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Liverpool produced an outstanding display of counterattacking football and clinical finishing to cruise past Porto in their round of 16 first leg at the Estádio do Dragão.

Porto were on the back foot from the moment Giorginio Wijnaldum slipped in Sadio Mané and the Senegalese forward’s effort crept under José Sá. Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Mohamed Salah reacted quickest when James Milner’s drive smacked against the post, controlling expertly and flicking the ball past the goalkeeper before tapping in.

Porto were open to the devastating Liverpool counterattack as they chased the game and the Reds were ruthless. Mané completed his hat-trick with two emphatic finishes either side of Roberto Firmino’s coolly-placed effort to all but seal their passage through to the last eight.

Industrious, energetic, stylish and clinical, Liverpool put on a show to light up any UEFA Champions League occasion and in Mané they had a player who embodied each of those admirable attributes. If the 25-year-old’s first goal of the night contained a small slice of fortune, his third was a thing of beauty, a right-footed drive from range that followed an exquisite one-two with Danny Ings.

Paul Bryan, Porto: Backed by a vociferous home crowd, Porto began this contest strongly, featuring the surprise inclusion of Otávio in their starting line-up within a solid 4-5-1 formation. Yet from the moment a slip-up by goalkeeper José Sá helped Mané give the visitors a first-half lead the Dragões fell apart, succumbing to Liverpool’s attacking force as the rain spilled down and suffering their heaviest European defeat on home soil.

Matthew Howarth, Liverpool: Crucially, Liverpool appear to have learned a valuable lesson from November’s 3-3 draw with Sevilla. A Porto goal at the start of the second half could have set up a nervous finish at the Estádio do Dragão, but strikes from Mané (2) and Firmino completed a thumping victory. The Reds’ defence, marshalled superbly by Virgil van Dijk, rarely looked in danger of conceding. A superb win for Jürgen Klopp’s side, who can now start planning for the last eight.

Key stats

    • This is Porto’s heaviest home European defeat, having never lost by more than two goals previously
    • Liverpool are now the top scorers in this season’s competition with 28 goals
    • Firmino has seven goals this season and is joint second in the scoring charts with Harry Kane; Mané and Salah have six
    • Mané is the fourth Liverpool player to score a #UCL hat-trick after Michael Owen (2002), Yossi Benayoun (2007) and Philippe Coutinho (2017)
    • Porto were unbeaten in their first 11 home games against English clubs; this is their fourth defeat in the last seven

MATCH REPORT: UEFA

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Lionel Messi ends his long wait for Chelsea goal in a close draw

Lionel Messi finally has his first goal against Chelsea in his ninth meeting with the Blues.

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Lionel Messi has ended a long wait for his first goal against Chelsea in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.

Barcelona hold the slight edge after Lionel Messi’s equaliser gave them a share of the spoils in the first leg of their round of 16 tie with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The visitors dominated possession in the first half but, one wayward Paulinho header aside, failed to muster any clear-cut chances and were fortunate to reach the interval level after Willian struck the post on two occasions.

The Brazilian fared better in the 62nd minute when he calmly found the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Chelsea looked set to take an advantage to the Camp Nou until Andrés Iniesta burst through and teed up Messi to end his goal hoodoo against the London side.

A fan favourite at Stamford Bridge, Willian was in inspired form all evening. The Brazilian rattled both posts in a dynamic first-half display and made the visitors pay for lax defending at the third time of asking, driving low past Marc-André ter Stegen from the edge of the box early in the second period. A constant outlet on the break, Willian more than justified his starting berth.

MATCH REPORT: UEFA

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Willian brace as Chelsea ease past Hull

Olivier Giroud scored his Chelsea debut goal against Hull.

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Willian brace as Chelsea ease past Hull

Chelsea are through to the Emirates FA Cup sixth round after a 4-0 win courtesy of a brace from Willian.

Former Arsenal star Olivier Giroud who signed on to Chelsea in the January transfer got the debut goal he was desperately looking as
Chelsea dominated the match courtesy of Emerson Palmieri cross into the box.

The former Arsenal frontman left the Emirates after securing a £15million transfer to Chelsea. Giroud scored with his signature flick using the momentum from the cross to beat the keeper.

The Blues took the lead after just two minutes when Willian’s curled shot from outside of the penalty area found the net.

Pedro also got on the scoresheet thanks to an assist from Cesc Fabregas to seal the game by half-time.

After the break Hull were a much improved side and were rewarded with a penalty which David Meyler failed to convert.

However Chelsea continued to dominate the pace and Willian came close to a hat-trick hitting the post late on in the match.

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Real Madrid strike late for a two goal advantage over PSG

Cristiano Ronaldo made more UEFA Champions League history as Real Madrid struck twice in the last seven minutes to take a grip on a tie that had hung firmly in the balance.

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Cristiano Ronaldo notched up his 100th and 101st UEFA Champions League goals for Real Madrid as the holders struck late to take a firm grip on this last-16 tie.

Paris Saint-Germain spent much of the evening in the ascendancy at the Bernabéu, and for 12 first-half minutes they held the lead through Adrien Rabiot. Yet right on half-time Giovani Lo Celso, one of several youngsters in the visitors’ side, was penalised for a foul on Toni Kroos and Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot.

The French side had the better of the second period but Madrid remained patient and seven minutes from time Ronaldo struck a fortuitous second. Marcelo soon rubbed salt in Paris wounds scarcely healed from their last trip to Spain 12 months ago, when Barcelona sensationally overturned a 4-0 deficit.

Madrid still have to go to France, though.

Ever a man for the big occasion. With his team on the ropes, it was Ronaldo who converted the penalty just before the break, his 100th UEFA Champions League goal for Madrid. He began on his next century late on, finding himself in the right place at the right time to force in after Alphonse Areola had pushed out Marco Asensio’s deflected cross to put his side 2-1 up. There is just something about the No7 and this competition.

Key stats

  • Ronaldo is the first player to score 100 UEFA Champions League goals for one club, reaching the landmark in his 95th game
  • Ronaldo has scored in the first seven matchdays this season – also a record
  • Ronaldo has scored 21 goals in his last 12 UEFA Champions League appearances
  • Ronaldo’s tally of 27 round of 16 appearances is three more than any other player
  • This is a record 15th round of 16 tie for Real Madrid, one more than Arsenal and, as of next week, Barcelona and Bayern
  • Paris lost 3-1 at Madrid in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 1993, and won 4-1 at home

REPORT: UEFA

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