4 Things We Learnt From The Champions League Quarter Final First Leg:
With the first leg of the Champions League Quarter Finals done and dusted, some teams look already poised for a Semi Final place while others will have to do the almost impossible to reach the Semis.
Looking keenly at how all the teams fared in the four Quarter Final fixtures, we learnt these 4 things.
- Man City is not yet a perfect team: The outcome of the match at Anfield is perhaps the most surprising of all the results of the first leg encounters. Liverpool taught the Guardiola tutored Man City a bitter footballing lesson by comprehensively beating them 3 nil. This made it evident that Man City are not yet a perfect team. As a team that has accumulated a lot of deserved praise from the footballing world this season, Man City were made to look so ordinary on Wednesday night. Their midfield which seems to be the most potent part of their team was disintegrated and their effect brilliantly nullified by a Liverpool team that marked and pressed with intensity.
City were unable to keep their cool in this high intensity atmosphere and in not being able to handle this pressure, they failed to display an amazing attribute the all conquering Barcelona team of yesteryears possessed. The Barcelona team of the successful Guardiola era had the uncanny ability of not allowing any team dictate the way they played. They were always composed, structured and well organized even when they were losing but the Man City of yesterday was seen fidgeting at times and trying to conform to Liverpool’s style of play and this made them very vulnerable in defence and lack lustre in attack.
Guardiola must work on this aspect of his team’s mentality if he hopes to conquer Europe again.
- Ronaldo is the true King of the Champions League: In another night when the expectations were high and the atmosphere tensed in Turin, Ronaldo who is arguably the best player in the world showed why he is so adored by a section of football fans by affirming his signature as a true Champions League great through two well taken goals against the seemingly impeccable Buffon. He scored his 118th and 119th Champions league goal against Juventus on Tuesday night to put Madrid in the driving seat of the fixture.
Though the two goals showed why he is a trademark goal scorer, it was his second goal that made Juventus fans and the footballing world applaud this outstanding pacesetter. The goals was a breath-taking overhead kick that made Juventus fans stand to clap even when they were two goals down in their own stadium- what a touch of brilliance from a goal scoring genius. Madrid looks on course in their pursuit for a third consecutive Champions league title but they must pray Ronaldo stays fit if they are to stand a chance of achieving that remarkable feat.
- Bayern is still a force to reckon with in Europe: In a tie which many predicted to be favourable for Bayern Munchen, they left no stone unturned in ensuring they they get to the Semi finals. They showed their strength as an European giant by beating the Man United conquering Sevilla in Seville. Bayern had a start in this season’s competition that made it look like they were no longer a force to reckon with in Europe considering the fact that they lost 3 nil to PSG in just the second game of this competition but they have turned everything around by winning all seven of the matches they’ve played after that defeat in Paris. Kudos should also be given to their coach Jupp Heynkes for his technical genius in turning the tides and putting Bayern on course for another Semi final appearance.
- Barcelona too strong for Roma: Roma knew their hope of advancing to the Semis was dealt a huge blow when the draw pitched them against Barcelona and their fears has somewhat been confirmed after going through an humiliating 4-1 defeat at Camp Nou. They came into yesterday’s match hoping to defend well and hit Barcelona on the counter attack but their plans were foiled by two own goals and a goal each from Pique and Suarez. It could be argued that Lionel Messi who is Barcelona’s major threat is not even 100% percent fit and if he hits that mark before the return leg in Rome, Roma might just end up conceding more goals than they hope to score.
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