Thursday, November 2, 2023

Real Madrid, AC Milan in Champions League Semifinals


Real Madrid and AC Milan secured their places in the Champions League semifinals with impressive performances in Tuesday’s quarterfinal matches. Real Madrid defeated Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, completing an emphatic 4-0 aggregate victory over the struggling London club. Meanwhile, AC Milan reached the semis after a 1-1 draw with Napoli, securing a 2-1 aggregate victory over their fellow Italians.

Chelsea, with Frank Lampard back in the dugout for a second spell, came into the match with form and history against Real Madrid. They started brightly, playing enterprising football, but rued two huge missed chances in the first half that would have heaped pressure on the defending champions. The Spanish giants made Chelsea pay for their profligacy when Rodrygo scored in the 58th minute, and he doubled his tally with 10 minutes to go.

Real took the wind out of Chelsea’s sails with just over half an hour to go when Rodrygo scored from close range after an assist by Vinicius Juniors. Rodrygo found the net again in the 80th minute, tapping home after a clever assist from Federico Valverde. Chelsea, the 2021 European champions, have now lost all four of their matches since Lampard returned to the club as caretaker boss earlier this month in place of the sacked Graham Potter.

Real Madrid will likely play Manchester City in the semifinals with Pep Guardiola’s team 3-0 up against Bayern Munich after the first leg of their last-eight tie. AC Milan, on the other hand, defeated Napoli thanks to Olivier Giroud’s crucial goal in a 1-1 draw. The France striker’s 13th goal of the season saved his blushes after he missed a penalty midway through the first half.

Milan beat Napoli for the third time this month, with Rafael Leao once again key to their success. Giroud tapped in what turned out to be the decisive goal two minutes before the break after a blistering run from Leao. Stefano Pioli’s side now have the prospect of a local derby in the last four as Inter Milan hold a two-goal lead ahead of their second leg with Benfica on Wednesday night.

Milan have not contested a Champions League semifinal since they were crowned kings of Europe for the seventh and most recent time in 2007. Victor Osimhen scored in stoppage time, but it was not enough for Napoli, who are creaking as they come towards the end of what has been a phenomenal season. Napoli are on the verge of their first league title since 1990, but after being placed on the easier side of the draw, Tuesday’s exit was an underwhelming end to their European adventure.

In conclusion, Real Madrid and AC Milan produced impressive performances to secure their places in the Champions League semifinals. Real Madrid’s emphatic victory over Chelsea effectively ended the London club’s season, while AC Milan defeated Napoli thanks to Olivier Giroud’s crucial goal. Both teams will now look forward to the semifinals, where they will face tough opposition in Manchester City and potentially Inter Milan.

Latest stories