UCL Roundup, Quarter Finals (1st Leg): Ronaldo Punishes 10-man Bayern, Juve Shock Barca
Of bomb blasts, shock results and new records, the first leg of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League quarter finals was witness to an entire range of emotions during the week.
Real grab crucial goals
European goal-machine Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice at the Allianz Arena to hand Real Madrid a critical 2-1 win over Bayern Munich. The brace also brought up a century of goals for the Portuguese in all European club competitions.
It was the hosts who dominated the game during initial exchanges, which finally culminated in Arturo Vidal’s opener off a corner kick in the 25th minute. The home side could have build further on their lead but the goalscorer was twice wasteful, including a penalty, only to be punished by the former Manchester United man after the interval.
Ronaldo latched on to a fine cross from the right by a tireless Dani Carvajal and sent the volley past Manuel Neuer with an effort only a few in the world are capable off. The tide turned further in the favour of the Los Blancos once Javi Martinez earned his second booking of the evening around the hour-mark.
From then onward, the game was played only in the 10-man Bayern’s defensive third as Ronaldo poked home Asensio’s cross, after getting on the wrong side of Boateng, to make it 2-1. Sergio Ramos had a goal disallowed for offside in the closing stages of the game but the visitors nonetheless go into the second leg with two crucial away goals in their kitty.
Another big away loss for Barca
Last time the venue was Paris and this time it was Turin in Italy. Barcelona faced a consecutive away pounding in the competition as Juventus routed them 3-0, courtesy Paulo Dybala’s magical pair of goals. The Catalans have left themselves another mountain to climb at the Nou Camp after they reversed a 4-0 away loss against PSG in the previous round.
The Old Lady were right on the money from the first whistle as Gonzalo Higuain spurred a great chance in as early as the third minute. It took a fantastic left-footed effort from the young Argentine inside the right edge of the box to break the shackles in the seventh minute.
And 15 minutes later, he was at it yet again as he surged down the left flank and curled one on the same side of the goal after Mario Mandzikic laid it back for him. Georgio Chiellini made it 3-0 ten minutes into the second half, out-jumping Javier Mascherano to head home only the second Champions League goal of his career.
Dortmund fans show class, so does Griezmann
A blast near the Borussia Dortmund bus on Tuesday night left the players in a state of trauma as one of their teammates Marc Bartra suffered multiple injuries on his right arm. Thankfully though, others onboard escaped any major mishap, but were unfortunately forced to play the rescheduled fixture within 24 hours of the attack.
It was never going to be about the on-field action but the shell-shocked Westfalenstadion outfit still managed two goals in a 3-2 loss to AS Monaco. Another huge talking point was the display of solidarity from the local supporters who started campaigns like #bedsforawayfans for the travelling Monaco enthusiasts. The entire audience even chanted Dortmund Dortmund as the teams stepped onto the field for the carried over game and hurled out a huge BVB flag as the game progressed.
The remaining game in this week’s set of fixtures lived up to its air of inevitability as Antoine Griezmann was the lone scorer in Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 home win against Leicester City. The French attacker proved why he is the most wanted forward even in the Premier League by excelling against the current holders. It however makes for an exciting second leg with the English side minimizing the damage ahead of their home leg.
Images: Club Facebook Pages