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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Real Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern in Champions League Semis

The second matchday of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal return leg matches lacked the goals that were the order of the day before with only one goal scored in two matches.

Forgotten Mexican Javier ‘Chicarito’ Hernandez emerged from the abyss as he scored the only goal of the night, a vital one as it helped defending champions Real Madrid progress to the last four.

With the match still barren after 178 minutes of football, the on-loan Manchester United forward popped up with the goal tapping in a Cristiano Ronaldo pass.

The timing of the goal and the fact that Atletico had been reduced to 10-men with quarter an hour to go meant Diego Simeone’s men could not prevent their first defeat in their previous 8 matches against the reigning champions.

The Stade Louis Stadium in Monaco opened and closed without any goal being sighted. Juventus, holding a 1-0 first leg advantage reminded many of their old days when resolute defending was their and Italian football mainstay.

Monaco had 12 shots but only one tested Gianluigi Buffon in the Old Lady’s goal as they restricted the hosts to trying their luck from outside the box.

In the end, Arturo Vidal’s converted penalty in the first leg in Turin proved decisive as Juve won the tie 1-0 on aggregate to book their first semi-final berth in 12 years.

Real Madrid and Juventus joined Bayern Munich, Bundesliga defending and champions-elect, and FC Barcelona in the last four.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern produced a breathtaking second leg display by thumping FC Porto 6-1 at Allianz Arena to win 7-4 on aggregate having shockingly lost 3-1 in the first leg.

Barcelona, 3-1 winners at Parc de Princess a week earlier, completed the job fairly easily at Camp Nou as Neymar double saw them run out 2-0 winners and 5-1 on aggregate.

The four teams are arguably the best there is in Europe, be it in the domestic front or at the continental level. No matter who draws who in the semifinals, we should expect a football treat.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!