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Friday, April 24, 2015

Champions League: Real Madrid Draw Juventus, Barca Face Bayern

Barcelona and Real Madrid were kept apart in the Champions League semi-finals draw putting on hold a possible El-Classico clash at least until the Lisbon final.

Reigning Champions Real Madrid have been drawn to face Serie A leaders and Champions-elect Juventus while Barcelona will have to battle with Bayern Munich for a place in this year’s final.

Carlo Ancelloti’s Madrid booked their berth to the semis after squeezing out a narrow 1-0 second leg win over city rivals Atletico Madrid to advance, the first leg having ended barren. Juventus also advanced on a similar scoreline against French side Monaco thanks to Arturo Vidal’s first leg penalty and an unyielding defensive display in the return leg in France which ended scoreless.

The last semi-final meeting between Massimiliano Allegri’s side and Madrid was in the 2002-03 season. The Old lady proved superior on both legs, winning 2-0 in the first leg at home and 2-1 in the return leg at the Bernabeu in their way to losing the final to AC Milan.

However, the La Liga side won the most recent encounter between the two sides which was in the group stages of the 2012-14 competition. Madrid won 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu but were held 2-2 in the return leg in Turin. Juventus have never lost to Los Blancos when playing host.

Barcelona will be hoping to banish memories of two seasons ago when they got embarrassed by Bayern Munich in their last Champions league meeting. The Catalans were put to shame as Bayern ran riot in both legs, winning 4-0 at Allianz and 3-0 at Camp Nou in a shocking 7-0 aggregate loss.

The Bavarians overturned a 3-1 first leg deficit against Porto brushing aside the Portuguese outfit 6-1 for a 7-4 aggregate win in the quarters. Luis Enrique’s Barcelona on the other hand were comfortable victors in both legs winning 3-1 in France and 2-0 at Camp Nou against Paris Saint Germain.

It will be a clash of ex-Barcelona teammates as Enrique faces off with Pep Guardiola.

The first leg ties will be played on 5th and 6th of May with the return legs set for May 12th and 13th.

Meanwhile in the Europa League, defending champions Sevilla have been drawn to face Fiorentina in the semis. Sevilla were held to a 2-2 draw away at Zenit in the return leg but progressed 4-3 on aggregate having won the first leg 2-1 while Fiorentina beat 10-man Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 in Florence to progress on a 3-1 aggregate.

Napoli landed a last four tie against Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Rafa Benitez’s men were held to a 2-2 draw by Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg but advanced on a 6-3 aggregate score having impressively won the first leg 4-1 in Germany. Evgeniy Shakov’s 82nd minute goal helped Dnipro beat Club Brugge 1-0 to advance, the first leg having finished 0-0.

And That’s thesteifmastertake!!