Ronaldo Leads Madrid Past Bayern

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Killer – Photo Credit: ESPNFC

Real Madrid make it seven straight

Last week, two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo propelled Real Madrid to a crucial 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. The result gave Zinedine Zidane’s side a sizable advantage going into Tuesday’s return fixture in Madrid, but you can never sleep on Bayern. The German squad, led by former Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, came out firing and very nearly delivered a famous result in the world’s most historic club competition.

Less than ten minutes in, Arjen Robben came within inches of giving Bayern an early lead. After Marcelo did well to deliver a sliding block on Thiago’s close-range effort, the rebound fell perfectly to Robben. The Dutchman just couldn’t finish the chance, however, as his shot rattled off the outside of the woodwork.

Through the opening stages of the match, Bayern looked like a team on a mission, while Madrid looked content to sit back and absorb wave after wave of pressure. How long could this bend-don’t-break mentality last?

A rare mistake from Manuel Neuer nearly gifted Madrid a dagger of a goal in the 28th minute. A seemingly harmless cross from Dani Carvajal went straight at the German international, but he couldn’t hold on to the ball. It fell straight to Sergio Ramos at the 12-yard-spot, and it took a goal-line clearance from Jerome Boateng to maintain the clean sheet.

Real Madrid finished the half strongly, and if Bayern Munich fans had to consider themselves lucky to be level at the break.

Five minutes into the second half, a dangerous run from Robben on the edge of Madrid’s penalty area ended with a late challenge from Casemiro, who was already on a yellow card. Luckily, for Real Madrid, the official didn’t give the Brazilian a second yellow, but he did give Bayern the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot. Robert Lewandowski stepped up and easily sent Keylor Navas the wrong way. 1-0 Bayern.

Even after Lewandowski’s goal, Bayern still needed another goal to advance on aggregate, or at the very least, force extra time.

After Lewandowski’s opener, Bayern began to push further and further up the pitch, and Madrid reverted back to their defensive shell.

Despite Bayern’s relentless pressure, the next goal fell to Madrid in the 75th. Casemiro, who was lucky to still be on the pitch, sent a beautiful cross into the box and Cristiano Ronaldo was there to head it past Neuer into the side-netting.

The excitement of Ronaldo’s header was quickly replaced with shock as Bayern took the lead through an own goal. A lack of defensive communication between Madrid’s backline somehow ended with Sergio Ramos inadvertently passing the ball into his own net.

In the closing stages of regular time, we got another bit of drama. A seemingly fair slide tackle from Arturo Vidal was deemed worthy of a second yellow card and the Chilean was given an early trip to the showers. Now, Bayern had to find a way to hold on for an extra 30 minutes against one of Europe’s best teams with only 10 men.

In the 104th minute, Sergio Ramos found Ronaldo with another great cross in the box. CR7, who may have been offsides, perfectly controlled the ball on his chest before smashing his shot past Neuer to give Madrid the lead with his fourth goal of the tie.

After Ronaldo’s goal, the floodgates opened for Madrid. In the 109th minute, Marcelo easily skipped past Bayern’s backline before sliding a pass to Ronaldo for an easy tap-in to complete his hat-trick. The misery wasn’t quite over for Bayern, however, as Marco Asensio added a fourth goal in the 112th minute.

The scoreline doesn’t do Bayern justice, and the refereeing was a tad questionable, but Real Madrid’s 4-2 win pushes them into the Champions League semifinals 6-3 on aggregate. A 1-1 draw between Atlético and Leicester City sees the other club from Madrid advance, as well.

La Vecchia Signora

The Old Lady roll on. Photo Credit: Reuters

Messi Silenced

In Wednesday night’s action, we saw Juventus travel to Barcelona with a commanding 3-0 lead. Even with that lead, we all know better than to count Barcelona out (*cough cough…PSG). Could Messi and co. recreate that miraculous come back, or would their luck finally run out?

From the start, it looked like it just wasn’t going to be Barcelona’s day. In the 19th minute, Lionel Messi had the chance to put his side on the board from inside the penalty area, but, surprisingly, he dragged his shot wide of the far post.

The Argentinian magician didn’t appear to be on his game at the Nou Camp. He was Barcelona’s most dangerous player throughout the match, but he just couldn’t manage to find the back of the net. Just before the halftime whistle, an aerial collision with Miralem Pjanic saw Messi come crashing down on his face. He would return to the match with a nice little cut just below his eye.

Juventus seemed more than happy to sit back and absorb Barcelona’s pressure throughout the match, and in the end, that proved to be the right strategy. The 0-0 result sees Barça finally bow out of the Champions League, and it marks the first time since 2008 that a team was able to hold the Spanish giants scoreless over two legs.

Falcao and Mbappe

Les Monegasques.

Monaco Advance

Borussia Dortmund and Monaco’s quarter-final tie has taken on a deeper meaning than just a soccer match. Before last week’s game in Dortmund, a bomb was detonated just outside of BvB’s bus shattering windows and sending Marc Bartra to the hospital with some cuts. Much to the dismay of Dortmund, the match was quickly rescheduled for the next day and Monaco handed them a 3-2 loss.

Things wouldn’t get much better for them in the second leg.

Less than five minutes into the match, Kylian Mbappe pounced on Roman Burki’s attempt to parry away a shot, and quickly put Monaco ahead with a close-range finish. Dortmund nearly equalized ten minutes later, but Nuri Sahin’s free kick smacked off the woodwork.

Three minutes after Sahin’s close call, Radamel Falcao doubled Monaco’s lead with a header past Burki. At this point, Dortmund must’ve just wanted the match to end.

BvB had a dream start to the second half after a brilliant run from Ousmane Dembele down the right wing ended with Marco Reus slotting home into the top corner. Even after Reus’ goal, chances for Dortmund to advance were slim-to-none.

The final dagger came in the 81st minute when Valere Germain tapped home from close range to make it 3-1 on the night, and 6-3 on aggregate. Monaco now find themselves in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2004.

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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