt couldn’t handle the ball very well. He parried the ball onto the path of Florentina's Juan Manual Vargas, who then scored to give his side a lead inside the opening 30 minutes of the game. After that, Stevan Jovetic added a second in the 54th minute from a beautiful backheel set-up by Alberto Gilardino.
Fiorentina were dominating the match and the scoreline at this point. However, Bayern got straight back into the game after Franck Ribery dribbled his way near the Fiorentina penalty box and squared the ball for Van Bommel's goal in the 60th minute. The goal was initiated from outside the box.
This was followed up by two goals in quick succession: one from Fiorentina's Jovetic in the 64th minute and another from Bayern's Robben in the 65th minute.
Robben scored the absolutely spectacular goal from way outside the box following one of his trademark cut-in runs from the right flank.
Robben’s goal tied the score at 4-4 but it was enough for Bayern to win the game since Florentina had the advantage on the basis of away goals.
Despite the Bavarians winning this match, Fiorentina played a great match and with the Champions League tie against Bayern.
FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain, 2016/17
Although this list is in no particular order, we might have saved the best for the last. The second leg of the Round of 16 competition between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain is counted among the best matches in UCL history. This tie had everything that football encompasses; joy, despair, hope, excitement, and a lot of unpredictability.
Previously, Barcelona's Unai Emery team had suffered a heavy 4-0 first leg away defeat at the hands of PSG at the Parc des Princes. PSG’s Di Maria had scored a brace and Draxler and Cavani had added a goal each to plunge the Catalan giants into a mess.
With the Camp Nou absolutely electric and completely behind their team, the Catalans started the game on the front foot and forced PSG to defend deep.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring just three minutes into the game. It stayed this way for quite a while before PSG conceded another, thanks to a backheel flick from Andres Iniesta which caused the own goal from Layvin Kurzawa. The Catalan giants went into the halftime break with a 2-0 lead over the Les Parisiens.
The second half started with the same level of excitement. The Blaugranas were edging closer and closer to nullifying PSG’s first-leg lead.
Messi scored a penalty in the 50th minute after a foul by Thomas Meunier on Neymar. After the goal, Barcelona's confidence made them destined to score more goals.
However, there was going to be a twist in the match. An away goal at this stage was going to hugely decrease Barcelona’s chance of winning the match. And that’s exactly what happened.
When a long ball was directed towards Layvin Kurzawa, the PSG full-back cushioned the ball onto Cavani. Suddenly, Barcelona’s defense had a lapse in concentration and left Cavani unmarked. Free from any challenges, Cavani blasted the ball into the top of the net and scored a crucial away goal for the French club in the 62nd minute. He was also nearly through for another goal if it wasn’t for Ter Stegen’s brilliant save to deny the Uruguayan just a minute later.
Despite conceding a devastating away goal, Barcelona kept pushing for goals on the other end of the pitch. Sergi Roberto, who was going to be very important later on in the game, entered the pitch to replace Rafinha in the 76th minute. Barcelona attackers were having a good game, especially Neymar.
After the Catalan giants conceded the goal, the game became more open than before. PSG were also threatening Barca’s goal post more often.
In the 86th minute, PSG's Di Maria conceded a freekick on the left side just outside the PSG penalty box. Neymar then hit a beautiful and hugely important freekick that ended up in the back of PSG’s goal with Kevin Trapp absolutely rooted to the ground.
But despite the goal, the time was running out for Barcelona. If the score was tied, PSG would go to the next level of the competition through on the basis of away goals. Therefore, there was no other way but to win for the Blaugranas.
And Barcelona didn't disappoint. They pushed PSG defense back until Marquinhos fouled Louis Suarez and conceded another penalty. Again, Neymar stepped up to take the penalty and put it away in the 91st minute.
With the goal, Barcelona leveled the aggregate scorecard. The aggregate sheet at this point was 5-5 with PSG still under control thanks to Cavani’s goal. But there was one more Neymar magic left to be seen.
The Brazillian floated a long ball towards the PSG 18-yard box in the last minutes off the stoppage time. On the other side of the cross, substitute Sergi Roberto was making a run and threw himself up in the air to meet the ball.
Roberto's got the ball and converted it to a phenomenal goal. This goal ensure Barcelona's victory in the Round of 16.
What a comeback it was. It was then the largest comeback in the UCL history. The “La Remontada” was completed and Barcelona had done what no team could do before; they overturned a 4-goal deficit in Europe's top club competition.
This comeback will remain as the most beautiful memories for some Barcelona supporters and on the other hand, it will haunt some PSG fans for the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, this match will surely go down as one of the best matches in UEFA Champions League history.
What Is the UEFA Champions League?
UEFA Champions League is an elite footballing competition where the best teams from the top European football leagues compete for the title of "Best Club in Europe.”
The competition, which began in the year 1955, was called the European Cup at the time. It is now known for hosting some of the best football matches ever played in world football/soccer.
Date Of Champions League Round Of 16 Matches This Year, 2020
The RO16 second leg matches between various teams set to take place on the 7th and 8th of August this year. The competition was previously postponed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic