UCL Roundup, Semi Final (First Leg): Super Ronaldo Guides Real, Juventus Put One Foot In Final
It was a matchweek to remember for Real Madrid attackers – a current great, Cristiano Ronaldo and a former fan favourite Gonzalo Higuain, as they put their teams in firm controls of their respective UEFA Champions League semi final ties, at the end of the first leg of fixtures.
The Portuguese captain had just two goals in the competition upon the completion of the group stages earlier this season, much to the delight of his detractors. But five knockout games later, he’s already added eight more, including back-to-back hattricks – the second of which came against local rivals Atletico Madrid late on Tuesday night in a 3-0 win.
The Portuguese superstar had scored the final goal in Real’s 4-1 victory over Atleti in the 2014 Champions League final in Lisbon and slotted the winning penalty in last year’s final in Milan. This time around, he opened the scoring in the 10th minute and then notched up another couple in the second half, leaving the rivals a mountain to climb at the Vicente Calderon.
Juventus firm as a rock
After enduring a relatively tough time in front of goal against Barcelona in the quarter finals, Higuain made his presence felt in the last four clash against AS Monaco on Wednesday night with a clinical brace – a goal on either side of the half-time whistle. Two away goals mean that the Bianconeri have all but sealed a spot in the final for the second time in three seasons.
A lot of talk before the match was also about Monaco’s attack led by the 18-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe, but the Old Lady defense efficiently shut them down, earning a sixth consecutive clean sheet in the competition in the process. Even the veteran keeper Gigi Buffon looked his part when called upon with a string of clinical saves through the game.
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