Champions League Set For Thrilling Semifinals


Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud combined for a crucial goal against Napoli. (Courtesy of Twitter)

And then there were four. Over the past few weeks, the quarterfinals of the Champions League took place. As a reminder, the winner of the tie is determined by the aggregate score of the two legs. If the aggregate score is tied after the second leg, extra time and, if needed, penalties are used to determine the winner. With that out of the way, here were the four quarterfinal clashes:

Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich

Benfica vs. Inter Milan

AC Milan vs. Napoli

Real Madrid vs. Chelsea

In a blockbuster clash, City faced off against German giants Bayern. In the first leg, City stormed to a 3-0 home victory to give them a huge advantage going into the second leg. In the return leg, Bayern tried to get off on the strong foot but weren’t able to. City scored first in the 57th minute courtesy of Erling Haaland to put the tie to bed. Bayern were able to get a consolation goal in the 83rd minute courtesy of a penalty. When the final whistle blew, it ended 1-1 on the night with City punching their ticket to the semifinals 4-1 on aggregate.

In the Benfica vs. Inter tie, Inter scored the opener in the first leg in the 51st minute. Then they doubled their advantage in the 82nd minute to take a 2-0 aggregate lead into the second leg. In the second leg, Inter struck first again in the 14th minute. Benfica then struck back to level the score on the night in the 38th minute and make it 3-1 on aggregate. Then in the second half, Inter scored two more goals in the 65th and 78th minutes to make it a 3-1 score on the night to put the tie out of reach for Benfica. However, in the final five minutes, Benfica scored two quickfire goals to make it 3-3 on the night. However it was too little, too late as the game ended 3-3 with Inter progressing 5-3 on aggregate.

In another clash was AC Milan vs. runaway league leaders Napoli. It was a close contest throughout the first leg. Milan were able to get the lone goal in the 40th minute courtesy of Ismael Bennacer to take a slim 1-0 lead into the second leg. In the second leg, Milan were awarded a penalty early in the game but were unable to convert it and left the door for Napoli to tie the aggregate score. However, right before the end of the first half Milan scored to make it 1-0 on the night and double their aggregate score. Napoli were able to get a goal in the 93rd minute to make it a mad dash, but it wasn’t enough. With the second leg ending 1-1, Milan advanced to the semifinal 2-1 on aggregate.

Real Madrid topped Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. (Courtesy of Twitter)

In the final quarterfinal leg, it was a rematch of one of last year’s quarter final clashes of Real Madrid vs. Chelsea. In the first leg, Madrid scored first courtesy of Karim Benzema in the 21st minute. Madrid then doubled their advantage in the 74th minute to take a 2-0 aggregate score into the second leg. In the second leg, Chelsea came out strong and had several great chances to score and bring themselves back into the tie. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert any of them which ended up costing them. In the second half, Madrid opened the scoring with Rodrygo who made it 3-0 on aggregate. Rodrygo then struck again in the 80th minute to end the tie. With Madrid winning 2-0 on the night, they advanced to yet another semifinal 4-0 on aggregate.

With only four teams left, here are the semifinals:

Real Madrid vs. Manchester City

Inter Milan vs. AC Milan

The first semifinal is a repeat of last year’s where Madrid came from behind to knock City out of the competition, scoring two goals in stoppage time to force extra time. It’s a battle from a team who hasn’t won the competition against the 14-time kings of the competition. City have come so close in recent years but haven’t been able to lift the coveted Champions League. If this tie brings half of what last year’s clash had, this should be another exciting matchup.

The other semifinal is Inter vs. Milan in a Milan derby. The last time that there was a Milan derby in the Champions League was the 2004-2005 quarter finals with Milan advancing 5-0 on aggregate. This was when the second leg had to be suspended due to Inter fans throwing flares onto the pitch. With both of these teams having such a history between each other, expect this to be an exciting clash between these two Italian heavyweights. With only four teams left, each team is one step away from reaching the final as they try to lift one of soccer’s most prestigious trophies.