Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It Happened in Europe: Atletico upsets Barca, Bayern through easily

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (1-2 on aggregate)
Atletico carried a huge away goal into this home leg with a chance to storm back and knockout the reigning champions. Although Barcelona was controlling the ball for much of the first half, it wa Atletico jumping in front in the 36th minute. Antoine Griezmann got a free header in the penalty area and casually put it home behind Jan Vertonghen. That gave Atletico the lead on away goals at half time.

Atletico was defending quite well in the second half. They were able to sniff out any of Barcelona's multiple chances. Against the run of play, Atletico sealed their upset with penalty off a handball in the box be Andres Iniesta. Griezmann buried the spot kick and Barcelona were sunk. Although the defending champions should have had a penalty in stoppage time when Atletico handled on the extreme edge of the penalty area, but the referee only pointed for a free kick. Atletico held on to score the improbable upset of the defending champions.

Benfica 1-1 Bayern Munich (1-2 on aggregate)
Bayern Munich had a less than stellar showing last week at home. A trip to Portugal is never easy, so they would have to show a little more in the second leg to keep Pap Guardiola's hopes of a Champions League title before leaving Bayern. To make matters worse for Bayern, Benfica leveled the aggregate before the half hour mark. A Raul Jimenez header in the 27th minute came at a time when Bayern had 75% of the possession. Bayern would be able to scrape the lead back before the break, though. Arturo Vidal booted one from outside the penalty area in the 38th minute to get the German giants back in front.

The second half saw Bayern run away with things. Thomas Muller added their second of the night in the 52nd minute. That stretched the aggregate lead to a pair of away goals that would surely spell the end for Benfica. Talisca pulled one back inn he 76th minute, but two more were needed for a victory and those never came.

Midweek Premier League Bonus:
Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
Two middling Premier League clubs went at it in order to eliminate a game in hand. With each side not exactly playing for much, more attention was rightfully paid to the continental fixtures above. There was good reason in the end. The only action was James McCarthy getting a second yellow in the 52nd minute. Crystal Palace were unable to capitalize on the man advantage and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.

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