The Nigerian-born duo helped their club make history
15 teams are through to the knockout stages of the 2021/2022 Champions League campaign after three more teams were confirmed on Wednesday night.
Salzburg, inspired by two Nigerian-born youngsters, LOSC Lille and Benfica have all joined the round of 16 party while Villarreal and Atalanta will battle for the final ticket later on Thursday.
Wednesday’s matches failed to produce as much excitement as Tuesday’s, with just 19 goals from seven matches, an average of 2.71 goals per game compared to 3.75 on Tuesday.
But here are three talking points from another wonderful night in the Champions League.
Adeyemi, Okafor help Salzburg make history
RB Salzburg made history on Wednesday night after they defeated Sevilla 1-0 to book a place in the round of 16 courtesy of their Nigerian-born duo of Karim Adeyemi and Noah Okafor.
Adeyemi and Okafor combined effectively to score the only and winning goal as Salzburg became the first Austrian to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
After a goalless opening half, the goal finally arrived five into the second half as Adeyemi found his compatriot, Okafor, who finished well to put Salzburg ahead.
The goal was the third in four starts in the Champions League this season for the 21-year-old Die Mannschaft star, who recently returned from injury.
“The last two, three weeks were not easy for us; we missed lots of chances, but that’s football,” match winner, Okafor, said moments after the game.
“It’s important that we stick together as a team and fight for every ball, and that’s what we did today.”
“I really don’t care about our opponent in the round of 16; right now, I just want to enjoy the moment with the team,” he added.
A visibly elated Adeyemi also had a lot to say after the win, with the 19-year-old describing the moment as “overwhelming”.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” the German international said.
“We have made history. We played six good group games and today we were rewarded. We are just overwhelmed.“
Sevilla dominated most of the tie but were unable to turn that dominance into a goal or more as their hosts defended obdurately and assuredly.
Salzburg held all for the important win and three points which saw them become the first side from Austria to make it through to the round of 16.
Bayern Munich humiliate Barcelona, send La Liga to Europa League
German champions Bayern Munich were just too good for Barcelona after a 3-0 win at the Allianz Arena.
Thomas Muller kept to his words as he headed in a Robert Lewandowski cross to put Bayern 1-0 up in blistering opening half.
It was Muller’s eighth goal against Barca, an historic one as he became the eighth player to score 50 or more goals in the competition.
A wonder strike from Leroy Sane doubled their advantage two minutes before halftime as Barcelona looked down and out at the break.
Youngster, Jamaal Musiala ensures the rout was completed when he added a third just after the hour mark as the Bavarians held on for another win over Barcelona.
As a result, Xavi Hernandez’s Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League after failing to make the knockout stages for the first time in 20 years.
Bayern, who were through as group winners, became the latest team to complete a perfect run in the group stages, making it six wins in six for the second time in their history.
The Bavarians are joined in the round of 16 by the Portuguese side, Benfica, who expectedly defeated winless Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 in the other match in Group E.
Three teams qualify for the knockout round
After Atletico Madrid picked up ticket on Tuesday, three more teams have joined the elites after the matches on Wednesday.
The trio of LOSC Lille, Salzburg and Benfica have all booked their spots to bring the total number of qualified teams to 15, with just one spot left to fill.
Lille defeated Wolfsburg 1-3 in Germany to emerge Group G winners and seal their spot for the second time ever in their history.
The Ligue 1 champions will be one of the eight seeded teams in the next round.
That spot will be taken by Villarreal or Italian side, Atalanta, after their game on Thursday evening.
Both teams were expected to play on Wednesday night but the game was moved after a heavy downpour of snow at the Atalanta stadium.
The draw for the knockout stages will take place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday 13 December. The ceremony begins at 12 noon Nigerian time.