The current Serie A leaders have made the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in more than ten years after they drew 0-0 with French side Monaco to go through 1-0 on aggregate. In truth, the ‘Old Lady‘ was much more dominant than the score suggests with Monaco barely causing any problems for the Juventus defence. Arturo Vidal scored the crucial penalty in the first leg and along with Frenchman Paul Pogba, Argentinian Carlos Tevez and Italian internationals Buffon, Chielini and playmaker Pirlo they will be a tough opponent for anyone. However, winning their first Champions League title since 2003 might be beyond them for this year at least.
Last year’s winners also moved through to the last four 1-0 on aggregate but their passage was not as smooth as Juventus‘. Real finally defeated their rivals Atlético Madrid for the first time in eight matches this season when reserve striker Chicharito scored the only goal of the tie in the 88th minute. Atlético were reduced to ten men in the second half when Turkish midfielder Turan received his second yellow card for a foul on Sergio Ramos which left his team mates fighting an uphill battle. Can Real be the first side to retain their European crown since AC Milan did so way back in 1990?
Now, one side that will be all out to stop them are Real’s arch-rivals Barcelona. The Spanish league leaders were already 3-1 up from the first leg and they made sure of a semi-final spot by scoring two first-half goals courtesy of Brazilian star Neymar. PSG, even with Ibrahimovic back in the side, were unable to make any headway against the Catalan side who will be among the favourites to lift the trophy. Messi and co. will be hopeful that they can win a remarkable treble (La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League) this season.
Another team that can win the treble is of course Bayern Munich. 1-3 down after the first leg, Guardiola’s side were under real pressure before the game but Bayern were 5-0 up at half-time to coast through to the semi-finals against a very poor Porto who collapsed so, so easily. The sides were level on aggregate around the 20-minute mark before Lewandowski scored two more to kill off the tie. Bayern will be looking for revenge against Real Madrid after last year’s mauling at the semi-final stage and if this performance is anything to go by then it could well happen.
have made the Champions League semi-finals: Have reached the last four
1-0 on aggregate: The total score
Old Lady: The nickname for Juventus
playmaker: The team member who organises the team’s play; usually the best passer on the team
their passage was not as smooth as Juventus: It was much more difficult for Real Madrid than for Juventus
courtesy of: Thanks to
to make any headway: To make any progress
reserve striker: He is not in the starting XI
the tie: The two games together (first and second legs)
fighting an uphill battle: Really struggling
to retain: To win titles in consecutive years
arch-rivals: Main rivals
3-1 up: Winning 3-1
Messi and co.: Barcelona (and co = and company, i.e. the rest)
1-3 down: Losing 1-3
to coast through to: To easily progress
to kill off the tie: To make sure that the other team has no chance
if this performance is anything to go by: If this is an example…