With the UEFA Champions League semifinals kicking off on Tuesday, now is a good time to take a closer look at both encounters to see who will meet in the final in Cardiff on June 3.
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There’s a Madrid derby to look forward to, while Juve and Monaco clash with plenty of talented young attackers set to square off.
The final four of the UCL should be lots of fun.
Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid
First leg: At Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid – May 2, 2:45 p.m. ET
Second leg: At Vicente Calderon, Madrid – May 10, 2:45 p.m. ET
For the fourth season in a row these two teams meet in the UCL knockout rounds. After beating their crosstown rivals in two of the last three UCL finals, Real Madrid will be feeling confident of once again ruling the Spanish capital. Yet this promises to be a cagey affair as Diego Simeone’s side dig deep to thwart Zinedine Zidane’s stars. If feels like this could well be Antoine Griezmann’s moment to shine on the biggest stage of all and it also feels like Simeone’s final chance to win the UCL win Atletico before bigger projects perhaps call him, and several of his star players, elsewhere.
When these two teams last met in La Liga at the Bernabeu last month it was a 1-1 draw and that result would be huge for Atleti to take back to the Vicente Calderon with them as they look to send off their famous stadium in style before moving into their brand new home next season. With Gareth Bale out injured for the favorites to win the La Liga title, it could be over to Alvaro Morata to provide the goals for Real but Cristiano Ronaldo and Karem Benzema, as always, will take on most of the goalscoring burden. The midfield duo of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will have some battle against Gabi, Jimenez and Koke in midfield and this tie could well need extra time to see who goes through to the final. Real’s extra firepower could just prove the difference. Real Madrid to advance 2-1 on aggregate.
Monaco vs. Juventus
First leg: At Stade Louis II, Monaco – May 3, 2:45 p.m. ET
Second leg: At Juventus Stadium, Turin – May 9, 2:45 p.m. ET
How do you stop Monaco’s supercharged offense? That’s the same question everyone has been asking in France and Europe this season and, so far, nobody has come up with an answer. If anybody can, Juvetnus can as the Turin outfit haven’t conceded a UCL goal in 531 minutes. Led by Gianluigi Buffon in goal and the dependable Georgio Chielleni at the heart of their defense, the Italian champions will be the favorites to reach the final but will also be incredibly wary of Kylian Mbappe, Radamel Falcao plus the likes of Silva, Lemar and Carrillo as the supporting cast. Wherever you look, Monaco has goals as they’ve scored six over two games against both Man City and Borussia Dortmund so far in the knockout stages. They are being criminally underestimated.
That said, this is Juve. They just beat Barcelona 3-0 on aggregate in the quarterfinals and are the masters of putting together a defensive masterplan and executing it to perfection. Max Allegri’s men also have some star attackers of their own with Paulo Dybala improving by the week and Gonzalo Higuain the prototypical predator. Expect these two games to deliver plenty of drama, and goals, but the experience of the Italian champs should seem them through. Just. Juventus to advance 3-2 on aggregate.