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Semi-Finalists To emerge In UEFA Champions League

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 Semi-Finalists To emerge In UEFA Champions League

This week’s results in second leg quarter final football matches will produce semi-finalist for the 2021/2022 European Champions League tournament. Four games were played last week and the pairings recorded two home wins and an equal number of away victories. Real Madrid of Spain goes into today’s game on the back of a resounding 3-1 away win over defending champions, Chelsea of England, while Villarreal of Spain travels to Germany to face Bayern Munich with a slim 1-0 home win advantage. Manchester City of England journeys to Spain to confront Atletico Madrid on Wednesday after managing a 1-0 victory at the Etihad in the first leg. The second game of the night will see Liverpool of England playing Benfica of Portugal after triumphing 3-1 in the first leg at the Estadio da Luz. These games will be entertaining as they will be dramatic.

Real Madrid has one foot in the semi-final after that Karim Benzema’s master-class at Stamford Bridge where he recorded a deserved hat trick on a night when Chelsea players were flatfooted in front of goal. This return leg should be a play in the garden for the Spanish side as Benzema is in sparkling form at the moment and he can count on incisive support from Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and other members of Madrid’s attack squadron. But Mason Mount and Timo Werner can be dangerous going forward for Chelsea in Madrid’s box.

Villarreal will find the Alianz Arena in Germany constricting, almost caving in on them, when they line out against Bayern. The German team will be looking to erase the 1-0 advantage of the Spanish side and the team seems capable of overturning the table if they fire with precision. With players like Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Robert Lewandowski, qualification into the Semis should pose no problems. But Villarreal have exquisite quality in Unai Emery their coach, and in players like Arnaut Danjuma, who scored the only goal in the first leg, Gerard Moreno and the Nigerian international, Samuel Chukwueze.

Manchester city of England will find it hard to prise the lid off Atletico Madrid. Already blacklisted by some as proponents of unattractive soccer tricks, Diego Simeone’s side has a fair chance of cancelling the one goal deficit they suffered in England. On home turf at the Wanda Metropolitano, the Spanish side will dig deep into their bag of skills and tricks and they can also count on home support to hit Pep Guardiola’s side when and where it will count. Players like Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix, and Luis Suarez will harass City’s defense relentlessly until it caves in. On the other hand, Manchester City can only survive the onslaught if they play with that trademark dazzle and composure that saw Kevin De Bruyne scoring in the 70th minute in the first leg tie.

It is almost certain that Liverpool will make it into the semi-final stage. With a comfortable away win in the kitty, Jurgen Kloop’s side has no reason to throw the advantage into the mud. Smarting from a thrilling 2-2 weekend draw against Manchester City, the English side may be a little rusty in the game. But Benfica didn’t impress much in the first leg to assure fans that she can cause an upset and make it into the semis.

The outcomes of these games seem almost certain. But football is colorful and dramatic as well, given to all kinds of fallouts. It could all change within a flash. And that is why all the teams will be playing with passion and caution. For any of the teams that makes it into the semis, that will mean just one more intense stage away from a glorious final in Paris on 28 May.

Steve Ogah
Steve Ogah
Novelist, Poet & Essayist, Steve's the author of Barack Obama's Logic & the novels; Khaki Boy & Freedom Campus. Steve is a UEFA accredited Sports Media Rep.