Sports

And then there were Four!

Semifinals await as PSG eliminate the champions Bayern Munich and Man City return to the semifinals for their second ever time

By: Emmanuel Mendez

soccer

Real Madrid and Chelsea meet in the semis on April 27th, 2021, and May 5th while PSG and Man City play each other on April 28th and May 4th. Credit: uefa.com

The Quarterfinals of the Champion League finished and left the four best teams in this year’s competition.  All the games were close and were well played by all teams, however, the remaining teams in the competition are PSG, Chelsea, Man City, and Real Madrid. 

           The best fixture out of all the games in the Quarterfinals was PSG vs Bayern Munich. The defending champions Bayern were missing key players like Serge Gnabry and their goalscorer, Robert Lewandowski. PSG was also missing key players like Marco Verratti but had their top players like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe fit. The first leg was an exciting 3-2 away win from PSG. 

           Mbappe would score in the first three minutes and then PSG captain Marquinhos would score in the 28th minute after a great pass from Neymar to surprise the Bayern defense. Bayern would respond quickly and Eric Choupo-Moting would score a header in the 37th minute. 

In the second half, Bayern would equalize after another header, this time scored by Thomas Muller after a free-kick by Joshua Kimmich. Mbappe’s pace gave the Bayern defense trouble and in the 68th minute, Mbappe surprised goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and scored a bottom left shot in the box. 

           The three away goals from PSG and the win gave a huge boost of confidence for the second leg. The first game was a back and forth game and even though PSG won, Bayern was very dominant with 31 shots taken and 12 on target. PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas had a great performance.

            The second leg was a bit different as PSG looked to be the more dominant side. Neymar hit the bar and hit the post in the first half.  Choupo-Moting would score another header against his former club after a big save from Navas. Bayern was up 1-0 which made the aggregate score 3-3. 

This still meant PSG would qualify because of the away goal rule. Bayern needed one more to win the game and in the second half, they couldn’t find a way past Navas. PSG held on and the game finished. PSG advanced on away goals and made the semifinals again after last year. 

           The Chelsea vs FC Porto fixture was closer than expected. In the first leg, FC Porto was the one being aggressive and taking shots even without their key players like Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi. Porto didn’t take their chances, but Chelsea did as Mason Mount scored their first shot of the game. Chelsea`s Ben Chilwell would score the second after a missed pass from Porto`s Jesus Corona. Chilwell ran past the goalkeeper and kept his composure to slot in the second and win the game 2-0. 

The second leg was a close game with not many shots on target from both teams. Porto needed two goals to tie the fixture and take the game to extra time. They struggled to get past the Chelsea defense until the very last minute when the returning Taremi scored a beautiful bicycle kick goal. It wasn’t enough and the game ended in a 1-0 victory for Porto, however Chelsea advanced because of the aggregate score being 2-1 in favor of the English club. They reached the semifinals for the first time since 2014.

           Manchester City had a tough encounter with a Borussia Dortmund side that is having a bad season. In the first leg, Man City would start off the game quite easily with one of their trademark counterattacks that punished many teams.

  Kevin de Bruyne would score the first goal. Controversy occurred after Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham`s goal was disallowed after a foul on City goalkeeper Ederson. Bellingham was the one being kicked when he stole the ball off Ederson but the referee said otherwise. 

Bellingham would be involved in a great play for the Dortmund equalizer as Erling Haaland found Marco Reus for him to score. The game was 1-1 and Dortmund had the crucial away goal. City`s Phil Foden would score for the victory and the game ended 2-1 in favor of Man City.

The second leg started off worrying for the Citizens as Bellingham scored a great goal past Ederson. Dortmund was winning the game at halftime and was advancing. Man City would get a penalty after Emre Can hit the ball with his hand which also caused controversy for being a harsh call. Riyad Mahrez slotted it in the top right corner for the equalizer. 

Once again, Phil Foden showed up and scored a great goal that surprised the Dortmund goalkeeper. Man City won the second game by the same scoreline 2-1 and advanced with a 4-2 aggregate score. They made the semifinals for their second ever time after making it for the first time back in 2016. 

The most experienced and successful teams in the competition faced off in the quarterfinals, Real Madrid and Liverpool. The first leg demonstrated the great midfield Madrid has at their disposal. 

Toni Kroos, Casemiro, and Luka Modric bossed the midfield and gave their attackers many opportunities. Vinicius Jr. would score the first score after an incredible pass from Modric. The second goal occurred after a mistake from Trent Alexander Arnold, scored by Marco Asensio. In the second half, Mohammed Salah would score for the Red and give them hope until Vinicius scored again to make it 3-1. 

In the second leg, Liverpool improved by creating more chances, but their finishing was off. Madrid was also doing well at defense and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois kept Madrid in the game. The game ended 0-0 and Madrid advanced with an aggregate score of 3-1. Madrid shows up to another semifinal and will look forward to making the final and getting their 14th title.

The semi finals are set, PSG will be playing against Man City and Chelsea will be playing Real Madrid. PSG will look to make the final again after last year while City will look to make history and make their first-ever final. 

Chelsea has the chance to make the final again after making it in 2012 and winning it. They want their second-ever title, but they go up against Real Madrid, the club with the most titles (13).

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