Friday, 12 May 2017

Champions/Europa Semi Finals Review

As the domestic European seasons near the end, the semi finals of both the Champions League and Europa League saw the final four sides in European competition decided.

The first legs of the Champions League semis saw an all-Madrid battle as holders Real Madrid hosted Atletico Madrid.

The hosts went ahead inside ten minutes as Cristiano Ronaldo struck, he went on to claim a hat-trick and a comfortable 3-0 advantage for Real with further strikes in the 74th and 87th minutes.

Monaco and Juventus faced off in the other tie and it was to be the Italians who secured first leg success. Gonzalo Higuain's brace secured a 2-0 win as he struck in the 29th and 59th minutes.

The first legs of the Europa League semis began with Ajax securing a huge 4-1 advantage against Olympique Lyonnais. The hosts opened the scoring through Bertrand TraorĂ© before Kasper Dolberg doubled the lead before half-time.

The win looked to be secure within five minutes of the restart as Amin Younes made it 3-0 but the visitors struck what could be a crucial away goal through Mathieu Valbuena. The goal was to be merely a consolation on the night as TraorĂ© scored his second and Ajax's fourth.

Manchester United secured a narrow 1-0 lead against Celta Vigo.The visitors secured the win with an away goal from Marcus Rashford on 68 minutes.

The final step on the 'Road to Cardiff' saw Juventus secure a place in the final with a 2-1 win that saw them advance past Monaco with a 4-1 aggregate.

First half strikes from Mario Mandzukic and Dani Alves put the Italians in control at 2-0 (4-0) before Kylian Mbappe secured some consolation for the visitors.

Juve will face Real Madrid in the final despite Los Blancos suffering a 2-1 defeat to Atletico as they advanced 4-2 on aggregate.

Atletico went 2-0 up on the night inside 17 minutes as Saul Niguez struck ahead of a penalty from Antoine Griezmann. They were unable to level the tie though as Real secured their spot in the final with a strike just before half-time from Isco.

After a five goal thriller in the first leg, Ajax secured a trip to Stockholm for the final with a 5-4 aggregate win despite losing 3-1 to Lyon on the night.

Kasper Dolberg continued his scoring streak with the opener on 27 minutes before a superb brace from Alexandre Lacazette as he struck from the penalty spot and open play in the final minutes of the first half for a 2-1 lead (3-5 agg).

Rachid Ghezzal made it 3-1 and 4-5 on agg with nine minutes to go and with the dismissal of Nick Viergever, the hosts had hope of levelling but to no avail as Ajax's away goal was enough to win the tie.

The Dutch side will face Manchester United in the final after the Red Devils advanced 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo. An opener from Marouane Fellaini made it 1-0 (2-0 agg) but a late rally from the visitors saw Facundo Roncaglia strike an away goal for Celta before being sent off after an altercation with United defender Eric Bailly who was also dismissed. United managed to hold on and secure a spot in the final.