Champions League: are these the games of the season?

Crvena zvezda beat Liverpool, Ajax eliminated Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo defied Atlético: were there better matches?

Cristiano Ronaldo after hitting his round of 16 treble
Cristiano Ronaldo after hitting his round of 16 treble ©UEFA.com

The UEFA Champions League is the greatest club competition in world football; no other tournament has the names or the games to match.

As we look forward to the final in Madrid, UEFA.com has made its selection of the most arresting of the 125 fixtures since the start of the group stage; watch and marvel.

Manchester City 1-2 Lyon
18/09/18, group stage matchday one

Highlights: Man City 1-2 Lyon
Highlights: Man City 1-2 Lyon

"Enormous" was the headline in local paper Le Progrès after this shock result; no French side had won a game at City, and – having made a shaky start in Ligue 1 – Lyon didn't look likely to be the first. However, Maxwel Cornet and Nabil Fekir put them 2-0 up at the break, and Memphis Depay then struck the post on the hour before Josep Guardiola's team fought back but fell short.

Must-see moment: The near-silence that greets Fekir's well-struck second.

Liverpool 3-2 Paris
18/09/18, group stage matchday one

Highlights: Liverpool 3-2 Paris
Highlights: Liverpool 3-2 Paris

"When you hear Liverpool are playing PSG, you don't think Liverpool don't stand a chance any more," concluded Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp. "That wasn't the case two or three years ago." The 2018 finalists took a 2-0 lead against Paris, but looked set for disappointment when Kylian Mbappé levelled with eight minutes to go. Roberto Firmino, though, secured all three points with an added-time finish.

Must-see moment: Thomas Meunier's half-volley for Paris's first.

Crvena zvezda 2-0 Liverpool
06/11/18, group stage matchday four

Highlights: Crvena zvezda 2-0 Liverpool
Highlights: Crvena zvezda 2-0 Liverpool

No Serbian side had ever won a group game when the Reds (dressed all in purple) came to Belgrade, but Milan Pavkov made his name as history was made, the big striker heading Crvena zvezda's first and hitting the second from distance. Immense fortitude then clinched his team the points. "My players played with their whole hearts and with every atom of strength they have," coach Vladan Milojević summarised.

Must-see moment: The reaction of the crowd as Pavkov's second goes in.

Ajax 3-3 Bayern
12/12/18, group stage matchday six

Highlights: Ajax 3-3 Bayern
Highlights: Ajax 3-3 Bayern

Süddeutsche Zeitung described this one as "cardiac arrhythmia in Amsterdam", a measure of the amount of twists that were crammed into the last 30 minutes. After Ajax cancelled out an early Robert Lewandowski goal, both sides had players sent off and then both converted penalties. Kingsley Coman (90) fired Bayern 3-2 in front yet there was still time for Nicolás Tagliafico to level before full time.

Must-see moment: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's ice-cool pass for Tagliafico's goal.

Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax
05/03/19, round of 16 second leg

Highlights: Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax
Highlights: Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax

The longest title defence in UEFA Champions League history came to an end with the joint heaviest home defeat in Real Madrid's proud European history. Ajax were 2-1 down from the first leg, but led 2-0 within 20 minutes in Madrid and the holders never recovered. "This was pretty close to perfection," concluded visiting coach Erik ten Hag.

Must-see moment: Dušan Tadić's finish for Ajax's third.

Paris 1-3 Manchester United
06/03/19, round of 16 second leg

Highlights: Paris 1-3 Man. United
Highlights: Paris 1-3 Man. United

New boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær's magic appeared to have worn off when United lost 2-0 in the first leg at Old Trafford. No team had ever retrieved a 2-0 deficit away in a UEFA Champions League tie, but the Reds managed it, Marcus Rashford's stoppage-time penalty propelling United through. "This is how we do things at Manchester United," beamed Solskjær.

Must-see moment: The blunder that gifts Romelu Lukaku his second goal.

Juventus 3-0 Atlético
12/06/19, round of 16 second leg

Highlights: Juventus 3-0 Atlético
Highlights: Juventus 3-0 Atlético

Wonders became oddly commonplace in this season's last 16, Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick to overturn Atlético's 2-0 cushion from the first leg comprising two headed finishes and a penalty conversion. Informed in the post-match press conference that this was the biggest European comeback in Juventus's history, Ronaldo replied cheekily: "Maybe that's why they signed me."

Must-see moment: The way Ronaldo hangs in the air to score Juve's first.

Manchester City 4-3 Tottenham
17/04/19, quarter-final second leg

Highlights: Manchester City 4-3 Tottenham
Highlights: Manchester City 4-3 Tottenham

"My players are heroes," coach Mauricio Pochettino said after this heroic defeat sealed an away-goals success for beleaguered Spurs, who lost top scorer Harry Kane to a first-leg injury. City led 1-0, then trailed 2-1 after Heung-Min Son struck twice. The hosts got back to 4-2 up, before a scrambled Fernando Llorente goal – and a last-gasp VAR decision – turned the tie in Tottenham's favour.

Must-see moment: Son's fine second, one of five goals in the first 21 minutes.

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
07/05/19, semi-final second leg

Highlights: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
Highlights: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona

"Because it's you," Jürgen Klopp had told his team, they were in with a chance. Divock Origi, only starting in the absence of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, scored early and late, substitute Georginio Wijnaldum finding the net twice in double-quick time after the interval. There were heroes everywhere you looked, not least the Anfield crowd who had once again witnessed something extraordinary.

Must-see moment: Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick thinking for the fourth Liverpool goal.

Ajax 2-3 Tottenham
08/05/19, semi-final second leg

Highlights: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham
Highlights: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham

Tottenham reached their first ever European Cup final in dramatic fashion. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, they were three down on aggregate at half-time in the Amsterdam return following goals from Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech. Then came a comeback to rival that at Anfield the previous night, Lucas Moura scoring a second-half hat-trick which was completed in the sixth minute of added time.

Must-see moment: Lucas Moura's winning goal and phenomenal celebrations in a quietened stadium.

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