European Champions League Roundup Feb 17-18

The European Champions League was back in action on Feb. 17 and 18 with eight teams in action during the first leg of their knockout stage ties. The matches were PSG vs Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk vs Bayern Munich, Basel vs Porto and Real Madrid vs Schalke 04.

Bayern Munich traveled to Ukraine and struggled with their hosts as they played to a 0-0 draw. It was an uninspiring contest with Bayern Munich possessing the ball 64 per cent of the time, but they failed to convert their chances. The only memorable moment of the match came in the 59th minute when Bayern’s Xabi Alonzo was sent of the pitch with a red card. He’ll now miss the return leg in Germany.

In Paris at the Parc des Princes, Paris Saint Germain hosted Chelsea of the English Premier League and the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw. The reigning French Ligue 1 champions faced the current Premier League leaders and it was one of the better matches over the two days. Defender Branislav Ivanovic put Chelsea in the lead with a header in the first half which eluded goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. However, Edinson Cavani replied with a header of his own to level the score. The home side created several more scoring chances, but Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois was at his agile best.

Real Madrid traveled to Germany and took on Schalke 04. This, like the Chelsea vs PSG tie, is a rematch of last year’s knockout stage. Real hammered the German club 9-2 on aggregate last year and got off to a good start here with a 2-0n road win. Real had the ball 61 per cent of the time and the outcome was never really in doubt from the opening whistle. Portuguese skipper Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goal in four games with a header and Marcelo added the second goal of the match.

In the other outing, Portuguese side Porto played to a 1-1 draw with FC Basel of Switzerland in Basel at the Saint Jakob Park. Denis Gonzalez scored in the 11th minute to give the home side the lead, but Danilo tied the game on a penalty kick with 11 minutes to go. It was a bit of a rough affair with nine yellow cards handed out by English referee Mark Clattenburg.