UCL Matchday 6: Tuesday’s Major Highlights
The final sixteen teams of the 2018/19 UCL campaign are all but confirmed and Africans have had a fair share of being heroes of their teams, disappointing or causing major scalps. Here is a look at some of those.
Mousa Marega makes history with Champions League darkhorses, Porto
The Portuguese side reached the last sixteen with a few games to spare but has also done so by remaining unbeaten. FC Porto won five of their six matches and drew only one, topped the group and stand as a worthy opponent for any other European side. With their experience of reaching this stage in times past, they undoubtedly have as much chance as anyone to progress to the quarterfinals, more so given their sizzling form. Historic to their impressive performance is Malian, Mousa Marega who is deputising for injured Cameroonian striker in Vincent Aboubakar. Marega became the first African to score in five consecutive champions league matches with a penalty conversion in their 3-2 win against Galatasaray last night. Algeria’s Sofiane Feghouli was instrumental for the Turkish side that fell out fighting after scoring once from the spot but also hitting the crossbar with another penalty that could have earned a point for the Turkish champions. Nigeria’s Henry Onyekuru was also guilty of missing a clear chance for Galatasaray but finished a part of the Europa League bound team that should be proud of their performance.
Magical Salah powers Liverpool into the last 16
After bagging a hatrick for the Reds over the weekend, the premier league joint top scorer continued his form by scoring the only goal of the match that narrowly put Liverpool into the knockout stages ahead of last night’s opponent in Napoli by virtue of having scored two more goals than them in the campaign. The same cannot be said for Salah’s striking partner in the returning Senegalese, Sadio Mane who missed a couple of clear chances for the Anfield residents.
Koulibaly and Asamoah in the mix as Napoli and Inter pay for their naivety.
It was almost certain for table topping Napoli to reach the knockout stage, only needing a point at Liverpool to go through. All of Senegalese’s Kalidou Koulibaly fine performances against the likes of PSG and the first leg against Liverpool came crashing down as Carlo Ancelotti’s men fell 1-0 at the hands of Liverpool, ultimately finishing third and bound to the Europa League. The Italian Serie A side in Inter Milan who had just returned to Europe’s premier club competition after a lengthy spell also suffered the same fate after failing to beat PSV in their courtyard eventually surrendering a knockout spot to unexpecting Tottenham. Kwadwo Asamoah and Keita Balde’s team has a few more things to work on before returning to their status as one of Europe’s top clubs.