The Champions League was in action this past week. The semifinals proved to be great matchups.
Manchester City v. Real Madrid:
In the first leg of this semifinal match, both teams were unable to score. In a match with both teams having top-level firepower, most expected this match to be high scoring. Despite the star power of both teams, they will go into the second leg with everything to play for.
Coming into this match, Manchester City had progressed through to the semi-finals with a quarterfinals victory over Paris Saint-Germain. In the first leg of that match, both teams finished in a 2-2 draw, leaving Man City with the away goal advantage. In the second leg, a long range goal for Kevin De Bruyne was enough to send the English side to their first Champions League semi-final in history. Meanwhile, Real Madrid secured their spot in this round by coming back to defeat underdogs Wolfsburg. In the first leg, Real Madrid was stunned when it lost 2-0 away against the German side. Despite this setback, a hat trick from superstar Cristiano Ronaldo propelled it to the next round.
In this match, both sides came very close to scoring, only to be stopped by great goalkeeping or poor finishing. Early on, Benzema had a shot inside the box fly high and wide, despite a good position to score. The first half was relatively quiet for both sides, as neither could find any openings. In the second half, Sergio Ramos had a powerful header saved by Joe Hart, a standard save for the English international. Then, in the 71st minute, Jese had a great header deflected off the bar, but Hart covered the strike completely. As the match came to a close, Hart made some great saves to keep Man City alive going into the second leg. Pepe’s point-blank shot was miraculously saved, leaving Real Madrid wondering what could have been.
Atletico Madrid v. Bayern Munich:
Atletico stunned German giants Bayern Munich at home to secure a shaky lead into the next leg. A brilliant solo goal from Saul was enough to see the Spaniards secure a win at the Vicente Calderon.
Atletico Madrid came out on top in it’s quarterfinals encounter with Barcelona and progressed to the semifinals. The team came back from a first leg defeat to shock the 2015 Champions League winners. After losing 2-1 at the Camp Nou, Atletico stunned the world by securing a 2-0 home victory against the Spanish giants. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich had a tough but expected quarterfinal edge over Benfica. The Portuguese side gave the Germans a run for their money in both legs, where they narrowly lost on aggregate 3-2.
In this matchup, starlet Saul would shine bright, scoring a magnificent solo goal to stun the Bundesliga champions. In the 11th minute, he dribbled from half field all the way to the opposing box, tricking multiple players and curling a perfectly placed shot past Manuel Neuer. Despite multiple chances for the German giants, Atletico secured a narrow 1-0 lead into the next leg.