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Champions League review: Roma and Liverpool advance to semi-finals


The finishing acts of the first two quarter-final matches see Roma become only the third club in history to overturn a three-goal first leg loss into a win, and Liverpool is back in the semi-finals after a decade’s absence.

Roma 3 v 0 Barcelona

Champions League Review: Roma and Liverpool advance to semi-finalsI was reading Alice in Wonderland to my 18-month old daughter last night.

“Don’t like it.” She said.

The scene that upset her was when Alice ate the cake that said ‘Eat Me’ and ended up too big for the room. Tears streamed down the girl’s face and flooded the room.

“Tears aren’t a bad thing,” I told her.

“Don’t like it.” She said again, as the book went tumbling to the floor like Alice the nosey parker falling down the rabbit hole.

My lesson, lost.

I should have taken her to the pub to watch Roma play Barcelona.

On a night when Barcelona took a 4-1 lead to the Stadio Olimpico, and Liverpool took a 3-0 lead to the Etihad, all the pre-match talk was of the Premier League champions-elect making an incredible comeback.

Roma?

Not on your nelly.

Before the teams lined up, Roma was a 250/1 shot to win the Champions League. Barcelona was the 9/4 joint-favourite.

And with good reason.

Roma entered the second leg knowing only three teams had ever overcome a three-goal first leg deficit in Champions League history. In 2004, Deportivo La Coruna trailed the reigning champs AC Milan by 4-1, only to win the second leg 4-0 to go through 5-4 on aggregate, and last season, Barcelona trailed Paris St Germain 4-0 before winning the second leg 5-1 to go through 6-5 on aggregate.

There’s more.

Roma sits fourth in Serie A, 21-points behind the leaders Juventus, and on the weekend they lost to Fiorentina.

And let’s not forget, they would have to score at minimum three goals, and Barcelona had conceded that many Champions League goals in their last ten matches combined.

In contrast, Barcelona lead La Liga, 11-points clear of Atletico Madrid, and their 3-1 home win against Leganes on the weekend was the Catalan club’s record 38th unbeaten game on the bounce. They are also in the final of the Copa Del Rey.

No, my dear readers, this tie only had one outcome.

Unless, like my daughter, you believe in fairy tales.

The Romans needed an early goal, and it came in the sixth minute. Edin Dzeko proved too strong for the Barcelona defender as he latched onto a long ball before calmly slotting home. Patrick Schick missed a golden opportunity to send Roma into the half-time interval when he headed wide, but the 1-0 lead gave them renewed confidence.

The Roma faithful began dreaming in the 57th minute. Gerard Pique brought Dzeko down in the box, and after a chat between the officials, they gave a penalty, which Daniele De Rossi scored.

And then the place went mental.

82 minutes were on the clock when Cengiz Under whipped in a corner, and Kostas Manolas met the ball at the near post to flick the winning goal into the net surrounding the far post.

Tears rained down from the stands at the final whistle as the enormity of the comeback dawned on everyone. I am sure there were also a few tears on the pitch.

Roma moves into the Semi-Final of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 1984, when, incidentally, they lost to Liverpool.

And guess what else happened last night?

Man City 1 v 2 Liverpool

The five-time European Champions could face Roma in the last four after beating Man City for the third time this season, coming from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad.

City has a team more than capable of overturning the 3-0 deficit they faced after losing at Anfield, and when Gabriel Jesus dispatched Raheem Sterling’s pinpoint pass as early as the second minute, hope exploded like a man achieving orgasm.

And then came the most controversial moment of the two-legged affair.

With 42-minutes on the clock, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz disallowed a Leroy Sane goal for offside when video evidence clearly showed James Milner was the man who set up the German.

Pep Guardiola was so incensed by the decision that he ran onto the pitch to remonstrate with the man in the middle who promptly sent him to the stand to watch the second half as a spectator.

VAR?

I don’t think Pep will be complaining about it any longer.

The fact that it’s not in play in the most significant competition in the world is barmy.

City was never the same without their Commander-in-Chief at the helm. Ten minutes after the restart, a mazy run from Sadio Mane came to an end at the body of Loris Karius, but the ball fell to Mohamed Salah who chipped it into the net for his 39th goal of the season.

It was a pitchfork into the lungs of a City side who dominated the first half. Then, as City sped forward in search of a miracle, Nicolas Otamendi screwed up at the back to allow Roberto Firmino in to score his eighth Champions League goal of the season.

City loses for the third time in six days.

Liverpool will appear in the Semi-Finals of the Champions League for the first time in a decade.

The draw is on Friday at 12:00 (BST) in Nyon, Switzerland.

Here are the odds (courtesy of Bodog):

Real Madrid – 6/4

Bayern Munich – 2/1

Liverpool – 10/3

Roma – 10/1

Sevilla – 150/1

Juventus – 150/1

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Champions League Spherical of 16 Update: Messi Impressed Barcelona Cruise Past Arsenal


February 26, 2016

Champions League Round of 16 Update: Messi Inspired Barcelona Cruise Past Arsenal

Our spherical-up of the Champions League Spherical of 16 sees Lionel Messi hitting two to thrust aside Arsenal, Cristiano Ronaldo scoring his 12th of the campaign in a victory more than Roma, and Gentleman City get a peek behind the door of the past eight for the very first time in the golf equipment heritage.

Barcelona remains the favourites to keep their Champions League crown just after a snug victory more than Arsenal at the Emirates in the Spherical of 16.

