The 2015-16 UEFA Champions League tournament is now down to four teams battling for the right to be called “the best club team in Europe.” The first legs of the semifinals got underway on Tuesday and Wednesday with one match each day. Here is the recap of the two first legs that took place this week.
This was Manchester City’s first semifinal appearance in the Champions League in the club’s history. They were coming into this first leg on a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. However, the hosts only mustered one shot on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium against the Cristiano Ronaldo-less Madrid. Ronaldo was sitting out after an apparent thigh injury which also kept him out of Madrid’s 3-2 La Liga victory over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
After neither team mustered a shot on goal in the first half, Madrid came out firing in the second. Jese saw his header deflect off the crossbar, while Casemiro and Pepe had their chances saved by City keeper Joe Hart. City’s best chance came in the final minute of second-half stoppage time as Kevin De Bruyne had his free-kick tipped over the bar by Madrid keeper Keylor Navas. Hart made three saves, while Navas only made one. It was a good result for Manchester City to hold the Spanish giants at home, but they need to have a much better attacking-threat in the second leg at the Bernabeu. According to Madrid manager Zinedane Zidane, Ronaldo is questionable heading into the second leg next Wednesday.
Diego Simeone‘s side got an early aggregate lead over German giants Bayern Munich after Saul Niguez‘s left footed strike 11 minutes into the first leg at the Vicente Calderon. Bayern dominated the second-half looking for a crucial away-goal as David Alaba hit the post from 35 yards out, and Arturo Vidal had his long-range effort punched away by Atletico keeper Jan Oblak. Madrid almost had a 2-0 aggregate lead but Fernando Torres‘ shot poked off the post on an Atletico counter-attack. At the final whistle in Madrid, the hosts have a slim one-goal advantage to take into the second leg.
Bayern will host the second leg at the Allianz Arena next Tuesday. Bayern dominated the possession, as they normally do in most matches 74% to 26%. Oblak was forced to make seven saves out of Bayern’s 20 total attempts in the match. Manuel Neuer made four saves for the visitors. According to BBC Sport, Bayern manager Pep Guardiola was not pleased with his team’s performance on Wednesday. “Their goal is a brilliant goal, but it’s our mistake. We kept standing off. I’m not happy with how we played. It was a good game overall, but we started badly. The goal was a consequence of our slow play.”
The two first legs this week only had a one goal between the four teams combined. From what this shows is that the second legs will be much more exciting with the teams trying to fight for their lives to make the UEFA Champions League final in Milan on May 28th. Check back for all the action regarding the second legs of the UEFA Champions League semifinals only on Sports Talk Feed.
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