With the conclusion of two more quarterfinal matches on Wednesday, the semifinals are set for the 2014 Champions League. And, for the first time since 2007, four-time champions Barcelona find themselves on the outside-looking-in.
Barcelona lost its quarterfinal match Wednesday to La Liga leader Atletico Madrid, 1-0, resulting in a cumulative 2-1 aggregate loss. Unfortunately for Messi and company, Atletico's dominance over Barcelona has been consistent all season, with Atletico holding Barca scoreless for three of their five matches. Even more impressive is the fact that Atletico has held Messi, who is averaging over one goal per game, scoreless in all five contests.
— Atleti English (@atletienglish) April 9, 2014
With its advance to the semifinals, Atletico Madrid has its best opportunity to win the Champions League since it finished as a runner-up in 1974.
Those chances seemingly become even greater if they meet reining Champions League champions Bayern Munich in the semifinals, a team which struggled against the defensive pressure exhibited by the flailing Manchester United F.C. in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Champions League semifinalists: Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea. #UCLonFOX
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) April 9, 2014
Bayern Munich came into the Champions League as the heavy favorite, having won the Bundesliga title just weeks ago and having lost its first contest in 54 league games this past Saturday.
Wednesday's match-up against Manchester United on Wednesday, though, had pressure that Bayern is not used to playing under. Having played Bayern to a draw in their first contest, all Manchester had to do to advance to the Champions League semifinals was outscore Bayern by one to win the aggregate.
By the 57th minute of Wednesday's contest, luck seemed to be shining on United as Patrice Evra buried a shot in the top-right corner of the net to put Manchester up 1-0.
Seeing its dominant year flash before its eyes, Bayern Munich decided to up its game in the final 33 minutes, scoring 3 goals and defeating Manchester United by an aggregate of 4-2.
While this was the expected result for Bayern Munich, it was the end of a very disappointed season for Manchester United. The team currently sits in seventh place in the Premiere League, a league which it won by 11 points last year. With the loss against Bayern Munich, Manchester United is assured they will not see Champions League play again for another 17 months, missing the cut for qualification for the 2014-15 season.
David Moyes: "My focus now is on getting this team back in the competition. Hopefully it will only be one year where we have to rebuild."
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 9, 2014
Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich join Chelsea and Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals.
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