UEFA Champions League roundup: Real Madrid, Juventus join Barcelona, Bayern in semis (video)

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The semifinal field for the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League is set, following the last of the quarterfinal second leg matchups on Wednesday. Real Madrid and Juventus did just enough to knock off and outlast Atletico Madrid and Monaco, respectively, in a pair of low-scoring (one goal scored between the two games) affairs.

[ RECAPS: All of this week’s UCL action ]

Not to rush to judgment too quickly, but this year’s semifinal field is one of the best in recent memory, as Real and Juventus join Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the final four of the world’s most prestigious club competition. A quick recap of the work Real and Juve did on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals:

Real Madrid 1-0 (1-0 aggregate) Atletico Madrid

Over the course of 90 minutes on Wednesday, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez saw his stock among Real Madrid fans go from “zero,” to “less than zero,” to “hero.” The out-of-favor Mexican striker struggled mightily for 87 minutes to make the most of his chances, and would have been a likely scapegoat had Real been knocked out by their Madrid rivals, but Hernandez’s 88th-minute goal was the only one of the game and just enough to put Real through.

Cristiano Ronaldo is, as usual, the real star here, for his mazy dribble down the left side of Atleti’s defense, which came moments before he attracted the attention of two defenders and goalkeeper Jan Oblak and cleared the way for Hernandez to finish from 12 yards out.

It’s been a tumultuous last two seasons for Chicharito, which is what makes Thierry Henry’s post-game comments a tad strange.

Monaco 0-0 (0-1 aggregate) Juventus

Call it a stereotype, call it an unfair characterization, call it whatever you want, but Italian teams often times play — and succeeding with — organized, boring, defensive soccer in the Champions League.

Juventus did just that on Wednesday, stifling Monaco’s already blunt attack and holding the Ligue 1 side to a single shot on target (equal to that of their own lone shot on target), while creating just five shooting opportunities themselves.

They don’t award goals or progression for style points, and no one seems to know that better than these Champions League semifinalists.