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Champions League

Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich: The Talking Points

Real Madrid thrashed ten-man Bayern Munich 4-2 in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final tie. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sumptuous hat trick as he became the first player ever to reach 100 Champions League goals. The match went to extra time as the regulated time saw the two teams level on aggregate. Arturo Vidal’s sending off in the second half restricted the visitors to ten men, which ultimately proved the difference as Madrid took advantage of the extra man to score two more goals.

Even though the first half was goalless, it certainly wasn’t boring as both the sides created plenty of chances. Bayern came closest to opening the scoring when Alcantara’s effort was brilliantly blocked by Marcelo. It was almost certainly bound to find the net, however, Marcelo’s presence of mind helped Madrid avert what could’ve been a calamitous goal. Madrid’s best chance in the first half fell to Ramos. This was the star centre back’s 100th UCL appearance, and he came agonisingly close to marking it with a goal but for Boateng’s superb goal line clearance. He later scored an own goal but partly made amends for it by assisting Ronaldo’s second goal, who also squandered a good chance when he shot straight at Neuer. After being sent through on goal by Modric, he chose to have a go himself, when he could’ve squared the ball to Benzema who was in a much better position.

The second half was much more eventful. Casemiro gave away a penalty as he tripped Robben in the box. Lewandowski made no mistake from the spot and slotted the ball past Keylor Navas. Ronaldo levelled back in the 76th minute with a cool header, but Ramos scored an own goal just two minutes later to put the sides level on aggregate. Vidal was then sent off after a second booking for a challenge on Lucas Vazquez. The booking, which looked harsh considering the fact that Casemiro had survived after making similar challenges, ultimately changed the game as Bayern had to battle with a man less on the field. The game was sent to extra time as the teams were level on aggregate after 90 minutes.

It was apparently Ronnie time and not extra time, as he scored two more goals against a hapless and tired Bayern. His second, supplied by Ramos, shouldn’t have stood as Ronaldo was clearly offside. His third, the landmark 100th UCL goal, was assisted by his best pal Marcelo, who embarked on a sublime run, beating the entire Bayern defence single-handedly, before slotting it towards Ronaldo, who put it in the empty net. The goal all but confirmed the win, but if there still remained any doubts, Asensio put them to rest. He scored a brilliant individual goal to send Bayern crashing out of the UCL.

With this win, Real Madrid became the second Semi-Finalists this year from their city, as their cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid also cruised to the next stage after putting an end to Leicester City’s fairy-tale run.

Here are the Talking Points from Real Madrid 4-2 Bayern Munich.

Ronaldo Certainly isn’t ‘Past It’ yet

Ronaldo regained his elite status by scoring three goals on a night which mattered the most, making it five goals from a tie against a team which many predicted would go on to win the UCL this time around. Even though none of his goals were anything special, they were a poacher’s goals as he made his runs perfectly. He does deserve the landmark goal as well, and this tie has, on its own, erased the disappointments of his sub-par season. He might not be in the prime of his career anymore, but he certainly isn’t ‘past it’ yet.

Refereeing Not Up to European Standards

This season we’ve seen many decisions in the UCL which make us wonder why video technology hasn’t been integrated yet. After the Barça-PSG game, this was another shocker for the refs. They were wrong on numerous occasions, most notably allowing Ronaldo’s second goal, which was clearly offside, and Vidal’s sending off, which was a tad harsh. The refs should’ve certainly sent off Casemiro for his bookable challenge on Robben, but failed to do so. Lewandowski was adjudged offside in the 66th minute, when he clearly wasn’t, and could’ve very easily scored a goal. The extent of the referees’ mistakes could well be imagined by the way they gave a goal kick post Carvajal’s shot, when it was so clear that it had been parried away by Neuer that even Keylor Navas could’ve observed it (Well, not literally!).

Lahm and Alonso: Two Contrasting Legends

As already confirmed, this is a swansong year for two of Bayern’s World Cup winners, but the way they’ve played recently has been very different. Alonso looked off the pace, and struggled to battle the vigorous Madrid midfield because of his stamina. Lahm, on the other hand, played so well that one wonders if he’s actually in the twilight of his career. The way he completed those pin-point crosses and timed his tackles, he can certainly go on for 2 or even 3 more years at the top level.

Fatigue Costs Bayern

Bayern struggled to match their opponents in extra time as they were clearly extremely tired. The Bundesliga isn’t as physically demanding as the La Liga, and that was proven here as Bayern’s players were left fatigued. This was also partly because of Vidal’s sending off that made the game more demanding, but the way Marcelo ran past the Bayern defenders for Ronaldo’s third clearly showed how tired their players actually were. They need to work on it in order to challenge for the title next season.

Asensio- Future Superstar?

Marco Asensio already looks like a future superstar. His sublime assist for Ronaldo in the first leg was commendable, and his solo goal tonight was absolutely stunning as well. The young Spaniard, who has announced himself to the football world with these two great displays, clearly deserves the applauds. Zidane has shown that he trusts him, and now he just needs to keep his head, work even harder, be more consistent, and he’ll be a future superstar in no time.

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