Thursday, April 16, 2015

It Happened in Europe: Champions League Quarterfinals First Leg

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid
Real has now been unable to beat their crosstown rivals in eight tries since winning hte Champions League final against them last May. This time, however, they at least showed some promise. They forced Jan Oblak to make eight saves, some of them quite impressive, in order to keep the clean sheet. This was much needed for Real as there were a lot of questions after they almost blew their lead at home in the round of 16. The tie will have to be decided next week at Real's home field, but Atletico carries a slight advantage into the second leg, having noit conceded an away goal.

Juventus 1-0 AS Monaco
Controversey surrounds this one as Juventus escapes the home leg with a one goal advantage. Arturo Vidal scored the lone goal of the match on a penalty that may or may not have actually been a penalty. Alvaro Morata was trying to chase down a long pass on his way into the penalty area when he was essentially tackled by Ricardo Carvalho. It was a foul and deserved yellow card for the Monaco defender, but was Morata in the penalty area? Further review suggests that it was damn close. Close enough that it would have angered whoever the call went against. Even if instant replay were an option here, I am not sure the call would have been overturned. Regardless, Vidal nailed the PK and the Italians hold a 1-0 lead heading into the second leg in Monaco next week.

Porto 3-1 Bayern Minuch
Bayern was mising the likes of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, but it was still kind of a setback for Bayern as I thought they would roll through this fixture. Things are far from impossible, however, as they don't lose at home very often. They put themselves in this position by being quite sloppy in their own end. It all started quickly with Manuel Neuer bringing down Jackson Martinez when he was through to the goal in the second minute. The Munich keeper escaped with only a yellow, but straight red for denying a clear chance on goal  was a real possibility. Ricardo Quaresma put the ensuing PK in with ease. Just seven minutes after that, it was Quaresma again with the dispossess of Dante in the Munich half where he easily waltzed in for the goal. Thiago Alcantara would score for Bayern before hlaftime and Jackson Martinez would finish the 3-1 score for Porto in the 65th.

Paris Saint-Germain 1-3 Barcelona
While a Bayern Munich comeback is  areal possibility, PSG dug themselves a hole so deep, I doubt anyone could escape. I was expecting PSG to put up a little more of a fight, even without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Barcelona is just playing to dang well right now. Neymar started the party for the Spanish leaders with a great run behind the French defense and an perfect feed from Messi for an easy goal. Then it was Luiz Suarez scoring twice in 12 minutes to but Barca up 3-0. The only consolation for PSG was the Jeremy Mathieu own goal in 82nd minute. PSG faces an impossible task now of coming back from two goals down with three away goals against them at Camp Nou. 

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