What can only be described as a manic week of UEFA Champions League quarter-finals has now drawn to a close and we can all look forward to the last four going head to head. Here is your review of what has been a phenomenal set of one-legged shootouts.
UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals Review
PSG Leave It Late
Unfancied Italian side Atalanta got the action underway in Lisbon on Wednesday, they faced the might and money of French giants PSG in the first of the quarter-finals. Much to everybody’s surprise the Italians, who hail from Bergamo an area which was particularly badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, took the lead through Mario Pašalić. Atalanta, to upset PSG? – What to expect in the Champions League quarter-final tie
With time running out however and seemingly almost bereft of ideas, the French champions leveled through Brazilian defender Marquinhos before former Stoke City striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting grabbed a late winner to send PSG to the semi-finals.
Nagelsmann Does The Business
Young manager Julian Nagelsmann has lead RB Leipzig to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, for, what is unsurprisingly the first time in their 11 year history. Spaniard Dani Olmo headed the Bundesliga side in front against the conquerors of last year’s champions, Atletico Madrid.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone introduced local Lisbon lad, João Felix who immediately had an impact on the performance of his side, the attacking midfielder was influential and when he was brought down in the box, the 20-year-old picked himself up to slot home the penalty.
As the match approached the extra time, Leipzig’s American defender Tyler Adams let fly from the edge of the box, an effort which took a major deflection and flew into Jan Oblak’s net. With that effort the German club had done it, they were through to face PSG in the semi-finals.
Although many might’ve expected an in-form Bayern Munich side to get the better of an inconsistent Barcelona, nobody could have predicted what was about to happen. After an even opening 15 minutes which saw both sides score early. The Bundesliga champions took control, and in some style.
Goals from Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry, Ivan Perisic, Joshua Kimmich, and of course Robert Lewandowski made the score remarkable 6-2 as the Catalan club capitulated in front of our very eyes. Only a Luis Suarez strike in between Bayern goals stopped the impending battering.
However, as if it couldn’t get much worse, salt was rubbed firmly into Spanish wounds when on-loan Brazilian Phillipe Coutinho came off the Munich bench to score twice in the final five minutes against the club who still own him. The match finished with Barca looking dazed and confused about what had just occurred, Messi in particular seemingly giving up on matters towards the end, the final score, remarkably 8-2.
Perhaps the biggest shock was saved for the last quarter-final as the underdogs of the round Lyon knocked out favourites for the competition Manchester City 3-1. Questionable defensive tactics from City boss Pep Guardiola allowed the Ligue 1 club to gain a foothold in the match, and even take the lead when Maxwel Cornet curled the ball into the near post as Ederson was left stranded on the edge of his own box.
Now dictating possession Pep’s side pushed for an equaliser, which eventually came through Kevin de Bruyne. With 20 minutes remaining it seemed inevitable the favouties would now go on to win the match.
But it was Lyon, who rejuvenated by the City goal pushed forwards once more, and took the lead in controversial style following a through ball which reached its unintended target, former Celtic striker Moussa Dembélé went through in goal and slotted past Ederson to make it 2-1. VAR checked the goal and deemed the offside player did not influence the build-up, nor was there a debatable foul from goalscorer Dembélé.
As City threw men forward, Raheem Sterling missed an open goal when he blazed over from six yards out. Not even a minute later Lyon struck once more, this time a poor save from Ederson weakly pushed the ball into the path of that man Dembélé to finish off proceedings at 3-1.
The UEFA Champions League semi-finals will kick off on Tuesday with RB Leipzig v PSG before Lyon take on Bayern Munich on Wednesday.