Ronaldo and Buffon ensure a bitter night for Messi
If we stick to the result, the much-anticipated Messi-Ronaldo duel was won by the latter, mainly thanks to his two goals and because Juventus secured a resounding 3-0 victory.
But looking more closely, the one who really won the duel against Messi was the imposing figure of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who, at almost 43 years of age, denied the Argentine captain a goal with a least three masterful saves.
Barça lost, but this time we did not see Messi as passive and sour-looking as other times. If he's still angry, at least he covered it up by playing well. He is no longer 26, nor will he ever be again, but playing like his 26-year-old self is still within his grasp. It was a pity that his team mates around him did not rise to the occasion.
As for Ronaldo, he took on the role that the match demanded of him: counter-attacker, marauder and relentless converter of penalties, the first of which seemed rigorous, as they used to say. And when needed, he dropped back and even managed to nick the ball off Messi in the penalty area as the Argentine tried to weave his way towards goal.
Sevilla and Barcelona go through as runners up
To sum up, the game was a major disappointment for Barça, who lost their top spot in the group, not the mention losing the calm that a victory would have given after last weekend’s shock defeat to Cádiz.
For their part, Sevilla won their game against Rennes with authority – meaning the two Spanish clubs qualify for the last-16 in the runner-up pot, which is not ideal, but at least they continue on. Hopefully tonight, we will able to say the same about the two clubs from Madrid.
PSG-Istanbul: the scandal in Paris
Tuesday night also left us with the ugly scenes in Paris, where both PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir’s players left the field after the Romanian fourth official, Sebastian Coltescu, referred to Istanbul’s assistant coach Pierre Webó as “the black one”.
“No offense”, Coltescu claimed after. However, “no offense” is sometimes in itself offensive and must therefore be avoided. Let’s see how UEFA deals with this, when it fully clarifies the “what” and the "how”. But this incident serves to remind us that Europe has embraced multi-racial football for years now and, as such, there are manners of speaking that are not acceptable in this environment.
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