Atletico vs Real: Five talking points

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Atletico Madrid host city rivals Real on Wednesday night aiming to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Here, we takes a look at some talking points ahead of the tie.

REAL FANS THINK IT IS ALL OVER

After the events of last Tuesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu, and another hat-trick for Cristiano Ronaldo, Real fans could be forgiven if they had already started planning a trip to European club football’s showpiece event in Cardiff on June 3.

No team has overturned more than a one-goal deficit after the first leg of a Champions League semi-final. And don’t forget Real are still gloating from a penalty shoot-out victory over Atletico in last season’s final as well as a 4-1 win in Lisbon three years ago.

A GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR THE HOSTS

Diego Simeone’s men did record a 4-0 triumph in their February 2015 LaLiga clash. On that occasion goals from Tiago, Saul Niguez, Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic sealed Real’s worst loss since they were humbled 5-0 by rivals Barcelona in 2010.

While a repeat looks highly unlikely, in any given 90 minutes of football, pretty much anything can happen – as Paris Saint-Germain found out when they strolled into Barcelona 4-0 up from the first leg of their last 16 encounter.

THE CASE FOR THE DEFENCE

Real’s LaLiga thrashing two years ago came during a defensive injury crisis. Centre-backs Raphael Varane and Pepe have both shaken off niggles, but the latter has not played for a month and Zinedine Zidane may well err on the side of caution.

However, with the likes of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio and Alvaro Morata all at his disposal, even if Wales forward Gareth Bale remains sidelined, don’t expect anything else than a formidable frontline ready to kill off the tie at the earliest opportunity.

ATLETICO’S VICENTE CALDERON SWANSONG

Traditionally, the Vicente Calderon has proved one of the most intimidating venues of European football. From next season, though, Atletico’s 51-year residency will come to an end when the club moves to the new 67,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano in the north of the Spanish capital, which is in the running to host the 2019 Champions League final.

A final European tie is sure to be an emotional occasion – but one which both Los Colchoneros’ players and fans alike must not let get to them if they are to all pull together and produce a comeback fitting for the Vincente Calderon’s Champions League send-off before the area is converted into flats.

ZIDANE VOWS NOT TO SIT BACK

“We are not going to change the way we play,” declared Real Madrid coach Zidane as he faced the media ahead of Wednesday night’s showdown. Given the displays of his team in recent weeks, with a much-changed line-up sweeping past relegated Granada in their last outing, you would not expect anything else.

Real have scored 24 goals in their last seven outings in all competitions, and Los Blancos are currently on a run of having scored in each of their last 60 games in all competitions.


Provide by AFP

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Juventus v Monaco: 7 Deadly Stats

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Juventus welcomed Monaco to Turin in complete command of their Champions League semi-final tie, holding a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Monaco. It always seemed too big a mountain for Monaco to climb, and so it proved to be.

Like in the first leg, Monaco made the brighter start, only to be pegged back by a classic Juventus counter, Mario Mandzukic finishing off a move that began with Gianluigi Buffon collecting a Monaco corner. It was 2-0 soon after, Dani Alves crashing home an unstoppable shot from outside the box.

Kylian Mbappe scored for Monaco in the second half, but it was scant consolation as Juventus closed out the game to move onto next month’s final in Cardiff.

Here are seven deadly stats from the game.

MONACO’S BRIGHT START

Knowing that scoring early was their best chance of mounting an unlikely comeback, Monaco began the night on the front foot, with Juventus penned in for the first ten minutes of the game.

Mbappe was a constant threat, taking on Andrea Barzagli time and again down Juventus’ right-hand side.

Despite the pressure, however, there were no clear-cut scoring opportunities. Mbappe’s crosses for Falcao were handled with ease by the Juventus defence, and the young Frenchman was unable to forge any chances for himself.

JUVENTUS SET NEW DEFENSIVE RECORD

This back three of Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, and Leonardo Bonucci, along with Gianluigi Buffon in goal, may end up going down in history as one of the best defences ever, and they’ve certainly burnished those credentials during this Champions League campaign.

Record after record has been broken during Juventus’ run to the final, with this latest one setting them apart among Italian sides.

Although they were finally breached later in the night, this group is on the verge of becoming legendary.

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, TRY AND TRY AGAIN…

After Monaco’s bright started faded, their back line started coming under pressure from Mario Mandzukic and the rest of the Juventus attack.

It was the Croat who posed the biggest threat, firing wide before drawing an excellent save from compatriot Danijel Subasic.

He drew an even better save from a point-black header just minutes later, but the rebound fell kindly for him, and he duly fired Juventus into the lead.

DANI ALVES, JUVE’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MVP

This Juventus side has become known for its excellent defence, so it’s only fitting that its most influential attacking player is a defender.

Right-back Dani Alves has excelled going forward for the Italian side, and he capped a virtuoso display across the two legs of the semi-final with a stunning goal to put Juventus up 2-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate.

He was the creator of Juventus’ first goal as well, although it won’t go down as an assist as Mandzukic’s initial header from his cross was saved. Shame.

MONACO’S FREE-FLOWING ATTACK TAMED

Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim made it a point to mention that his side had the same number of shots on target as Juventus in the first leg, and the Italian side had simply done better at converting their chances. It was a way of saying that despite the seeming gulf between the two sides and the two-goal deficit, Monaco still had a chance.

