The UEFA Champions League Semi Final stage took shape last week on Wednesday as Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund were eliminated by Juventus and AS Monaco respectively. Both sides will feature against each other in the second Semi Final with Monaco playing the first leg at home. An all-Spanish Semi Final would be the first one, as the Madrid rivals take on each other. Real Madrid saw themselves through with a controversial second leg win in Spain over Bayern Munich. Leicester city, playing in the competition for the first time saw themselves knocked out by the experienced Atletico Madrid.
Juventus denied Barcelona as they were hoping for a comeback just like they did against Paris Saint-Germain. However, they were unable to overturn a three goal deficit this time, all conceded at the Turin in the first half. The second leg ended 0-0 as Juventus advanced with an aggregate score of 3-0.
AS Monaco who have scored goals more than any other team in Europe this season went through beating Dortmund comprehensively. The aggregate score after both legs was 6-3. Radamel Falcao, Kylian Mbape and Valare Germain all scored in the second leg as Monaco won the match 3-1.
A day before on Tuesday night Bayern Munich were trailing from the first leg conceding 2 away goals against Real Madrid. The return leg in Spain saw the Spanish giants go through as they beat the German giants 4-2. The result was quiet controversial. Arturo Vidal was shown a red card for a tackle which clearly showed him winning the ball. Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals from an offside position which were not disallowed.
Leicester City was the only team representing England in the last eight of the competition. Antoine Griezman scored from the spot in the first leg to finish the game 1-0 at Estadio Vicente Calderon. The foxes were unable to repeat the performance shown against Sevilla FC in the return leg of the last 16. Atletico took a first half lead at the King Power stadium as Saul Niguez had put the visitors ahead with a crucial away goal. The game saw an equalizer with Jamie Vardy leveling it on the night, but was not enough to deny an all-Spanish semi final.
Semi Final 1 (Real Madrid Vs Atletico Madrid)
Diego Simione’s men would be hoping for a revenge against their rivals for their defeat in the Final last season. Real Madrid won the game 5-3 on penalty shootout as the score line was 1-1 at the end of extra time. Real’s defeat against Barcelona in the El Classico on Sunday night has certainly piled up the pressure in the buildup of this fixture. Real has one game in hand with the same points as Barcelona in the league.
Atletico is a hardworking team who have always competed toe to toe against Real Madrid. They would surely be hoping create a game plan to find the edge this time around over their rivals. Atletico have lost two finals against their rivals in the recent seasons. Real Madrid, a very determined side under the great Zine dine Zidane. The squad is full of quality and will be relying on their class players to nick it again. First leg is to be played on 2nd of May at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Semi Final 2 (AS Monaco Vs Juventus)
The winner of second semi final will be considered as the home side in the final, to be held in Cardiff city.
This fixture is regarded to be the much exciting one considering the return of AS Monaco in the semi final stage for over 12 years. It is a repeat of 1997-1998 season when both sides played in the semi finals. The young, fast and free scoring Monaco will be up against a solid Juventus side who are well drilled this season under Massimiliano Allegri. Juventus have shown their strength and experience defending against Barcelona. They did not concede a single goal for 180 minutes in the quarter finals.
Individual talents possessing threats going forward when they are on the ball with the effective team work of the ball might be the key for AS Monaco. Juventus is also a force going forward with Mandzukic and Cuadrado providing the width on the counter attacks. Stopping Dybala and Huguain through the middle will not be an easy task as well for the French side.
Monaco will have to organize their defensive shape if they would want an edge over the Italians. Juventus has an upper hand in that aspect of the game with their 39 year old veteran captain and goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon. He is still on top of his game seeking for what would be his first ever champions league winners medal.