Barcelona and Juventus Complete QF Line-up for 2015 UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions LeagueOn March 18, 2015, Camp Nou was full to the brim as hosts FC Barcelona prepared to take on Manchester City FC. The English Premier League side had lost the first leg 1-2 at home and they looked for first wiping out the deficit and then scoring another goal to stay in contention. But City’s hopes were decimated by Barcelona, who played brilliantly. For Manchester City, goalkeeper Joe Hart put his heart into the game and saved numerous goals to limit the margin of their defeat. The FCB goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen also showed his acumen by saving a late penalty and the visitors’ fate was sealed. In the other Round 16 second leg match at the BVB Stadion Dortmund, Italian club Juventus defeated hosts Borussia Dortmund 3-0 to reach an aggregate of 5-1 after their 2-1 first leg win at Turin and made it to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the second time in three seasons. With these two matches, all eight teams for the quarterfinal stage have been decided. As per the quarterfinal draw held in the French city of Nyon on March 20, two first-leg matches will be played on April 14 and the other two on April 15, 2015. The second leg quarterfinals have been scheduled for April 21 and 22, 2015. As per the QF line-up, Atletico de Madrid will play Real Madrid; AS Monaco will meet Juventus; Paris Saint-Germain will square off with FC Barcelona and FC Porto will play Bayern Munich.

Playing in front of home fans at Camp Nou, FC Barcelona beat Manchester City 1-0 in the second leg of round-16 and entered the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League for the record eighth consecutive season. City had a tough task ahead of them after their 1-2 loss at home in the first leg and they began with that handicap. The first hour’s play was completely dominated by Barcelona with clever passing and clear intent on ball possession. Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini had talked about controlling the game to keep Barcelona on back foot but only the reverse came true. Barcelona’s incisive play took the spirit out of City’s dreams. In the 6th minute, Daniel Alves stole the ball from City’s Vincent Kompany and found Neymar near the goal but the Brazilian’s shot struck the post before rolling across the goal line. Five minutes later, Lionel Messi made a brilliant move in a one-two with Andres Iniesta and shot to the left of Joe Hart but the City goalkeeper saved it with his legs. In the 29th minute, Luis Suarez had a chance from a tight angle but it was an easy save for Joe Hart. Barcelona finally found the goal in the 31st Minute, when Messi scooped a lovely floater near the back post for Rakitic, who managed to esacpe his marker. Rakitic took Messi’s pass on his chest and lobbed the ball over Joe Hart’s head straight into the goal to fructify a magnificent effort from Barca. After the halftime ended at 1-0, Rakitic had another chance in the 48th minute as he surged ahead of Yaya Toure and fired a left-footer but it went just too high over the left corner. Barca kept up the pressure on City and there was little the English side could do. City’s best chance came in the 77th minute, when they earned a penalty. Sergio Aguero had wriggled his way into the box and he was brought down by Gerard Pique. But Aguero’s penalty was saved by Barca goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen. The match ended 1-0 in favor of the home side and they entered the quarterfinals with 3-1 aggregate score.

In the other match at Dortmund, Juventus continued from their 2-1 first leg victory at Turin and enhanced their lead with a forceful play. In the third minute, Carlos Tevez picked up the ball 25 meters from the goal and ran unchallenged before firing a right-footer into the top corner past Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. It was an electric start for Juventus, who dominated the entire match afterwards. They had another chance in 15th minute, when Stephan Lichtsteiner made a long-range effort but Weidenfeller punched it away. In the 70th minute, Juventus doubled their lead from a counter-attack, when a high ball came to Carlos Tavez. While Tavez had a scoring chance, he unselfishly squared it for Morata for an easy tap-in. Nine minutes later, Tavez scored his second goal, when he picked up a pass from Vidal and made no mistake in drilling it past Weidenfeller from the right. As the match ended, the 3-0 win made the aggregates for Juventus 5-1 and they sailed into the quarterfinals.

The QF draws were held at Nyon on March 20, 2015, as per which the first-leg quarterfinals will be held on April 14 and 15, 2015. As per the line-up emerging in the draw, Atletico de Madrid play Real Madrid; AS Monaco meet Juventus; Paris Saint-Germain take on FC Barcelona and FC Porto meet Bayern Munich. The first QF on April 14 is virtually a rematch of last year’s final, when Atletico de Madrid had played against Real Madrid at Milan.

 

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.
R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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