Ten-man Manchester City stage a remarkable comeback to beat FC Schalke in Gelsenkirchen, and Atlético Madrid stun Juventus at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
A blinding array of zeroes dominated the Champions League headlines on Tuesday night, and VAR took over on Wednesday night.
“We are still not ready to fight for the latter stages, that is reality, but the result is good.”
Those are the words of Pep Guardiola after his Manchester City side escaped from Gelsenkirchen with a 3-2 victory after coming back from 2-1 down, and a man light.
With Schalke lying 14th in the Bundesliga; a mere eight points separating them from the relegation zone, and City winning 12 of their last 13 matches – this should have been a foregone conclusion.
Sergio Agüero had read the script, scoring from close range in the 18th minute after David Silva robbed a defender in the box to set up the Argentine, but then it went a tad, Pete Tong.
With 36-minutes on the clock, Daniel Caligiuri fired a rocket towards the Man City goal only to see his effort go out for a corner off the arm of Nicolas Otamendi.
The Schalke players appealed for a penalty, and the VAR team studied the footage for two-minutes before recommending that the on-pitch referee, Carlos de Cerro Grande, should take a look.
The Spaniard tried, but the pitchside VAR monitor malfunctioned leaving the referee no choice but to agree with his VAR team blindly. Grande gave the penalty, booked Otamendi, and Nabil Bentaleb drove it home.
Then just before the two teams headed down the tunnel for a spot of marmite on toast, Ferdandinho fouled Salif Sane inside the box, the ref pointed to the spot after booking the Brazilian, and Bentaleb grabbed his second of the game.
City began the brightest in the second half with Kevin De Bruyne firing a thunderbolt wide of the post, and then on 68-minutes Otamendi saw red when he hauled Guido Burgstaller to the ground just inside the City half.
Then, with only five minutes on the clock, ten-man City began their comeback. Raheem Sterling won a free kick outside the box, and the former Schalke player, Leroy Sané smashed the ball home to equalise.
Then in the last minute of injury time, Ederson found Sterling with a big boot from the back, his marker slipped to the floor, and Sterling dinked it over the keeper to score his 15th goal of the season, and secure the win.
Atlético Madrid 2 v 0 Juventus
Atlético Madrid made it nine consecutive home wins in the Champions League with a comprehensive victory against Juventus.
Juventus bought Ronaldo to win them the Champions League, and it was the Portuguese star who had the first chance of the game when the Atlético keeper tipped a free-kick special over the bar.
Then VAR came to Juventus’s rescue.
Mattia De Siglio fouled Diego Costa outside the box only for the referee to point to the penalty spot when the former Chelsea man delayed his fall until he was inside the penalty area. Then after a word in his shell by the VAR team the ref changed his mind and awarded a free kick.
In the second half, Costa missed a golden opportunity to put Madrid ahead when he put it wide when through on goal, and Griezmann saw his lob tipped onto the bar by Wojciech Szczesny.
Alvaro Morata came off the bench and looked like he had scored the opener with a thunderous header only for the VAR team to disallow it for a push on Giorgio Chiellini.
And then came the breakthrough.
With 78-minutes on the clock, an Atlético corner came in from the left, Morata headed the ball against a Juventus player, and Jose Maria Giménez slammed the ball home.
Madrid deserved more than one.
Madrid got more than one.
Five-minutes after Giménez scored, so did his fellow central defender, Diego Godin, firing home from close range taking a deflection off the back of Ronaldo on its way through.
Here are the results in full.
Results in Full
Roma 2 v 1 Porto
Man Utd 0 v 2 PSG
Spurs 3 v 0 Dortmund
Ajax 1 v 2 Real Madrid
Lyon 0 v 0 Barcelona
Liverpool 0 v 0 Bayern
Atlético Madrid 2 v 0 Juventus
Schalke 2 v 3 Man City
Champions League Winner Odds
Man City 11/4
Real Madrid 9/1
Bayern Munich 10/1
Atlético Madrid 11/1