Sergiño Dest is set for another spell on the sidelines after he was injured in Barcelona’s win in Turkey, while James Sands earned substitute minutes for Rangers as they also reached the quarterfinal.
Galatasaray 1 – 2 Barcelona (agg. 1-2)
Sergiño Dest was in Barcelona’s starting lineup for their tough away leg at Galatasaray’s Nef Stadium, and put in a tidy performance before coming off early into the second half with an apparent hamstring injury.
During his 56 minutes on the field, Dest had 46 total touches from his position on the right side of the defense, completing 90% of his 31 passes, and winning 7 of 11 duels against opposing players.
After the first leg in Camp Nou ended scoreless, the Blaugrana were faced with a tough, albeit manageable task to take the win in Turkey, and seal their place in the final eight of the competition.
The hosts did give the raucous home crowd hope of beating the giants, jumping to the lead shortly before the half-hour mark. After Ryan Babel earned a corner, Alexandru Cicaldau’s delivery from the right side was headed in by defender Marcao for the early 1-0 lead.
This didn’t even last for ten minutes, as Barcelona got to work and equalized in the 37th minute thanks to a subtly brilliant play by Pedri. Ferran Torres slipped a ball to the 19 year-old star in the center of the area. Instead of rushing an immediate shot, Pedri successively fooled two Galatasaray defenders into making unsuccessful diving attempts to clear the ball with a clever stutter-step, before slotting his right-footed shot from eight yards out to the left side of goal.
Sensing his team’s chance to assert their dominance, Barcelona head coach Xavi made a halftime switch, bringing Ousman Dembélé onto the field in place of Adama Traoré to add a bit of fire to the attack.
Four minutes after the restart, the team struck again. A shot by Sergio Busquets from the edge of the area was smartly saved by Galatasaray keeper Inaki Pena, however fell directly to Frenkie de Jong inside the six-yard box. The Dutchman headed it toward the center of goal, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was waiting a couple yards out to easily redirect it over the line for the lead.
In the 55th minute, Dest made a fine defensive play to stop Kerem Akturkoglu’s charge towards the Barcelona goal. While he was successful in snuffing out the chance, he remained on the turn in visible pain for several minutes, eventually limping off the field with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
The hosts kept up the fight for the remainder of the game, however were unable to overpower Barcelona despite several close chances, with the Catalonians finally advancing with the aggregate 2-1 scoreline.
Barcelona will find out their quarterfinal opponent with tomorrow’s draw, however the real highlight of the weekend will be the next edition of El Clásico on Sunday evening against runaway La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Red Star Belgrade 2 – 1 Rangers (agg. 2-4)
James Sands continued his recent run of play for Rangers, coming onto the field in the road leg against Red Star Belgrade, where a narrow loss still saw Rangers safely through to the quarterfinal.
Ranger were sitting on a 3-0 advantage from the home leg in Glasgow, and almost immediately saw their lead narrowed with the hosts scoring in the tenth minute. Guelor Kanga sent a long cross through the area to Mirko Ivanic at the far post, who controlled the ball with his chest before putting away his shot for to put cut the gap to two goals.
The visitors prevented any further damage through the remainder of the half, and put themselves back into pole position in the 56th minute, with Ryan Kent finishing a one-two with Glen Kamara, then charging ahead to put away a deflected shot to the lower right corner.
Sands was called into action with 21 minutes left in regulation in place of central midfielder Ryan Jack, and was confined to more of a lock-down role, having 11 total touches in his 20-plus minutes of play.
The hosts did pull another back three minutes into injury time, this time with El Fardou Ben Nabouhane striking from the spot after Kamara clumsily stepped onto substitute Filippo Falco’s foot, however it hardly made any dent, with Rangers cruising to the aggregate 4-2 win.
They will find out their quarterfinal opponent on Friday, then will visit FC Dundee on Sunday in the last Scottish Premiership action before the international break.
Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig are already through to the quarterfinals due to the forced forfeiture of their Russian opponents Spartak Moscow.
Tim Chandler didn’t make it off of Frankfurt’s bench as they saved it for late, eliminating Real Betis thanks to a last-second goal in the final moments before a penalty shootout that wasn’t to be.
American-owned Atalanta progressed to the quarterfinal thanks to a narrow 1-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen, that gave them a solid 4-2 aggregate victory.
In the Europa Conference League, Konrad de la Fuente stayed on Olympique Marseille’s bench for the duration as their 2-1 win over Basel saw them through to the final eight on a 4-2 aggregate, while Richard Ledezma had the same fate for PSV Eindhoven in their 4-0 demolishment of Copenhagen that sealed a 8-4 aggregate win. Cole Bassett is not included in Feyenoord’s European roster, and will not take part in their campaign.