Now that is how to win football games
Exceptional defensively, that is how to defend a lead and shake up the Spanish Armada. For Juventus were outstandingly well organised and have sent Barcelona – one of the tournament favourites with sports betting fans – out at the quarter-final stage for the second year running.
Elsewhere, the betting odds on Monaco progressing further than the Catalans in Europe’s premier club competition would have paid dividends and, sure enough, the French club is through to the last four for the first time in 13 years.
Barcelona 0-0 (0-3 on agg.) Juventus
Well it was always likely to be mission impossible but who’d have thought Barcelona would fail to score over 180 minutes. That they never truly threatened Gigi Buffon in the Juve goal spoke volumes. For the Italians are the well-drilled outfit they claim to be – no wonder they have only conceded two goals in the whole tournament so far. Realistically, this Juventus side is not as talented as the team which reached the 2015 final when they were defeated by the Catalan giants.
However, this Barca side is not either and – the Copa del Rey aside – Luis Enrique’s tenure seems set to end with a whimper unless they can bounce back and win El Clasico at the weekend. In contrast, Juve are on course for a sixth straight Serie A and now 180 minutes from the final in Cardiff on June 3. If this was the irresistible force against the immovable object, there’s no doubt who came out on top!
Monaco 3-1 (6-3 on agg.) Borussia Dortmund
In the end it was comfortable for the principality. The sheer joy inside the Stade Louis II stadium when Valere Germain sealed the tie moments after coming on was evident. This exciting, young attacking force – with a few wise old heads – are in the last four on merit and will potentially trouble most teams with their relentless attacking. Defensively, they may not be ready to win the Champions League but their presence in the semi-finals is justified and confirms them as the surprise package of this season’s competition.
Dortmund can have no complaints about the result. Their involvement this past week may have been overshadowed by the exploding bombs near their team bus ahead of the first leg. They were even delayed for 20 minutes by police en-route to this second leg. Both incidents seem to have summed up their fate this past eight days. By the time they woke up on the pitch, it was too late.