It was another interesting night of Champions League games on Tuesday and Wednesday as the best of European teams squared up in the fifth round of group games to slug it out for the top two spots that takes them to the round of 16.
APOEL Nicosia and Quarabag held European giants Dortmund and Atletico Madrid away from home, while English teams, Tottenham, Man Utd, Man City alongside PSG and Besiktas put up impressive performances to book their places in the next round with a game to spare. Here is our team of the week from the impressive nights of Champions League games this week.
Goalkeeper – Ibrahim Cehic (Qarabag FK)
Qarabag as a team must be commended for going unbeaten in two games against Atletico Madrid. Ironically in both games, they finished with 10 men but still held their own against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid and one man stood tall, Ibrahim Cehic. Over both legs, Cehic faced 24 shots on target, conceding from just two of them to keep his team with a shot of qualifying for the Europa league.
Right Back – Kierran Trippier (Tottenham)
It was a battle with Marcelo from start to finish for Kieran Trippier but he stood tall at the end of the game, constantly marauding down his position thereby carrying out both his attacking and defensive duty to perfection. His cross set up Dele Alli for the opener. He also held his ground against in-form Isco.
Center Back – Alberto Botia (Olympiacos)
How do you keep a clean sheet against Barcelona? Well, Botia alongside his defensive partner Engels were impressive and kept their focus for the entire duration of the game making several tackles and interceptions to stop the high flying European giants from scoring in a UCL group game for the first time since December 2012.
Center Back – Badavi Guseynov (Qarabag)
Qarabag relied on a solid defensive base and swift counter attack against Atletico Madrid and Guseynov was a mountain in their center back, coming out tops in battles against Antoine Griezmann, Torres and Kevin Gameiro.
Left Back – Laryn Kurzawa
There was a Neymar, Cavani, Draxler and Mbappe on the pitch and someone else scored a hattrick. When was the last time a defender even scored a hattrick before now? Apart from the goal, he also kept a clean sheet which makes it even more impressive. Imagine how much points that would have been in EPL fantasy. Impressive!!!
Midfield – Delle Alli
He was aggressive from the blast of the whistle, making impressive runs into the channels as he usually does. He was rewarded with a good goal but asides the goal, stuck to his task as Tottenham grabbed their first win ever against Real Madrid.
Midfield – Marco Verratti
The Italian is enjoying himself right now after his failed move to Barcelona and is looking like a man on a mission. His passion, hunger and drive have made him a key element of this Unai Emery side as they look to go the distance in the Champions League this season. Took his goal with aplomb and was excellent all through.
Midfield – Raheem Sterling
The former Liverpool star was mesmerizing all day completing the most take-ons (7) and also made the right decisions all game. His aggressiveness was also a key factor against a disciplined Napoli side. He took his goal well and was rightly awarded the man-of-the-match award.
Attack – El Shaarawy
The Italian international showed the stuff that made him highly rated years ago. He opened the scoring at the blast of the whistle and never looked back. He also grabbed an impressive second goal with a nice chip over Courtois and was a thorn in the flesh of Chelsea defenders all through the game.
Attack – Mohammed Salah
He has really been a valuable coup for Liverpool with his consistency which has seen Liverpool grind on in the absence of key players, Saido Mane and Phillipe Coutinho. He was yet again at the heart of Liverpool’s offence scoring a goal to help the Reds close to a round of sixteen spots.
Attack – Neymar
The Brazilian superstar continued his impressive form for PSG with a screamer in their 5-0 rout of Anderlecht. The result sees PSG qualify for the round of sixteen scoring the highest number of goals and conceding none.
Players who narrowly missed out are Omar Elabdellaoui who put up a strong defensive performance against Barcelona, Man City’s John Stones, Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, AS Roma’s Diego Perrotti , Edin Dzeko and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero who became Manchester City’s record goalscorer by notching his 178th goal for the club.