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Four things to expect in the UEFA Champions League semi-final ties

Tuesday 9th May 2017
The Champions League semi-finals returns after a hectic weekend of football across Europe. The last four teams will come up against each other as the race for a place in the Champions League final intensifies with Real and Juventus taking a first leg advantage, against Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco respectively.

The games will have plenty of expectation on their shoulders, as teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have been eliminated in the last 8 of the competition. These games promise to be a high profile encounters as some of the best teams and players in the world will lock horns against each other in the premier competition across Europe.

Four teams are left in the semi-finals stage as Juventus take on French outfit and surprise package, AS Monaco, while the Los Blancos under the managerial influence of club legend Zinedine Zidane head across the city to take on Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid side.

With massive games and competition brewing among these teams, there are certainly some features and things to look forward to in these games.

The Flaming Talent of Mbappe

The young talent has been a revelation in the current campaign, as he has terrorised defences with his silky touches and quality displays in the Champions League. Let's not forget, he also broke a record becoming the youngest player to score in four consecutive knockout phase matches.

The youngster, born of a Cameroonian father and an Algerian mother will certainly be on show alongside the experience of veteran forward Radamel Falcao as they set to take on Juventus in their return leg.

The French starlet will be a threat to the Italian side that bundled Spanish giant FC Barcelona out of the competition (with Neymar Jnr crying after the final whistle) as the Catalans failed to score a goal in both legs. His quality and clinical ability in front of goal will be put to the test against the resolute display of the Serie A outfit Juventus when both sides take to the pitch in earnest.

Goal rush from Cristiano Ronaldo

The talismanic forward will take centre stage in the return leg of the Champions League semi-final, as his major rival, Lionel Messi, who scored a brace in the El Clasico matches at the Bernabeu Stadium, have been bundled out of the competition by the robust Italian side Juventus.

The forward who gave Madrid the breakthrough at the weekend with a towering header against Valencia reached a landmark in the Champions League, becoming the first player to net a centurion of goals in the Champions League, ahead of stern rival Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo scored twice in the first leg to hand Real Madrid a 2-1 away victory at the Allianz Arena, followed by a hat-trick in the second leg at the Bernabeu to guide his side to the last four.

He also got another hat-trick(no surprise as regards to his pedigree in the competition) against Atletico in the first leg. Now, the world expects him to put an icing on the cake when they take on Madrid in the return game.

Tactical Discipline from Atletico Madrid

This season the Spanish side has walked their way out of the tight corners on the virtue of tactical discipline and positional play exhibited by Atletico Madrid. This tactical awareness and team dynamics shown by Atleti saw them knock out Barcelona from the semi-final stage last season.

Simeone's robust and cagey approach saw his team get a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu in La Liga recently, thanks to the equaliser from none other than Antoine Griezmann.

With the stage getting set for the second leg, expect another tactical shift that will see Greizmann and Kevin Grameiro be deployed to make runs in behind the Madrid defence in order to try and catch Los Blancos out on the counter attack.

Juventus' Defensive Connotation

The Old Lady will be employing another defensive system in an attempt to curb the lethal partnership of Mbappe and Falcao in transition. The Italian side has a very solid defensive attitude, fronted by the trio of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli who tend to line up as a back three.

The defensive attitude has aided the likes of Paulo Dybala and Higuain in transition allowing the Italian side to maintain a tight back line, whilst the attackers are given the freedom to roam around the field in an attempt to unsettle the opposing defenders.

The experience of Gianluigi Buffon will come handy when Juventus look to hold on against a talented AS Monaco side. The shots will no doubt be coming in thick and fast from the likes of the aforementioned duo of Mbappe and Falcao.
Obiweluozo Martins

A passionate sports writer who looks around the world for football matches. I follow the major leagues in Europe and of course the Champions League. I'm also a lover of International football as well as watching the beautiful game from South America and Africa.

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