Football Features

The internet reacts as Jadon Sancho continues resurgence to fire Dortmund into UCL quarter-finals

By Squawka News

The internet reacts as Jadon Sancho continues resurgence to fire Dortmund into UCL quarter-finals

Published: 23:02, 13 March 2024

The Champions League round-of-16 reached its conclusion on Wednesday evening, with the final two teams completing the quarter-final line-up. 

In Spain, Atletico Madrid were able to topple a 1-0 deficit from the first leg at the San Siro, despite going another goal behind to Federico Dimarco just after the half-hour mark. Antoine Griezmann quickly pulled one back before Atletico were made to fight tooth and nail, extra-time finally being forced when Memphis Depay found the breakthrough in the 87th minute. The next 30 minutes yielded no further goals, meaning a penalty shootout followed, with Atletico Madrid emerging victorious 3-2.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Borussia Dortmund booked their place in the last eight thanks to a hard-fought 2-0 win over PSV on the night following a 1-1 draw in Eindhoven in the first leg. Jadon Sancho was the man to deliver the goods on a nervy night at Signal Iduna Park, while Marco Reus put the result beyond doubt at the end following some intense PSV pressure and missed chances.

Resurgent Jadon Sancho fires Dortmund to the quarter-finals

For the first time since 2021, Borussia Dortmund are Champions League quarter-finalists and they have a familiar face to thank for that achievement in Jadon Sancho.

The estranged England international returned to Signal Iduna Park on loan after a falling out with Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, very much needing to get his career back on track following a tough time back in his homeland.

‘Home’ is a key word for Sancho, who looks far more comfortable in Germany than he does in England. Indeed, despite notching just one goal and one assist across nine returning appearances prior to Wednesday night, the 23-year-old winger has shown a level of intent and creativity we haven’t seen from him since he left this club to move to Old Trafford. A higher output has been beckoning.

And it was Sancho who provided the decisive moment just three minutes into the match, kick-starting a Dortmund counter-attack before finishing it off in style from the edge of the box. It was Sancho’s seventh direct goal involvement (4g/3a) in his last seven Champions League home matches for Dortmund, but his first-ever strike in the competition’s knockout rounds.

Safe to say his triumphant return to Europe’s top table with die Schwarzgelben got people talking:

Marco Reus, of course, finished the job in second-half stoppage time after Sancho had come off with an apparent hamstring injury. However, the forward seemed in positive spirits as he walked around the pitch to the tunnel, applauding supporters with a smile on his face. Hopefully, it’s just a precaution and not something that will halt Sancho’s resurgence just as it was getting started.

3 more things you might have missed from Wednesday’s UCL action

1. Inter blow two-goal lead to crash out

After going 1-0 up on the night and 2-0 up on aggregate in the 33rd minute, Inter supporters will have felt the job was almost done in sealing their place in the quarter-finals. After all, this is a side that had won their previous 13 games across all competitions ahead of Wednesday, keeping a clean sheet in nine of those matches.

However, Simone Inzaghi’s men were simply unable to cope with the onslaught that followed from Atletico Madrid who, inspired by a raucous home crowd, quickly halved the deficit through Griezmann, before leaving it late to find Depay’s equaliser.

But it was in the penalty shootout where the biggest disaster struck, with Inter missing three of their five attempts to lose 3-2. The final spot-kick from top scorer Lautaro Martinez truly summed up their night in Madrid, with the Argentine striker blazing high and wide when he really had no other choice but to score.

Of course, Inter are on the march to a Serie A title, so they have plenty to look forward to. For Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, their faltering season remains just about alive.

2. Griezmann continues UCL heroics

If there’s one man Atletico Madrid have been able to turn to in the Champions League over the years, it’s Antoine Griezmann. The France international, of course, put his side straight back into the game just two minutes after Dimarco delivered a gut punch at the Metropolitano.

That was Griezmann’s sixth Champions League goal so far this season, drawing him level with Harry Kane, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe at the top of the standings. That’s some Golden Boot race.

In fact, this is now the joint-third-best individual goalscoring season of any Atletico Madrid player in the Champions League. Griezmann draws level with his own effort in 2016/17, one behind his 2015/16 return and just two adrift of Diego Costa in 2013/14.

Griezmann just loves the Champions League.

3. Champions League quarter-final line-up complete

The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals is due to take place this Friday, with the eight-team line-up now complete. Still going strong are the likes of holders Manchester City, record winners Real Madrid and German powerhouses Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Completing the last eight are Arsenal, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.