Juventus debunked that theory in the first half on Tuesday. Monaco’s attack, the highest-scoring in Europe, didn’t have a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.

Despite having heaps of possession, Monaco never truly threatened the Juventus goal, and they watched their unlikely comeback become impossible.

MBAPPE GETS HIS GOAL

Kylian Mbappe has been the feel-good story of the Champions League knockout stages, and it would have been a shame if he exited this year’s edition without one last goal.

While he would have began the night dreaming of leading his side to a historic comeback, his goal ended up being a consolation one, but it made history nonetheless.

He may never come up against Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon again, but he’ll always have a goal against the legendary Italian in his resume.

JUVENTUS’ BBC IMPERIOUS

With Real Madrid holding a 3-0 lead going into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, there is every chance that Juventus will come up against the famed Los Blancos ‘BBC’ front line – Bale, Benzema, and Cristiano.

If they do, they’ll counter with a BBC of their own.

Bonucci, Barzagli, and Chiellini have been a wall at the back for Juventus, and they showed it again on Tuesday.

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Juventus 2-0 Monaco: In focus - Gonzalo Higuain versus Radadmel Falcao, how the pair fared

Alex Rea 10/05/2017
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A stunning Dani Alves volley helped Juventus stroll into their second Champions League final in three years on Tuesday as a 2-1 win on the night completed a 4-1 aggregate victory over outclassed Monaco.

Brazilian wing-back Alves’s 25-yard strike followed Mario Mandzukic’s opener for the treble-chasing Italian champions as any semblance of a contest was snuffed out by half-time.

Teenage superstar Kylian Mbappe pulled a goal back for the principality club after the break, his sixth of the competition.

But there was never any realistic prospect of them threatening to overturn a 2-0 deficit from last week’s first leg.

It will be the ninth time Juventus, runners-up in 2015, have contested the final of Europe’s elite club competition.

Here we take an in-depth look at two of the key protagonists.

Basic stats

Higuain

Goals – 0

Shots – 3

Shots on target – 1

Touches – 52

Key passes – 1

Dribbles – 3

Dispossessed – 6

Aerials won – 1

Falcao

Goals – 0

Shots – 1

Shots on target – 0

Touches – 28

Key passes – 0

Dribbles – 0

Dispossessed – 1

Aerials won – 0

Effectiveness

Higuain

The 29-year-old is one of the world’s premier No9’s but he didn’t showcase that tonight. For how good his finishing was in Monaco, you would have expected him to finish the opportunities which came his way at the Juventus Stadium.

But it’s a real tactical masterclass from boss Max Allegri to get the best from him because the 3-4-2-1 leaves them so secure in midfield, it takes all the pressure off Higuain to press the ball.

With Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic in behind as well he had immediate support all night and both of them provided him with two openings, which while they weren’t clear cut, he could have done better with.

On another night, his finishing could have cost them but he did create the space in order to fashion the chances in the first place and this team is set-up to find him – his former employers Real Madrid will be wary of that should they get through in the other semi-final.

Falcao

For much of this season, Manchester United and Chelsea fans have been left bemused by the Colombian’s resurgence.

He’s been a throwback to the gloriously classic centre forward this term but tonight they would have recognised this version of the 31-year-old.

The Monaco skipper looked short of energy and was simply a throwback to the man who had two unsuccessful loan stints in the Premier League.

He, too, had his chances though and he twice came within a whisker of scoring. Giorgio Chiellini a colossal figure for Juve, first got in front of the Colombian to head away a Benajmin Mendy cross and then his last-ditch tackle diverted another cross out when Falcao was waiting at the back post.

Key moments

Higuain

22nd min: The Argentine should have opened the scoring. Monaco failed to deal with a ball forward and Higuain is freed on the right-side of the box and his dinked effort fools Monaco stopped Danijel Subasic but the lack of pace on the back enabled the backtracking Kamil Glik to hack away.

23rd min: Just superb football from the hosts as Higuain collected the ball on the edge of the area, snuck a well disguised pass through to Mario Mandzukic but the Croatian’s poked effort is well blocked by Subasic.

36th min: Another good opening for Higuain saw Mandzukic turn creator as deep inside his own half he sent a long pass which Higuain latched onto. He found room to shape and shoot from the edge of the area and he forced a good low save from Subasic.

Falcao

18th min: Kylian Mbappe swivelled on the ball just outside the box and the teenager spread the ball out to the left for Bejamin Mendy, who fizzed a cracking ball into the box but Juve’s Giorgio Chiellini just got across Falcao to head wide.

31st min: Bernardo Silva lofted a long free-kick into the box and the Colombian, with a crowd of players around him, delightfully takes the ball in with a sumptuous touch but his lashed effort was parried away from Gigi Buffon with the lurking Mbappe offside.

39th min: Falcao went into the book with an atypical striker’s challenge as he clumsily bundled down Alex Sandro just inside his own half for a yellow card.

Our verdict

Higuain

Full of energy and desperate to score but his finishing ultimately let him down this evening.

He’s one goal away from clinching the best single season record for goals scored in all competitions from a Juventus player as he sits on 32.

It won’t be long until he breaks that record, though.

6/10

Falcao

The 31-year-old looks like he is running out of legs as the tale of his heartwarming rebirth reaches its end this season.

He wasn’t clinical enough when he needed to be but Falcao is back among the world’s best forwards, even if he didn’t necessarily prove that across the two semi-final ties.

6/10

Your verdict

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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