What a week of European football! It’s no secret that over recent seasons I’ve often ridiculed the Europa League and branded it as a ‘second rate tournament’
If the tie between Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Dortmund was anything to go by I may start paying a bit more attention to the competition. Despite some great ties in the champions league this week there’s no doubt the Scouser’s trumped it.
Game of the week…
Liverpool 4-3 Dortmund (5-4 on aggregate):
The night was special even before it began, arguably the longest rendition of Liverpool’s ‘You’ll never walk alone’ gave me the goosebumps. Being a Gooner, a part of me felt guilty that I was enjoying it so much!
The game began and Liverpool were caught cold, the Germans were cutting through them like a knife through butter. After 9 mins I thought it was all over, two great goals from Tuchel’s side and I was tweeting something along the lines of ‘it’s all over’
Liverpool pulled a goal back through Divock Origi but when Marco Rues grabbed Dortmund’s third of the night it should have been curtains. I genuinely believe that had it been any other of the English sides it would have been game over but not Liverpool.
The mother of all come backs completed when Dejan Lovren rose at far post to head home the winner. Pandemonium in the ‘Klopp End’.
Klopp’s reds march into the last four and have a real chance of glory. It won’t be easy with Sevilla, Villareal & Shakhtar also in the pot but after that they must fancy their chances.
The German managers energy, passion and style of football is really starting to rub off on his team & with a few additions during the summer they could become a real force.
It’s rare for me as an Arsenal fan to admit enjoying another premier league teams European triumphs but there’s no denying it this time. A captivating, pulsating game and that’s why I’ve made it my ‘Game of the week’.
Elsewhere around Europe the UEFA Champions league didn’t disappoint either…
Manchester City 1-0 PSG (3-2 on aggregate)
Manuel Pellegrini is determined to end his Man City career with a bang and after an impressive two legs versus PSG he’s certainly given himself a fighting chance of achieving that.
Sergio Aguero missed a first half penalty but Kevin De Bruyne’s second half goal sealed their place in the last four and dare I say they might be starting to believe they can go all the way.
Not taking anything away from City but I have to say I felt PSG were poor on the night and will their champions league exit turn up the heat on Laurent Blanc?
My personal view is that City are the weakest of the four remaining sides and I don’t expect them to be in Milan for the final.
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (3-2 on aggregate)
Two very contrasting styles made for another awesome tie between Spain’s top two teams. Once again there was controversy throughout, cards, dives, dubious decisions and surrounding the referee at every opportunity. Nothing less than I expected to be honest!
Should Iniesta have seen red for the handball? Did Barca deserve a penalty late on when Koke handled? The referee judged it to have been outside the penalty area.
Get video tech in I say, but you all know my views on that subject by now!
Overall Atletico defended brilliantly and were able to keep the MSN trio at bay for most of the 180 mins of this one. Simeone’s men deserve their place in the last four as the Argentine coach enhances his reputation further.
Real Madrid 3-0 Wolfsburg (3-2 on aggregate)
I’ve not got too much to say about this one other than ‘RONALDO’ – he’s been accused recently of not turning up when it matters.
A winner in the recent Classico and a hat trick in this one certainly demonstrates otherwise. When are people going to stop doubting him!?
Credit to Wolfsburg for making a go of it, many had Real Madrid down to cruise through and after the first leg many of us then said Real were crashing out.
This result as well as the recent Classico win has given Zinedine Zidane some much needed breathing space.
Any team with the quality of player Real Madrid possess has a chance of going all the way. The prospect of another Madrid derby along the way has got me drooling.
Benfica 2-2 Bayern Munich (2-3 on aggregate)
Benfica earned a respectable result in Munich and went into the second leg with some belief. Rightly so, they boasted the best defence in the competition going into this one and didn’t by any means disgrace themselves.
It was always going to be a mountain to climb against the German champions but the Portuguese side ran them very close.
Bayern remain one of the favourites and rightly so, having drawn Atletico in the semi finals I’m sure they will feel they can go all the way to Milan.
UEFA Champions League Semi Final Draw:
⚫️ Manchester City v Real Madrid
⚫️ Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich
UEFA Europa League Semi final Draw:
⚫️ Liverpool v Villareal
⚫️ Shakhtar v Sevilla
I fancy a Real Madrid v Bayern final in the Champions league followed by a Liverpool v Sevilla final in the Europa League. More entertaining European football on its way.
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