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Champions League: Of Chelsea's resurrection, Tottenham's ouster and more

Here’s a look at the quarterfinalists so far

Kai-Havertz-afp Chelsea's German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) is mobbed by teammates after scoring the team's second goal from the penalty spot during the Champions League round of 16 second-leg match against Borrusia Dortmund in London | AFP

With the Champions League entering its business end, the matches are becoming competitive and entertaining.

With Chelsea resurrecting themselves from a first-leg loss to Dortmund, Bayern raining fire on PSG’s UCL dreams, Tottenham subdued in a goalless second leg AC Milan draw and Benfica obliterating Club Brugge, football fanatics have been going through a rollercoaster of emotions.

With four more games lined up, including a mouth-watering Liverpool-Real Madrid clash, next week promises a lot more. Here’s a look at the quarterfinalists so far:

Chelsea vs Dortmund

The severely criticised Chelsea boss Graham Potter, who has now won two consecutive matches for the first time in 2023, had never competed in Europe's elite competition before moving to Stamford Bridge this season.

But, on Tuesday, his side overturned a 1-0 first-leg setback to knock out Dortmund with a 2-0 victory, ending the German club's 10-game winning run.

Kai Havertz’s twice-taken penalty secured a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge to ease the pressure on Potter and spark celebrations throughout the stadium - a rarity during such a strained campaign.

The west London club ended its six-game winless streak, with a victory against Leeds on Saturday, but the pressure was still on the manager given how the season has unravelled for the bridge boys.

The Champions League is Chelsea’s last chance for a silverware and probably the only path back into next season’s competition for the two-time European champions, who are currently 10th in the Premier League standings.

Bayern vs PSG

Bayern Munich are through to the quarterfinals after a well-fought victory over Paris Saint-Germain, and have put themselves in a position to go the full distance.

The Bayern Munich defence were on top of things. Alphonso Davies was instrumental to Bayern’s defensive structure, pinning Achraf Hakimi deep with his advanced positions, and letting Matthijs de Ligt surge forward. Davies was spectacular running down the left, linked up with Jamal Musiala, and was even better tracking back to stop attacks time and time again. He also made a couple of crucial blocks as well as the goal and a game-saving block on Lionel Messi. Davies has been in unstoppable form in 2023.

The visitors enjoyed the best chance of the first half, with Vitinha dispossessing Yann Sommer inside the box before striking his shot towards an open net – but de Ligt slid in brilliantly to divert his effort off the line.

The Parisians struggled to create thereafter, with Kylian Mbappe almost unseen for most of the proceedings.

And the home side deservedly broke the tie right after the hour mark, with Eric Chupo-Moting putting it into an empty net after Marco Verratti's slip.

Bayern scored another in stoppage time, as Serge Gnabry completed a classy counter-attack to run PSG out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage, triumphing 2-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate.

AC Milan vs Tottenham

AC Milan gained a spot in the Champions League quarterfinals after holding off an uninspiring Tottenham at bay to go through 1-0 on aggregate following a goalless draw in the round-of-16 second leg at Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

Despite the Baltic conditions of London mixed with the raging atmosphere of the 60,000 Tottenham fans, Milan managed to stem the dreaded comeback that could have occurred.

Clinging on to a one-goal lead from the first leg in Italy, Tottenham offered little to suggest they could turn the tide around, despite having manager Antonio Conte back on the sideline after his recovery from gallbladder surgery.

Spurs have now been unable to score in their last three games, losing two, in which they have been bundled out of the FA Cup and Champions League as well as seeing their Premier League top-four dreams crushed.

Milan, who are in a similar battle to make it back to the Champions league next season, have reached the last eight of Europe's premier competition for the first time since 2011-12.

The home fans' anger was evident when Conte was booed for replacing Dejan Kulusevski with defender Davinson Sanchez as time ran out.

There was last-minute drama way into the second-half stoppage time when a Harry Kane header forced a spectacular save from Maignan before substitute Divock Origi struck a breakaway effort against the post at the other end.

Benfica vs Club Brugge

Benfica thrashed Club Brugge 5-1 to rise to the Champions League quarterfinals with a 7-1 aggregate as Goncalo Ramos scored twice.

Rafa Silva took the lead in the 38th minute, dribbling past two defenders and smashing it in with a left-foot strike into the net. Ramos scored before and after the break.

Joao Mario added to their lead with a penalty in the 71st minute and substitute David Neres netted the fifth six minutes later.

Bjorn Meijer scored a late consolation for Brugge, who have now lost 10 games out of the 12 they have played.

Benfica, holding a two-goal lead from the first leg, were in control from the start and hammered Scott Parker’s side by the end of it.

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