Our latest loan round-up includes standout performances from two Blues in the Champions League this past midweek.
Two of our loanees enjoyed memorable nights in the Champions League as Europe’s premier club competition resumed for the knockout stages. Ethan Ampadu (pictured above) was handed a rare start by RB Leipzig for their trip to Tottenham Hotspur and the young Welshman produced an outstanding display to help his side keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory.
On the same night, Mario Pasalic was at the heart of Atalanta’s stunning 4-1 win over Valencia, who we met in the group stage, in the first leg of their maiden Champions League last-16 tie, as the Croatian midfielder provided assists for two goals and almost scored one himself at the San Siro.
Another of our loanees in Italy was involved in a midweek European victory, as Victor Moses started Inter’s 2-0 win at Ludogorets in the Europa League. But there was no weekend Serie A action for Atalanta or Inter as they were among the four fixtures postponed over fears of the spread of coronavirus.
Getafe were also victorious in the Europa League last 32 and it was another of our group-stage opponents on the receiving end. Ajax, who finished third in Group H and dropped into the secondary European competition, lost the first leg in Spain and our on-loan Brazilian winger Kenedy came off the bench to score what could prove to be a crucial goal as he netted in stoppage time to make it 2-0. He was a substitute again in La Liga on Sunday night, coming on with his side 2-0 down in an eventual 3-0 loss at home to Sevilla.
Elsewhere around Europe, Tiemoue Bakayoko started Monaco’s 1-1 draw at Dijon which meant they lost ground in the race to earn a Champions League qualification spot in France’s Ligue 1, while Lucas Piazon played the first 45 minutes as Rio Ave won at Tondela in the Portuguese top flight, a result which leaves them fifth.
In the Dutch second tier, Ike Ugbo and Roda JC slipped to a third straight defeat, this time to an SC Cambuur side for whom George McEachran made his second sub appearance for the league leaders. Juan Castillo provided an assist for Ajax Under-21s in their 2-0 win at Helmond Sport which keeps them third.
Charlie Brown’s first start for Union Saint-Gilloise in the Belgian second division came in a thrilling 5-3 win at Leuven, although his side looked on course for a comfortable afternoon as they were leading 3-1 when he was withdrawn after 58 minutes.
There was also a victory for Nathan and Atletico Mineiro in the Copa Sudamericana, although ultimately it was in a losing cause as their 2-0 triumph at home to Union meant they exited the competition in the first round 3-2 on aggregate.
Around the UK
Swansea City moved within five points of the Championship play-off places with a 3-1 victory over Huddersfield Town, with Conor Gallagher setting up their third goal in stoppage time to put the seal on the win. Marc Guehi didn’t feature for the Swans, though, and Trevoh Chalobah was an unused sub for the visitors.
Jake Clarke-Salter played 77 minutes of Birmingham City’s 3-3 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday, although it’s a result which suited neither of these mid-table Championship sides with play-off aspirations.
In League One, Jamal Blackman and Bristol Rovers looked on course to frustrate in-form Sunderland until a second-half sending off was followed by a glut of late goals which condemned them to a 3-0 defeat.
Josh Grant’s 30th appearance of the season for League Two Plymouth ended prematurely as he was withdrawn during the first half of their 1-1 draw with Macclesfield in midweek. Pilgrims boss Ryan Lowe is confident the calf injury won’t prove too severe, saying, ‘We are hoping it’s not a long-term thing, just a little bit of a niggle that needs to settle down.’