By Niall Clarke
- Manchester City 0-0 Real Madrid
- Atletico Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich
- Second legs of the semi finals are next week
Manchester City were held to a goalless draw at home against Real Madrid on Tuesday whilst Atletico Madrid take a 1-0 lead to the Allianz arena next week against Bayern Munich.
Stalemate in Manchester
For a game between two teams known more for their attacking prowess rather than their defensive stability, this Champions League semi final first leg turned out to be a disappointment.
Both sides were cagey and rather unwilling to engage in the first half with a goal either side possibly being a huge implication for the second leg in Madrid next week.
Manchester City looked the more threatening in a rather lifeless 45 minutes as Real Madrid struggled to create any danger without Cristiano Ronaldo in the side.
The introduction of Jese Rodriguez for the second half gave the Spanish side a bit more spark going forward but they were unable to find the back of the net. The Spaniard came close by hitting the bar, and Joe Hart was forced into a point blank save late on, but other than that there was not much action to speak of.
“We played a very intense game and defended well. We tried to create until David Silva got injured then we lost the ball too much. If you cannot win then a 0-0 draw is good.” City boss, Manuel Pellegrini, said post match via BBC Sport.
“We knew they were going to play a slow game and that is why we pressed as a team. When we had the ball, we could not make the difference. We could not score.”
This result leaves the second leg firmly poised with Ronaldo set to return to the side. Real Madrid will bring more going forward with their star man back a well as being in front of their home fans. City will be glad not to have conceded an away goal, and if they can grab the first goal in Madrid then who knows what might happen? With both sides unlikely to want extra time, the second leg should be a more open and entertaining affair no matter the result.
Atletico edge Bayern in Madrid
With Bayern’s goal scoring form at home, many felt that a 0-0 draw like their neighbours the night before would not do. So when you need a goal, you better call Saul. His stunning individual effort inside the opening 15 minutes was enough to separate the sides and give Atletico the advantage heading into the second leg.
The finalists two years a go were their usual rock solid selves, making life difficult for the opposition and remaining steady in defence. Bayern could barely get past the red and white wall as Diego Simeone’s side looked to protect their early lead.
David Alaba came the closest with a thunderous 40 yard strike in the second half which hit the crossbar. Fernando Torres was close to doubling Atletico’s lead, but his outside of the boot effort struck the post. Arturo Vidal had a few chances including in stoppage time, but he was unable to beat Jan Oblak in the Atletico goal. The Slovenian recently set a club record of clean sheets in a single season- a record that he extended with another fine performance tonight.
It is advantage Atletico Madrid heading into the second leg next Tuesday. They only need to keep another clean sheet to secure qualification to the final for the second time in three seasons. On that occasion they were seconds away from defeating Real Madrid in the final, but they ended up conceding late on and losing 4-1 after extra time. Will we see another Madrid derby in the Champions League final?
The semi final second legs will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
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