Champions League action has started to heat up as of late. Two of the most recent games had very interesting storylines.
Real Madrid 3-0 Wolfsburg: A hat trick by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was enough to send Madrid through with flying colors into the semi-finals of the Champions League. Ronaldo’s heroics in the second leg cancelled out a two goal first leg aggregate, avoiding a colossal upset for Los Blancos.
Coming into this match, Wolfsburg managed to pull out an upset 2-0 home win against the Spanish giants in Germany. On paper, Real Madrid is clearly the stronger team, and they expected to win both legs without much resistance. While Wolfsburg doesn’t have the same star power and recognition that Real has, they still managed to shut the Spaniards out while adding a two goal aggregate advantage. Even with this deficit, Real Madrid knew they would have the advantage playing at home at the Santiago Bernabeu in front of their own fans.
Real began their comeback early on in the first half when Ronaldo put a point-blank shot past the helpless Wolfsburg goalkeeper. Madrid winger Jese whipped in a dangerous cross that bounced past Wolfsburg centerbacks Dante and Naldo to the unmarked Ronaldo, who made no mistake from there. In the 17th minute, Ronaldo added to his tally by scoring off a corner kick. The Portuguese international headed home to cancel out the two-goal first leg deficit. Finally, Ronaldo secured the victory and his hat trick when he converted off of a free-kick in the 77th minute, sending the Bernabeu into pandemonium.
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Barcelona: A brace from French starlet Antoine Griezmann led Atletico Madrid to a monumental upset at home against Barcelona. Despite losing 2-1 to Barcelona in the first leg through due to controversial circumstances, Atletico managed to pull through and reach the semi-finals.
During the first leg, Barcelona defeated Atletico at the Camp Nou but gave away one goal, leaving their lead on shaky ground. Atleticp was poised to win after an early goal from former Liverpool and Chelsea forward Fernando Torres, but he received a red card in the first half to leave his team at a disadvantage. Controversial Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez would add two goals to secure the win for the Catalonian-based side.
Starting the match off in the Vicente Calderon, Atletico got on the scoresheet midway through the first half. Griezmann converted a powerful header off a cross to leave Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen with no chance, tying the aggregate and giving Atletico the advantage combined with the away goal from the first leg. The game went all the way to the last minute, with both sides having multiple chances throughout. Atletico secured their progression to the next round when Griezmann converted a penalty in the 87th minute, shocking the reigning Champions League winners.