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Players who impressed in the Champions League

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Erling Haaland
Erling received the Man of the Match award at the end. |PHOTO: Manchester City|
  • With the UEFA Champions League headed to the Quater-Finals stage.
  • Here are players who impressed in the Round-off 16 matches.

Following the second leg of the last-16 matches, the quarterfinal lineup for the UEFA Champions League has been determined.

With their 7-0 thumping of RB Leipzig, Manchester City has joined Chelsea as the representatives of the Premier League in the last eight. Liverpool was eliminated after suffering a resounding two-leg loss to Real Madrid, while Inter Milan and Napoli advanced this week to give Serie A three teams in the quarterfinals.

Here are players who impressed in the competition.

Kim Min-Jae – Napoli

Kim Min-Jae

Kim Min-Jae. Photo by CaughtOffSide

This week, Kim Min-Napoli Jae’s coach Luciano Spalletti referred to him as “the best centre-back in the world right now,” and the South Korean’s standing grows with each accomplishment.

Napoli defeated Eintracht Frankfurt in two legs to go to the quarterfinals, and the centre-back kept another clean sheet as the team’s confidence in its ability to contend for the Champions League grows.

In a commanding defensive display, Min-Jae lived up to his moniker as “The Monster,” giving the Bundesliga team little hope of salvaging the tie in the return match. In spite of rumours of a low release clause, he might just be one of the most wanted players of the summer transfer window.

André Onana – Inter Milan

For the first time in twelve years, Inter Milan has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League after Simeone Inzaghi’s team withstood intense pressure from Porto at the Estadio do Drago. The Italian team’s hero was goalkeeper Andre Onana, who made a series of stops to frustrate the home team in a scoreless tie in Portugal.

As Porto pushed for a goal late on, Onana made a key stoppage-time save to tip Mehdi Taremi’s header into the post as Inter protected a 1-0 first-leg lead and rode their luck to advance.

Eduardo Camavinga – Real Madrid

Camavinga

Camavinga has been solid for Real Madrid this season. |PHOTO: Sky Sports|

Being just 20 and given the maturity and assurance Camavinga exhibits at the centre of the team, one might be excused for thinking the midfielder was an experienced performer. The Frenchman was outstanding in Real Madrid‘s 1-0 victory over Liverpool, displaying the skill and demeanour that have allowed him to mature and take on a starting role in the club since the start of the year.

There is a reason Carlo Ancelotti dubbed Camavinga “untouchable” when Premier League clubs pursued him during the January transfer window. His calmness could be essential once more as the competition heats up. He was an underappreciated component of the club’s Champions League victory last season.

Hakan Calhanoglu – Inter Milan

Calhanoglu put on a man-of-the-match performance for Inter in their 0-0 draw with Porto at the Estadio do Drago. He was excellent and composed in the heat of battle this past week against Porto.

The Turkish midfielder was the picture of calm as he recorded a game-high 96% pass accuracy, 100% dribble completion, two opportunities created, and a staggering 11 ball recoveries. Calhanoglu stood in for Inter’s tireless shift in Portugal, where the visitors occasionally held on to secure their spot in the round of eight.

Victor Osimhen – Napoli

Napoli easily advanced to the quarterfinals, and their top scorer against Eintracht Frankfurt was responsible for the damage.

Victor Osimhen scored twice against the Bundesliga team to give his team a 23-goal total for the year. First, he turned in a Giovanni Di Lorenzo cross for one goal after rising high to head in a Matteo Politano cross.

The Nigerian is driving Napoli’s European challenge and has plagued Serie A defenders all season. None of the other quarterfinalists will want to be paired with the league leaders from Italy on Friday.

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland put five past Leipzig.|PHOTO: Sky Sports|

Erling Haaland’s season just keeps getting better as the forward this week became just the third man to score FIVE goals in a Champions League match. The Norwegian, assisted himself to a hat-trick in the first half with a penalty and two poacher’s efforts.

In mid-March, Haaland broke Manchester City’s all-time club record by scoring two more goals in the second half to bring his season total of goals scored across all competitions to 39. He might perform at levels that are terrifying, both now and in the upcoming campaigns.

The 22-year-substitution old’s by Guardiola in the 63rd minute may have simply been an act of kindness for City’s opponents, who were in shock.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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