Tuesday, March 8, 2016

It Happened in Europe: Real Madrid, Wolfsburg cruise to quarterfinals

VfL Wolfsburg 1-0 KAA Gent (4-2 on aggregate)
Although more eyeballs would be focused on the other match, this one may have had a little more intrigue given the closer scoreline. Wolfsburg didn't need to do anything crazy to advance. They were the better team and they knew it. The scoreless first half saw the Germans sit back and defend, aiming not to concede to their lesser Belgian opposition. Their goal came from Andre Schurrle in the 74th minute. That was enough to seal the deal and put Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals..

Real Madrid 2-0 Roma (4-0 on aggregate)
Roma needed nothing short of a miracle to pull off the upset at the San Bernabeo. Yet, in the first half, their inability to finish was actively working against said miracle. Mohammed Salah was instrumental In working Roma's ultimately failed counter attacks. He created one chance for Stephen El Sharaawy that the Moroccan drilled well wide of the goal. Salah had a chance of his own go into the side netting shortly before tha half hour mark. Real Madrid's chances were not much better. Their shots were mostly from distance and most were off target. Roma's Wojciech Szczesny did have to make a couple of great saves, though.

The second half opened with Szczesny making another great save on Ronaldo and Salah blundering another chance by missing a gaping target. The series of misses would eventually spell doom for Roma. Crisitano Ronaldo, who else, fired home the goal that would seal Real Madrid's spot in the quarterfinals. In the 63rd minute he connected on a cross from Lucas Vazquez, leaving Szczesny helpless in goal. James Rodriguez would double the day's lead four minutes later with a touch angled shot on the run that got in through Szczesny's five hole. At that point, the remainder of the match was a mere formality. Real had it won and nothing was going to stop them.

They certainly deserved to win. I thought it was a typo when I saw that Real Madrid had 37 total shots. But, no. Real Madrid was just that dominant on the ball. The crazy part was that only eight of them were on target. Imagine if they had been just a little more precise with their shooting?

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