A rejuvenated Ajax side ended Real Madrid’s European dominance with an astonishing 4-1 scoreline (5-3 win on aggregate) at the monumental Santiago Bernabeu in the round of 16 tie of the UEFA Champions League. After back-to-back triumphs in Europe’s most prestigious competition at club level, Real Madrid’s three-year reign as Champions League specialist came to a tragic end that no one saw coming.
Meanwhile PSG was stunned by a controversial last-gasp Manchester United penalty helped by VAR. It was the comeback to end all comebacks. A comeback secured in stoppage time. And a comeback that was tinged in controversy with the most dramatic of VAR decisions.
The game was on a knife edge, one Paris Saint-Germain goal and it was game over for Manchester United, while Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side needed to score once to go through.
As the clock ticked into stoppage time, VAR took center stage and referee Damir Skomina awarded United a penalty.
And now United, despite all of their injuries and their 2-0 loss at Old Trafford in the first leg, are heading to the Champions League quarterfinals. And as much as PSG will focus on the penalty decision, they really have no one to blame but themselves.
VAR again came into limelight when Porto score a VAR penalty in extra time to send Roma out of Champions League. Porto set out needing to fight back from a 2-1 defeat in Rome and they attacked from the start, taking a deserved lead in the 26th minute when Moussa Marega rolled the ball across the box for Tiquinho Soares to tap in from close range.
That would have sent them through on the away goals rule but Roma levelled 11 minutes later after Diego Perotti was brought down by Eder Militao and Daniele De Rossi converted the penalty, sending Iker Casillas the wrong way following a stuttering run-up.