It would seem the only way to participate in towards Barcelona is to let them have the ball, hope the trident up front has an off day, and to capitalise on some sloppy defending at the back again.

Champions League Round of 16 Update: Messi Inspired Barcelona Cruise Past Arsenal

[Graphic Credit: SkySports]

The dilemma with a method like that?

Your total squad demands to be on point for 100% of the video game. You have to target and perform more durable than at any other time in the year. This is Barcelona, the greatest workforce in the environment.

Two lapses in focus authorized the greatest footballer in the environment to place the video game over and above Arsenal with ninety far more minutes to participate in. The very first came in the 71st minute when the Arsenal midfield pack failed to hold speed with the extraordinary Neymar. The Brazilian streaked very clear, side-footed the ball to the onrushing Lionel Messi, and two touches afterwards the ball was in the back again of the net.

That very first contact by Messi, as pure as it appeared, was pure class. It was the change in between the top echelons of the video game and the relaxation. It place Petr Cech on his ass. 9 out of ten gamers would have panicked and strike the ball straight at him.

Messi manufactured it two from the penalty spot 12-minutes afterwards when Matthieu Flamini came on as a sub, and with his very first contribution, upended the Argentinian in the space. Messi subsequently dusted himself off to place the ball into the net with undue fuss.

Arsenal experienced their odds. Most notably a six-yard sitter by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a header palmed broad from Olivier Giroud. In the very first half, Aaron Ramsay seemed superior plenty of to participate in for the other side, as did Alexis Sanchez, but the a single gentleman who let the side down was Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman was wasteful, lazy, and seemed way out of his depth on a field total of the greatest gamers on earth.

Arsenal now go to the Nou Camp on Wed 16 March hoping for a wonder.

In accordance to the bookies, there are only two teams that have the capacity of stopping Barcelona from getting the very first side to keep the Champions League trophy given that the new format was launched in the 1992/ninety three year.

Bayern Munich (3/one)

Bayern Munich is eight details very clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga and 23 details very clear of Hertha BSC in third. They have scored fifty six moments and only conceded 11.

In the Champions League, they gained five of their six video games (losing absent to Arsenal), scored 19 and only conceded 3 (two of them ended up in that Arsenal video game).

They are a juggernaut, and for the very first 45-minutes absent at Juventus, they seemed like a single, they felt like a single, and they moved like a single. Past year’s finalists ended up a long-lasting fixture in their own half, and the video game seemed all more than with 30-minutes remaining just after Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben experienced specified the Germans a two- direct.

“Juventus manufactured it to past year’s final, not us. We’re not dealing with a workforce from the provinces.” Claimed Bayern’s mentor Pep Guardiola.

The Old Lady pulled up her stockings, threw down the zimmer body and begun taking part in back again. They came into this video game on the back again of a run that observed them conceding only once in their preceding 11 matches. They are manufactured of stern stuff, as it was confirmed when Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro scored in the 63rd and 76th minute to set up an attention-grabbing next leg on Wed, 16 March.

Actual Madrid (3/one)

Actual Madrid was the only other side, apart from Barcelona, who came by means of the group levels with no suffering defeat. Their two- get absent at Roma signifies they have now netted 21-moments and only conceded 3. Only Bayern Munich can match that document.

They could have played in grey, but there was nothing at all uninteresting and dreary about them as they swept Roma absent with a masterful absent functionality. The tie is as superior as dead and buried.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his thirty third intention of the year in the 57th minute. It was his twelfth Champions League intention of the year which means all bets are off for the Golden Boot award. He hasn’t scored this a lot of Champions league targets given that he smashed 17 into the back again of the net back again in the 2013/fourteen campaign Jese Rodriguez sealed things with 4 minutes remaining.

Gentleman City (28/one)

If you extravagant an outdoors wager, then glimpse no even more than the 28/one getting available for a set of blue ribbons from Manchester getting slung all around the Champions League trophy.

City was immense absent at Dynamo Kyiv and are odds on to go by means of to the past eight for the very first time in the club’s heritage just after a snug 3-one victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo and the front three at Barcelona are anything distinctive. Sergio Aguero would not glimpse out of spot kicking the ball all around the park with any of them. David Silva is the key gentleman for City. He was at the coronary heart of all the things, but, far more importantly, was the solidity of the midfield and their desire to perform.

City will often rating targets.

It’s at the other finish in which their cracks start to look. Vincent Kompany seemed his regular fantastic self, but the relaxation of the back again line are very suspect, to say the minimum, but then yet again, so are Barcelona’s at moments.

In this article is a total rundown of the relaxation of the Spherical of 16 1st Leg effects.

Spherical of 16 Final results (1st Leg)

Paris St Germain two v one Chelsea

Benfica one v Zenit

Gent two v 3 Wolfsburg

Roma v two Actual Madrid

Arsenal v two Barcelona

Juventus two v two Bayern Munich

PSV Eindhoven v Athletic Madrid

Dynamo Kyiv one v 3 Gentleman City

Champions League Latest Odds

Barcelona seven/four

Bayern Munich 3/one

Actual Madrid 3/one

Paris St Germain nine/one

Athletico Madrid fourteen/one

Gentleman City 12/one

Chelsea 28/one

Juventus forty/one

Wolfsburg 66/one

Zenit 100/one

Benfica 150/one

Arsenal two hundred/one

PSV Eindhoven 150/one

Roma five hundred/one

Gent a thousand/one

Dynamo Kiev 2500/one



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