MX23RW : Wednesday, March 20 05:59:26

Champions League Team of the Week - Christian Eriksen, Angel Di Maria, Jan Vertonghen

Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week from the first legs of the last-16 ties, including Christian Eriksen, Angel Di Maria and Jan Vertonghen.

The first legs of the Champions League last 16 have left some ties all but over and others fascinatingly poised for the second legs next month.

Manchester United's hopes of making it through to the quarter-finals are hanging by a thread after they were beaten 2-0 at home by Paris Saint-Germain, and Liverpool are also up against it following a goalless draw with Bayern Munich at Anfield.

By contrast, Tottenham Hotspur have one foot in the last eight courtesy of their 3-0 triumph over Borussia Dortmund, while Manchester City's dramatic late win at Schalke 04 puts them firmly in the driving seat of their tie.

Real Madrid only just scraped past an impressive Ajax in Amsterdam to take a 2-1 lead back to the Bernabeu, and Atletico Madrid made it a good round for the Spanish capital clubs by beating one of the tournament favourites in Juventus.

It was not a clean sweep for the recently-dominant Spanish trio, though, as Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by Lyon to leave them with work to do at Camp Nou.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Champions League team of the week from all of the round-of-16 first legs.



CL TOTW L16

Lyon were big underdogs when pulled out of the hat against Barcelona, but their 0-0 draw in the first leg leaves them with a fighting chance in the second. Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was a big reason behind that clean sheet, making five saves to frustrate Lionel Messi and co.

The Madrid clubs provide three of the back four, including the Atletico centre-back pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, who not only kept Cristiano Ronaldo and the Juventus attack at bay, but also both got on the scoresheet to put their side in control of the tie.

Real Madrid were less convincing at the back and Ajax were unfortunate to come away from their match with nothing, but Dani Carvajal assisted the crucial winning goal for the three-time defending champions to earn his place at right-back.

The standout individual performance from all of the first legs came from Jan Vertonghen, who was virtually unstoppable in the second half of Tottenham's win over Dortmund. Playing in a relatively unfamiliar left-back role, the Belgian created the first, scored the second and was a constant driving force forward at Wembley.

Vertonghen is joined in the team by a current and a former Spurs teammate, with Christian Eriksen also playing a big part in his side's much-improved second-half performance - including providing the assist for the third goal.

Nabil Bentaleb's night might have ended in heartache as Schalke conceded late to fall to defeat against Man City, but the midfielder ensured that his side are not completely out of the tie with two goals, both of which came from penalty spot.

Roma still have work to do in their tie against Porto, but they at least have a lead from the first leg courtesy of their 2-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico. Lorenzo Pellegrini was crucial to that victory with a battling display in midfield which helped lead to the quickfire brace which ultimately decided the game.

It was Nicolo Zaniolo who got both of those goals, with the youngster announcing himself on the scene by scoring twice in the space of six minutes - enough to earn him a place above teammate Edin Dzeko and PSG's Kylian Mbappe leading the line.

There is one PSG representative from their win at Old Trafford, though, with Angel Di Maria providing the perfect response to the abuse he received at his former club by providing the assists for both goals.

On the opposite flank, Ajax's David Neres may have ended up on the losing side but he was one of the better performers on the pitch against Madrid, assisting the home side's goal and registering a whopping 98% pass accuracy to beat the likes of Messi and Man City hero Raheem Sterling to a place in the team.

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone on February 20, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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