In a match that meant everything to Manchester United, they came through big time, getting a hat trick from Robin van Persie as they beat Olympiakos 3-0 to erase the two goal deficit from the first match and find themselves in the quarterfinals. Dortmund lost 2-1 at home to Zenit, but it was still enough for them to make it into the last eight as well.
At Old Trafford, Manchester United had to erase that two goal deficit from the first leg in Pireus while their manager, David Moyes, suffered pretty much every possible insult this week about his validaty and capability as manager of a club many say is too big and too difficult for him to handle.
For one night, the energy seemed to be enough to take this humbled side through to heights we’ve been used to see from them. Ryan Giggs can barely move and can’t win a single physical matchup, but his passing and vision are still sublime, providing a huge boost for a team searching some inspiration. After a tense and physical start, Robin van Persie was nudged from behind in the box, winning a penalty kick, and converting it after 25 minutes. Olympiakos played wildly, with no patience, opening themselves up too much, and conceded again just before the halftime whistle. A brilliant Giggs long ball landed at Rooney’s feet, setting up Robin van Persie for his second goal, and putting Manchester United level with their rivals.
It took another Manchester United goal for Olympiakos to wake up: Robin van Persie scored his first Champions League hat trick with a beautiful free kick to make it 3-0, which was the scoreline in the end. David de Gea was also brilliant with a huge double save in the first half and a few more parries in the second to make sure this season is still not labeled a complete disaster.
In Dortmund, there wasn’t much to fight for, although Zenit took advantage of the spreading weakness in Klopp’s side. They didn’t get to too many chances, but Hulk scored one of the most beautiful goals we’ve seen in the competition this season.
The terrible Russian defending allowed Sebastian Kehl to equalize in the 38th minute. José Rondon scored the winner for Zenit in the 73rd minute with a header that the (also) weak Dortmund defense couldn’t handle, but it wasn’t enough to usurp the Germans from their seat to the quarterfinals.