The Champions League group stage is over, however who have been the stars of the closing group stage video games? This is the finest XI from Matchday 6.
Goalkeeper — Alisson (Liverpool)
Jurgen Klopp known as Alisson’s late save from Arkadiusz Milik a “lifesaver” and, in soccer phrases, it was no exaggeration. The goalkeeper made himself huge to block Napoli’s wonderful late probability from a matter of yards, sending Liverpool via and proving as soon as once more that the £65m they paid Roma in the summer season was cash effectively spent. Lately Liverpool look far safer in defence and Alisson, who had not precisely been stretched in the earlier 92 minutes, is a big motive for that.
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Proper-back — Cristiano Piccini (Valencia)
Piccini’s marauding runs put an insipid Manchester United on the again foot of their defeat to Valencia — and maybe this show will kickstart his profession in Spain after a sluggish begin since arriving from Sporting Lisbon. He comfortably had the higher of United left-back Marcos Rojo, to the extent that the Argentinian was changed at half-time. Piccini was additionally concerned in Carlos Soler’s deadlock-breaking purpose and can mirror on a high quality night time’s work.
Centre-back — Brandon Mechele (Membership Brugge)
Holding Antoine Griezmann and firm out for 90 minutes isn’t any simple process however Mechele, anchoring the Belgian aspect’s three-man central defence, helped them do precisely that in the Zero-Zero draw which consigned Atletico to second place in Group A. Brugge will play in the Europa League after Christmas and, given their showings throughout the group stage, ought to be aggressive. They gave little away in opposition to a annoyed Spanish aspect.
Centre-back — Trent Sainsbury (PSV)
Sainsbury solely made one look for Inter Milan throughout a mortgage spell with the Nerazzurri in 2017 however made an even bigger influence on his return to San Siro with PSV. The Australian, making his first Champions League begin for the membership, marshalled a wonderful defensive effort that introduced a 1-1 draw and led to the Italian aspect’s sudden exit from the competitors.
Left-back — Georgi Schennikov (CSKA Moscow)
How would you are feeling in the present day should you have been a CSKA Moscow fan? On the one hand their Three-Zero win at the Bernabeu was, even in opposition to a weakened Real Madrid, a sensational result and accomplished a “double” over the serial Champions League winners. On the different, they nonetheless completed backside of Group G with out even a Europa League place for solace. All the identical, moments like Schennikov’s purpose — as he ran onto a rebound to volley his aspect’s second purpose previous Thibaut Courtois — shall be cherished for a few years.
Central midfielder — Arnor Sigurdsson (CSKA Moscow)
Is Sigurdsson Iceland’s subsequent celebrity? On this proof he has an opportunity. The 19-year-old was good at the Bernabeu, teeing up Fyodor Chalov’s opener earlier than rifling in an excellent third himself. He was a continuing, scheming menace along with his sharp runs and astute positioning, doing sufficient to recommend that appearances on this stage will quickly develop into the norm. Whether or not they are going to be with CSKA or one other membership is one other matter.
Central midfielder — Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham)
Sissoko’s transformation from boo-boy into Spurs followers’ cult hero is exceptional in a single sense however, in one other, additional proof of Mauricio Pochettino’s unwavering perception in growing his gamers. He was distinctive at Camp Nou in Spurs’ decisive draw, overlaying each blade of grass and serving to the Premier League aspect claw their means again right into a recreation that appeared to have been misplaced.
Central midfielder — Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
Tadic has been sensational since his shock summer season transfer to Ajax. His 15th and 16th objectives of this marketing campaign, one a tap-in and the second a penalty, topped one other very good all-round efficiency and helped the Dutch aspect to a Three-Three draw in opposition to Bayern in arguably the finest recreation of this season’s group stage. Ajax are on the rise and shall be awkward opponents for whoever they face in the spherical of 16.
Proper ahead — Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
It’s just a few weeks since some critics have been doubting Salah, asking whether or not he might presumably keep final season’s ranges after a slower begin to this marketing campaign. He’s again to his finest now and fired Liverpool previous Napoli with a trademark combine of energy and ingenuity, bursting explosively into the field earlier than deceiving David Ospina, who had been anticipating a cross, and slotting low into the web from an angle.
Centre-forward — Guillaume Hourau (Younger Boys)
In the long term, Juventus will lose little sleep over their 2-1 defeat by Younger Boys in Switzerland however it could dwell longer in the reminiscence of the veteran striker Hoarau. He squeezed a first-half penalty previous Wojciech Szczesny and then slotted dwelling a powerful particular person effort to full a slick counter. Not dangerous for a participant who turns 35 in March, and a reminder of the items that noticed him capped by France earlier in the decade.
Left ahead — Leroy Sane (Manchester Metropolis)
Sane is getting again to his irresistible finest and scored two supreme objectives to hearth Metropolis previous Hoffenheim. The primary, a 30-yard free kick struck with energy and precision into the prime nook, levelled issues up in first-half stoppage time; the second, a cool end from a rapier-like counter-attack that noticed him trade passes with Raheem Sterling, won it for Pep Guardiola’s aspect. It additionally confirmed that one of the world’s most enjoyable vast males is on prime of his recreation as soon as once more.