The group stage of the UEFA Champions League 2021-2022 season ended on Wednesday (December 8). A total of 16 teams have advanced to the first knockout round in the most prestigious club football competition in Europe. The ongoing competition's Round of 16 will take place in February 2022. The Champions League's group stage featured a significant number of thrilling matches. Let's take a look at the five best matches from the group stage of the Champions League 2021-2022.
Five Best Matches in Group Stage: UEFA Champions League 2021-2022
Manchester City and PSG from group 1, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid from group B, Ajax and Sporting CP from group C, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan from group D, Bayern Munich, and Benfica from group E, Manchester United and Villarreal/Atalanta from group F, Lille and Red Bull Salzburg from group G, and Juventus and Chelsea from group H are the qualified teams for the Champions League Round of 16. Here are the best five matches in the Champions League 2021-2022 group stage.
5. Young Boys 2-1 Manchester United
On the 14th of September, Young Boys hosted one of Europe's elite clubs Manchester United in their first match of the Champions League group stage. Manchester United were the bookies favorites going into the match, but the host shocked the Red Devils with a 2-1 victory in their own backyard. United's summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the 13th minute, but Ngamaleu's strike in the 66th minute leveled the score. The game appeared to be heading for a draw until Pefok stunned the visitors in the fifth minute of injury time. Young Boys won a fantastic match against Manchester United thanks to his goal.
4. Real Madrid 1-2 Sheriff Tiraspol
Sheriff Tiraspol surprised Real Madrid in their second group stage encounter at home. The most successful team in the UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid were not expecting to lose a point in this tie. Los Blancos were aiming to keep their winning streak going against an infamous Moldovan football team. However, Madrid were baffled when Sheriff took the lead in the 25th minute of the game. Experienced forward Karim Benzema did equalize on a penalty kick in the 65th minute, but Sebastien Thill stunned the Madrid fans by scoring the game-winning goal in the 90th minute.
3. Porto 1-3 Atletico Madrid
Both teams needed to win this match in order to progress to the knockout round. Atletico Madrid were in fourth place prior to this match, while Porto and AC Milan were in second and third place, respectively. Atletico Madrid hosted Porto and AC Milan welcomed Liverpool in their final group stage matches. If Porto had defeated Atletico, they would have advanced to the Round of 16. However, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone used a simple approach in this encounter and won 3-1 against Porto. They played defensively after Griezmann scored in the 56th minute. Later, Correa and De Paul scored two more goals for the Madrid side in injury time. Oliveira of Porto did score in the 96th minute. With this win, Atletico Madrid qualified for the Round of 16 of the Champions League. Even if Milan had beaten Liverpool at home, they would have advanced.
2. Sporting CP 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
Sporting CP and Borussia Dortmund were vying for second place in Group C, with Ajax being already qualified for the Round of 16. Therefore, the encounter between Sporting CP and Borussia Dortmund on November 24th was crucial for both teams. Sporting CP moved up to second place after a 3-1 win against Borussia Dortmund. Despite losing 4-2 against Ajax in the last group stage match, Sporting CP have advanced to the first knockout round. On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund will compete in the Europa League.
1. Barcelona 0-0 Benfica
Barcelona have failed to qualify for the Champions League knockout phase for the first time in 17 years. Barcelona's current team has struggled to compete at the highest level, and they now sit in the seventh position in the La Liga standings. Barcelona needed to beat Benfica in their fifth match in the group stage. However, despite their best efforts, Barcelona were unable to defeat Benfica at Camp Nou. They were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw with the Portuguese side. Benfica advanced to the Round of 16 following a 2-0 win against Dynamo Kyiv. On the other side, Barcelona were eliminated from the Champions League 2021-2022 season after a humiliating 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich.
The Champions League 2021-2022 season's group stage matches featured several nail-biting contests. The outcomes of those games determined the fates of the teams involved. All of them were heavily contested, with the winning side barely deserving of the victory. Hopefully, the Round of 16 would provide more intriguing encounters in the ongoing Champions League.