Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It Happened in Europe: Barcelona take care of Arsenal, Bayern storm back over Juve

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (5-1 on aggregate)
The general consensus here is that Arsenal had no hope heading into Camp Nou after losing 2-0 at home to Barcelona. Despite starting things off with a few kind of chances, the Gunners found themselves further down relatively quickly. Neymar got past the Arsenal defense and casually slipped a shot past David Ospina to dig the Arsenal hole deeper. It wasn't the end of the night for them, yet. They needed three to win anyway, jsut now they would have to do it without the added buffer of extra time. But one goal would prove to be difficult enough to come by.

They got that one goal about five minutes into the second half. Mohamed Elneny bagged his first Arsenal goal with an impressive strike under the bar to send the faintest glimmer of hope shining towards North London, a glimmer would be shut out by none other than Luis Suarez. His 65th minute acrobatic finish truly snuffed out the Gunners' hopes, as three goals in 25 minutes in Barcelona was a most impossible task. That wasn't going to stop them from trying, though. They tried to throw numbers forward and bring on attacking players, but Barcelona's skill was simply too much for them to overcome. In the 79th minute, an Alexis Sanchez free kick produced three consecutive clear chances, all of which were snuffed out by an outstanding Marc-Andre ter Stegen. If none of those shots found the back of the net, one had to wonder if anything Arsenal presented would produce results. As if Barca needed yet another goal, Lionel Messi took advantage of a misdirected Arsenal defense to close the book on this one.

Bayern Munich 4-2 Juventus (6-4 on aggregate)
Juventus would have to work hard to secure a result after allowing a pair of away goals to Bayern Munich in the first leg. The hard work started right away in the form of Paul Pogba, who capitalized off a gross miscalculation by Manuel Neuer. The French starlet scored for the Italians before five minutes had been played, The lead went to two goals, and the away goals tiebreaker was equalized, in the 28th minute with a goal from Juan Cuadrado, who finished off a brilliant team run down the pitch..

Bayern would have an uphill climb at home in the second half. The fact that the game started to get heated and violent certainly didn't help. Five of the eight yellow cards in the match were shown within a half hour of the start of the second half. Robert Lewandowski got the first goal of the comeback in the 73rd minute. Just when it looked like a second goal would not come along, Thomas Muller stepped in to save his side.

Extra time came and it was all Bayern. Thiago Alcantara gave them their first lead on the night in the 108th minute and Kingsley Coman, who is on loan from Juventus, finished it off two minutes later. Juventus would have one golden chance to pull back, but it would have been too little anyway. Pep Guardiola's men go through by the skin of their teeth with some late heroics, and the manager's goal of winning the Champions League before departing for Manchester City remains alive.

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