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Champions League: Players that impressed during the week

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Micah Hamilton Photo Manchester City
Micah Hamilton became the youngest player – at 20 years and 30 days - to score on his UCL debut for City. Photo/ Manchester City
  • Following the end of the group rounds on Matchday Six, the final 16 teams in the UEFA Champions League have been confirmed.
  • We look at the players that impressed in the Champions League midweek games.

Following the end of the group rounds on Matchday Six, the final 16 teams in the UEFA Champions League have been confirmed.

We look at the players that impressed in the Champions League midweek games.

Dayot Upamecano – Bayern Munich

Dayot Upamecano is Liverpool's first-choice defender - Sports Leo

Dayot Upamecano. PHOTO: Die Roten Bullen

This season, Rasmus Hojlund of Manchester United has done well in Europe, but this week he shown that he still has a couple of levels before competing at this level. At Old Trafford, Bayern Munich won 1-0 thanks to Dayot Upamecano’s excellent play, which frustrated the attacker.

In the match, the France international won all four of his ground duels, made four tackles, and made four clearances. He also had an accuracy rate of 89.8% on passes. This served as a reminder of Upamecano’s caliber following a terrible performance on his previous visit to Manchester when Bayern lost to Manchester City in the tournament the previous season.

Joe Hart – Celtic

While Joe Hart and Celtic have had a challenging group stage, it concluded this week on a positive note. At Parkhead, Celtic defeated Feyenoord 2-1, and the seasoned goalie was outstanding.

Hart has received criticism this season, and with good reason, yet he played maybe his greatest game against the Dutch team. In the first half, the 36-year-old made six saves and twice stopped the hot-shot Santiago Gimenez. Much better.

Angel Di Maria – Benfica

Angel Di Maria performance heleped Benfica secure Europa league spot Photo Goal scaled

Angel Di Maria’s performance helped Benfica secure a Europa League spot. Photo/ Goal

Even though Angel Di Maria is very close to turning thirty-six, the Argentine is still sharp.

After playing a key role in his team’s 3-1 victory over Red Bull Salzburg, which saw the Portuguese team move ahead of their rivals to secure a Europa League place, Di Maria made sure Benfica will play football in Europe come January 1.

The World Cup victor scored the first goal straight off a corner kick, then assisted Rafa Silva to score the second. Arthur Cabral’s goal in stoppage time saved Benfica’s European campaign, but Luka Sucic’s goal appeared to send Salzburg into the Europa League.

Micah Hamilton – Manchester City

The 20-year-old, who has led Manchester City in assists in Premier League 2 this year, was rewarded with his senior debut in the team’s Champions League final game against Red Star. Hamilton made his debut in Belgrade with a spectacular goal that opened the score, and he could scarcely have done more to support his claim for greater playing time.

The striker’s first goal came after a daring run into the penalty area, and after Hamilton was pulled down inside the box on another charging move, a penalty was awarded. Exuberant performance, on an incredible evening for the City school.

Fikayo Tomori – AC Milan

On his return to England, the center-back played a great defensive game as AC Milan defeated Newcastle. Tomori was instrumental in keeping the Italian team from winning at St. James’ Park, and the outcome guarantees the Rossoneri a spot in the Europa League.

It was amazing how he challenged Miguel Almiron to keep the game goalless. Even though their Champions League run is finished, Tomori’s incredible effort has guaranteed that European football will take place at the San Siro in 2019.

Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain

Kylian Mbappe Photo Eurosport

Kylian Mbappe. Photo/ Eurosport

With the France captain looking so dangerous even when he isn’t scoring, Kylian Mbappe helped pull Paris Saint-German over Borussia Dortmund. In football, Mbappe one-on-one situations are perhaps the hardest to defend, as the 24-year-old blasted past Niklas Sule to help set up the equalizer.

Mbappe was denied a goal earlier by Sule’s goal-line clearance, and twice he put Randal Kolo Muani through on goal only for his teammate to miss the chances. PSG doesn’t seem like a squad that can win this competition based on their group-stage performances. Mbappe’s unique skill, though, gives the Parisians a chance against any opponent in any game.

Dani Ceballos – Real Madrid

The Spanish powerhouses proved they were worthy of the Champions League with six victories out of six in the group stage. On Matchday Six, a rested Real Madrid defeated Union Berlin 3-2 thanks to a last-second goal from Dani Ceballos.

Ceballos, who hasn’t started a league game for Carlo Ancelotti’s team yet this season, had a great moment with his winner. The 27-year-old midfielder had a fantastic all-around game, winning six duels, completing 94.3% of his passes, and recording a team-high 127 touches. His goal was the highlight of the game.

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