What the Four Clubs Learned from the Champions League Semifinal First Legs

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It was a fascinating two days of European football as the Champions League served up a pair of wonderful games in midweek. As we wait for the second legs to kick-off next week, let’s take a look at what lessons each of the four participating clubs learned from the first leg.

Despite not being filled with goals, the semi-finals brought up some interesting tactical battles that showcased the best that Europe’s top clubs have to offer. From the meticulousness of Pep Guardiola to the relentlessness of Thomas Tuchel and much more, there was plenty to talk about.

real madrid

Real Madrid

In a way, Real must consider themselves extremely lucky to be heading into the second leg on level terms. The Spanish side weren’t at their best as Chelsea dominated the proceedings staged at their practice facility, but they still managed to stay stalemated.

Karim Benzema will once again have an important role to play next week and Real will hope the Frenchman can fire. Although it’s knotted up 1-1, Chelsea do have an away goal on the ledger, so they’ll bring that advantage to the second leg, which will be staged at their home ground.

Chelsea

There will only be one word on the minds of Tuchel and his players, finishing. If they had been clinical in front of goal, the Blues could have taken the tie away from Real. Christian Pulisic got loose and converted early, and the ease with which he scored made many observers of the match believe that the visitors would run away with it.

However, Timo Werner misfired, and the English giants as a team simply wasted a great opportunity. Now they are in a bit of a precarious position in the second leg. They do have the away goal and the home field advantage, but if they concede just once next week, they will have to be kicking themselves for the position they would then be in, having squandered opportunity.

The first leg also served a reminder of what an incredible player N’Golo Kante is.

Paris Saint-Germain

For the first 63 minutes, PSG were having the perfect semifinal first leg. They were leading and the advantage looked comfortable against a City team that looked a bit out of sorts.

But all of that changed within 15 minutes as they conceded two goals and went a player down as well. PSG weren’t as intense after opening the scoring as they were before that first goal and the French club paid the price dearly for that. This along with two defensive lapses means they are in a tough position.

City has to be feeling pretty good in this match-up of the the world’s only two clubs owned by rich petrolstates.

Manchester City

City looked like they were tired and bereft of ideas for almost two thirds of the game. They then found their rhythm and completely turned the tie on its head. Now they are on the verge of making sure the French powerhouse remains without their first UCL title.

With two away goals, they hold a big advantage heading home for the second leg. As long as they don’t let Kylian Mbappe and Neymar run at their defence, they should be looking forward to the final.

 

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