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Champions League Awards: Decision drama and stunning goals

Our Champions League awards honour the best – and worst – of the action from the quarter-final first legs, featuring Barcelona’s brilliant Brazilian and penalty drama at the Emirates.

Moment of the Week

Where to start!?

It was a goal-fest in the Champions League quarter-finals this week with 18 goals scored across the four games and no side appearing in complete control of their tie. Real Madrid and Manchester City shared six goals in a modern rivalry that rarely disappoints, while Arsenal’s clash with Bayern Munich featured four goals evenly split and some huge – and brave – refereeing calls.

The first saw Bayern denied a penalty in bizarre circumstances with the German champions leading 2-1 at the Emirates. With the whistle blown, David Raya played the ball across his six-yard box at a goal kick before Gabriel Magalhaes, who had not realised the ball was active, picked up the ball and re-planted it to take the goal kick himself. Thomas Tuchel was incensed with the decision at full-time.

“I think there was a huge mistake in not giving the handball penalty,” he said. “It’s a crazy situation, but they put the ball down, he whistles, [Raya] gives the ball free and the defender takes it in his hand.

“What makes us really angry is the explanation on the pitch. He told our players it was a kid’s mistake, and he will not give a penalty like this in a Champions League quarter-final.

“It is a horrible, horrible explanation. It means he is judging handballs. Whether it’s a kid’s mistake or an adult’s mistake, we feel angry because it’s a huge decision against us.”

Arsenal then had their own claim for a spot-kick turned down as Bukayo Saka went down under a challenge from Manuel Neuer in stoppage time.

Just 26 seconds before the full-time whistle – and with an Emirates crowd demanding a decision – referee Glenn Nyberg deemed it was Saka who initiated the contact with the goalkeeper and turned the appeals away. Bold, again, from Nyberg and decisions that have left this tie perfectly poised for the neutrals.

 

Player of the Week

Barcelona took a huge step closer to a first Champions League semi-final in five years after beating Paris Saint-Germain in a five-goal thriller at the Parc des Princes.

Raphinha was the difference-maker for the Spanish side, as the winger scored his first Champions League goals with a brilliant brace. The 27-year-old’s future in Catalonia continues to be up in the air, but he proved against PSG that he can change games at the highest level. He opened the scoring with an emphatic side-footed finish, before restoring parity after PSG had come out firing after half-time with two goals in the opening five minutes of the second half.

Raphinha’s second was a thing of beauty, as he cut across Pedri’s lofted pass on the volley to arrow a finish into the far corner. A brilliant performance from the former Leeds man, who appears to have a point to prove at the Camp Nou.

Goal of the Week

Great goals were plentiful on a sensational week of Champions League action, with Real Madrid and Manchester City featuring three stunning strikes alone.

The pick of the bunch was Federico Valverde’s equaliser to make it 3-3 at the Bernabeu, as the midfielder connected with Vinicius Junior’s cross on the volley. Gorgeous technique from the Uruguayan.

Stat of the Week

It might have been the highest-scoring round of quarter-final ties in the Champions League era, but the competition’s superstar strikers were barely involved.

Quote of the Week

After Roy Keane’s ‘League Two’ comments on Erling Haaland’s all-round game, ex-Real Madrid man Rafael van der Vaart has been next to weigh in on the Manchester City forward, after his blank against the Spanish side.

 

Donkey of the Week

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Borussia Dortmund endured a nightmare start to their clash with Atletico Madrid after conceding this shocker inside four minutes. Gregor Kobel and Ian Maatsen can take equal blame for this effort, gift-wrapping the opener for the Spanish side.

Dortmund have it all to do in the return.

Read – Champions League Team of the Week – Quarter-final first legs

See more – Five of the best games between Real Madrid and English clubs

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