Wednesday, March 18, 2015

It Happened in Europe: Champions League Round of 16 Second Legs

The Champions League round of 16 came to a close this week, here's how the last batch of matches played out.

Monaco 0-2 Arsenal (3-3 aggregate, Monaco advances on away goals)
Arsenal needed a miracle to advance and they almost got one. Olivier Giroud got the Gunners on the board ten minutes before halftime when he roofed a shot over a pair of Monaco defenders. Arsenal continued to pressure hard for the rest of the half, but to no avail. With no more than ten minutes remaining, Theo Walcott drilled a shot low off the post and the rebound came to Aaron Ramsey, who buried his shot low in the far corner. That brought the aggregate to 3-3 with Monaco ahead on away goals. Arsenal almost pulled ahead jsut a few minutes later on a free kick that both Alexis Sanchez and Giroud had a great shot at, but the ball went straight into the Monaco keeper. Arsenal threw everything they had at the French defense, but came up empty. Monaco advances to the quarterfinals.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen (1-1 aggregate, Atletico Madrid wadvances on penalties 3-2)
What a tie. Bayer got the socking 1-0 win at home to give them the slight upper hand, but gave it away when Mario Suarez scored to level things in the 27th. It remained 1-1 through the end of the 90 minutes, and after an extra 30. It came to penalties, where Atleti won 3-2 with Fernando Torres scoring the winner before Bayer's Stefan Kiebling missed to end it.

Barcelona 1-0 Manchester City (3-1 aggregate)
This one was really over before it started. Very few people thought City would be able to come back after being down 2-1 after the home leg. They put up a fight in this one, particularly as time ran down. They even had a penalty saved late in the second half that would have made it a contest at the end. In reality though, they were lucky to only lose by one today. Barcelona was robbed by Joe Hart on countless occasions. The City keeper is the only reason it wasn't at least 4-0 to the Spaniards.

Borrussia Dortmund 0-3 Juventus (1-5 aggregate)
Another one that was really over before it started. Dortmund was never really in it at all and Juve just ran away with it. It's kind if what the Barcelona-City match should have been.

So the right teams remaining in the hunt for European glory are:

Atletico Madrid
Bayern Munich
Paris Saint-Germaine
Real Madrid

The draw is on Friday and I, for one, can't wait to break it down.

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