In the last six Champions League seasons, FC Barcelona had never failed to reach the semifinals. On the other hand, it was the first time in 40 years that Atletico Madrid has made it to the last four. It was, therefore, a sad loss for Barca on April 9 against another Spanish club Atletico Madrid. Atletico’s midfielder Koke put the hosts ahead early in the match and for the next 85 minutes of playing time, the score didn’t change. It was Atletico’s home game at Madrid’s Vicente Calderon Stadium and the 1-0 lead made an aggregate score of 2-1, with the earlier drawn game at Camp Nou. While Atletico Madrid made football history, Barca’s captain Xavi rued the missed chances that his team had. He said that the forwards did everything to dismantle the Atletico defense but couldn’t convert the chances that came their way.
In another second leg play-off game at Munich on the same night, title holders Bayern Munich blew away Manchester United 3-1 to finish with the aggregate score of 4-2, after the first leg match at Old Trafford had ended in a draw last week. It was a strange game with a listless half-time score of 0-0. Manchester United opened the scoring in the 57th minute, when Evra produced a thunderous volley, which allowed only enough time to the Bayern goalkeeper to turn his head and helplessly watch the ball flying to the top right corner. But in less than 2 minutes, Bayern equalized, through a goal by a screaming Mandzukic, who received a perfectly placed left-wing cross from Ribery. These two goals rejuvenated the game and both teams mounted attacks on one another. Wayne Rooney, who was not completely fit, missed a sitter with just the goalkeeper to beat. Bayern’s next goal came in the 68th minute, when Robben sent a cross to Mueller, who flicked the ball smartly past the goalkeeper. Robben himself scored the last goal for Bayern 8 minutes later by penetrating United’s defense and shooting past the diving goalkeeper.
In the other two second leg play-off matches, Chelsea beat PSG 2-0 and they were locked on a 3-3 aggregate score. But they finished as winners because of the away goal rule. Borrusia Dortmund went out of reckoning despite their 2-0 victory over Real Madrid, because in the first leg, Real had routed them 3-0 to finish ahead with the aggregate of 3-2.
In the city of Nyon Switzerland, the semifinal draws were held on Friday April 11, as per which reigning champions Bayern Munich will play the semifinal with Real Madrid, a team credited with 9 Champions League victories. Atletico Mardid, who shocked FC Barcelona, have been drawn to meet Chelsea in the other semifinal. This match can create a problem for Atletico because their goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is on loan from Chelsea.
The next game will be the first leg of the semifinal between Atletico and Chelsea, to be played on April 22, 2014 at Vicente Calderon Stadium, Madrid. The return leg of the semifinal has been scheduled for April 30 at London’s Stamford Bridge stadium, Chelsea’s home ground. The first leg of the other semifinal between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will be played at Santiago Bernabeu on April 23, while the second leg has been planned for April 29 at the Football Arena Munich. The semifinal winners after the two legs will take on one another in the UEFA Champion’s League Final at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benefica in Lisbon, Portugal on May 24, 2014.
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