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News Archive

Champions League, quarter finals, second leg

Atlético Madrid 1 - Barcelona 0

Celebrations in the other half of Madrid tonight as Atlético beat Barcelona 1-0 to join city rivals Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The Colchoneros had not reached that stage of the top European competition in forty years, but the 1-1 draw in the Nou Camp eight days ago had given them the edge going in to this match. Simeone’s side got off to an electrifying start, Adrián hitting the post in the fourth minute, and in the following play Koke turning the ball past Pinto after Raúl García headed across a David Villa centre. Soon afterwards Villa hit the post again, and with the Barcelona defence in disarray it seemed only a matter of time before Atlético would score again. Gradually though the game settled down, and Messi headed a good chance wide, and then turned another shot past the post from Neymar’s cross. Villa fired a shot against the woodwork for a third time however, his angled shot coming back off the crossbar, and Barça were lucky to go in at the break only a goal down. After the restart honours were more or less shared, Xavi and Neymar in particular heading wide, and Gabi and Cristian Rodríguez both getting free on goal but unable to beat Pinto. But even with all their fire-power on the pitch Tata Martino’s side were unable to beat the excellent Courtois and his well ordered defence, and it will be Simeone and his boys who will be sitting by the television set next Friday to see whether their next opponents will be Chelsea, Bayern Munich or the team from just up the road. (09.04.14)

Borussia Dortmund 2 - Real Madrid 0

A close call in the end, but Real Madrid are through to another Champions League semi-final after a 3-2 aggregate win against Borussia Dortmund. Three up from the first leg, an away goal would have killed the tie. And in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo (on the subs bench due to an injury), Di María was called upon to take an early penalty when Piszczek cut out a Coentrao cross with his arm. However Weidenfeller saved the Argentinian’s spot kick, and a few minutes later the German side went ahead when Reus intercepted a poor headed back-pass by Pepe to round Casillas and score. Benzema slipped when free on goal soon afterwards, but otherwise the locals were on top, and with ten minutes to go to the break Reus scored his second of the night after Lewandowski’s shot came back off the post. Madrid improved after the break, Bale and Benzema going close a couple of times, but Mkhitaryan hit the post after rounding Casillas, and the visiting keeper had to make important saves from Mkhitaryan and Grosskreutz as Jurgen Klopp’s side pushed for the goal which would have taken the tie in to extra time. It was not to be however, and Spain will once again have two teams in the semi-finals. Who that second team will be though will not be decided until tomorrow night’s game between Atlético and Barcelona. (08.04.14)