Wow! The Champions League has provided us with some exhilarating football, notably from Liverpool and Man City showcasing why the Premier League stands out from their fellow European counterpart’s leagues.
Man City had a slender 1-0 advantage from their 1st leg to take to the Wanda Metropolitano, home of Atletico Madrid. Notoriously, Atletico have previous of being the masters of the dark arts; embodied by head coach Diego Simeone and this game was no different. Real clash of styles with City’s elegant brand of football trying to combat a well drilled defence who sought to soak pressure and hope to hit devastatingly on the counter. However, a barrage of fouls from Felipe and Savic saw the former see red for 2 yellow card offences and the later was very lucky to avoid seeing red after sprinting 30yards to chase down Phil Foden; grabbing by his shirt in what is a microcosm of what Atletico gain their success from. For supporters of the domestic teams, City were able to hold onto their advantage from the first after holding out for a 0-0. On face value, you might think it was a tedious game, much on the contrary, it was electric from start to finish and had every little bit of “s**t-housery” from Madrid; meanwhile Liverpool played out an exhilarating game with Benfica to book their place in the Semifinals. (6-4) on aggregate after 2 legs.
Unfortunately, England’s representatives did have a casualty inflicted by the Spanish. Chelsea had a mountain to climb after falling foul to a 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge knowing that a 2-0 win at the iconic Santiago Bernabéu would be enough to see them through. Seems easy enough, but Real Madrid had never lost 2-0 to an English side in the champions league at home, so the odds weren’t looking great for a blue revival. Incredibly, the Blues raced into a 3-0 lead with 15mins to go and were looking good for the semifinals until an absolute work of art from a veteran in the game Luka Modric picking out an exquisite pass to substitute Rodrygo who set up extra time. Madrid’s European knowhow saw them through after a 4th goal in this clash for Karim Benzema that saw Chelsea win the game 3-2 but lose the tie 5-4 on aggregate.
Other tie saw the Yellow Submarine (Villarreal) pull off a shock at the Allianz, dumping out Bayern Munich. Unai Emery has drilled this team into his philosophy having won the Europa league last year and now 180mins away from a Champions League final.