Joining the growing cast list in the round of sixteen were Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Juventus in contrasting fashion. Zlatan Ibrahimović marked his return to Malmö with a goal as his team sported the "Je Suis Paris" words in an act of solidarity in a bludgeoning of the Swedes. It was a double take for Griezmann and Galatasaray while Juventus once again got the better of Manchester City.
With just one matchweek left to go after the dust had settled, it was a time to lay down a significant marker. We'll run down all the action across the continent in our comprehensive roundup.
Real Madrid's defensive frailties almost, but wouldn't come back to haunt them as their four goals against Shakhtar Donetsk withstood a late Ukranian comeback and helped Los Blancos get back on track. Cristiano Ronaldo seized the advantage on some shabby defending from Shakhtar inside eighteen minutes, with the Portugese sensation heading into an empty net after Pyatov came rushing off his line. After half-time Los Blancos still had it all to do in order to brush aside their Ukranian counterparts who cultivated a strong defensive performance to hold out Madrid's domination while making a good shout for themselves late in the half.
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There were also plenty of goals to be seen as Zlatan Ibrahimović was triumphant with Paris Saint-Germain on his return to the very club he played for, While the muted celebration from the striker did show his appreciation for Malmö, there would be no affection on the scoreline as the French went on to batter their opposition with a five-goal trouncing.
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Juve jump ahead of City
Mario Mandžukić's first half goal was the difference as Juventus jumped in front of Manchester City for top spot in the group in front of a lively attendance in Turin, Italy. The Croatian striker finding the target was an instance of which stood tall in a game sparse of big moments. Raheem Sterling was to rue a chance where he shot wide with the goal gaping, ending up costing them when Juve hit back as Pogba set up Sandro to cross towards Mandzukic, beating Otamendi and powerfully directing it past Hart.
For their cross-city rivals, Manchester United, they would also draw a blank, but luckily enough so did a resolute PSV as the Red Devils failed to impress again at Old Trafford. Lingard missed a second half chance as the Dutch's counter remained something to be wary of. Full match report
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Atlético Madrid also secured their own qualification for the next stage of the tournament as Antoine Griezmann was the thorn in the side for Galatasaray with a brace lifting his side past the Turks. Almost a replica of the Frenchman's double which ended in the same result, Gabi helped him on to an easy header for the first goal before tapping it in after the hour mark to wrap it up on a relatively easy night at the Vicente Calderon.
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Borussia Mönchengladbach themselves raised a few eyebrows with their great performance to dispatch Sevilla and thwart the reigning Europa League champions of continuing their run in Europe's bigger tournament. Sevilla's efforts were too little too late to combat a lead by the Germans which all started from Stindl, and ended with it too. Johnson and Rafael also transcended to newer heights meaning that Vitolo and Banega's goal would do little to shift the momentum.
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Astana's run in the Champions League came to an end as they let a two-goal lead slip to a courageous Benfica performance in a very early kick-off far out in eastern Europe. With the Kazakhs very first attempt on target, they took the lead through Patrick Twumasi as the Ghanian got on the end of Kabananga's cross from the left. Things would improve from there on, with Marin Aničić making it a dream double after thirty minutes, knocking Foxi Kéthévoama's straight into the net.
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Wonderful Wolfsburg dump out Moscow
Wolfsburg sent CSKA Moscow crashing out of the Champions League a couple hours later as André Schürrle was the catalyst forcing an Akinfeev own-goal and doubling the Germans' lead in Russia. The own goal would come after a lengthy 67 minute wait when the winger's attempt deflected off keeper Akinfeev's arm which really made CSKA's heads drop, before an 88th minute simple side-footed finish all but secured the points and movement on to the knockout stages.
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With the dust quickly settling on a rather chaotic and goal-filled matchweek five, the knockouts are falling into place, although work is to be done for a number of clubs to join the growing queue.
Paris Saint-Germain were the biggest winners on the night and joined Real Madrid in making a big statement to respond to the thrashings orchestrated from Bayern Munich and Barcelona the night prior. Of course, Rafael Benítez will be thrilled with a win which they put four goals past Donetsk, a club who seemed to lose all their venom this season, but there are still lurking problems after they almost let the lead slip with a late, three-goal conceding.
Zlatan Ibrahimović's successful homecoming to Malmo will join the list of good stories from Europe's elite club competition, and a defiant stand of "Je Suis Paris" sported on the kits was worn with pride. The Parisiens will still be playing catchup with the top dogs in the continent, but their bludgeoning of the Swedes is yet another step in a very promising direction.