Sunday 18 March 2018 / 05:07 AM

Then There Were Four

Pedro’s second half strike edged Barcelona through to the semi-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday night after a tense 1-1 draw against PSG at Camp Nou.


Following the sides 2-2 thriller in Paris a week ago, the Catalan giants were expected to progress with plenty in hand but they found themselves stunned five minutes into the second period as Javier Pastore netted to give the visitors a priceless aggregate lead.


With their backs firmly up to the wall, Carlo Ancelotti’s men managed to stave off a typical Barca onslaught for the next twenty minutes however their resolve was eventually broken when substitute Lionel Messi linked up with David Villa who fed Pedro to drill the ball past Salvatore Sirigu.


Andres Iniesta nearly gave Barcelona victory on the night but his narrow miss proved immaterial as the four times European champions closed the game out to reach the last four.


Bayern Munich are potential opponents for Barca in the next round after they eased past an out of sorts Juventus 0-2 in Turin to triumph 4-0 on aggregate.


Jupp Heynckes’ side travelled to Italy anticipating a riposte from the Bianconeri who had impressed so much in the tournament prior to the quarters.


Bayern never let their opponents back into the tie however and maintained absolute control of proceedings throughout the first half.


And their passage to the last four was confirmed shortly after the hour mark when Croatian hitman Mario Mandzukic buried the ball past Gianluigi Buffon who had weakly parried a Javi Martinez free kick.


Claudio Pizarro sealed Bayern’s success in stoppage time and the overall result will send a clear message out to Munich’s remaining European rivals considering that many thought the tie would be a closely run affair.


It will be an all-Spanish/German semi-final line-up following Tuesday night’s action where Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund won through their respective ties against Galatasaray and Malaga.


With one foot already in the semis heading to the Turk Telecom Arena, Real Madrid were seemingly well out of sight just eight minutes in as Cristiano Ronaldo scored to put Los Merengues 4-0 to the good on aggregate.


But Jose Mourinho’s men were rattled in the second half as Galatasaray dominated, hitting back and taking control of proceedings on the night with goals from Wesley Sneijder, Emmanuel Eboue and Didier Drogba.


Galatasaray still needed two more goals to pull off what would have been the greatest Champions League come-back in history, but their bubble was finally burst for good in injury time as Ronaldo bagged a second to complete a 5-3 aggregate win for the Galacticos.


Where Galatasaray failed to pull off the impossible, Borussia Dortmund succeeded after scoring twice in stoppage time to topple Malaga 3-2 at the Signal Iduna.


Joaquin and Eliseu twice gave Malaga the lead and the Spaniards were more or less waiting to celebrate a remarkable success as the clock ticked over the ninety minute mark.


Their dreams were shattered in unbelievable fashion however as Marko Reus and Felipe Santana struck within 90 seconds of each other to send Dortmund through to the sheer delight of their ever raucous home supporters.


With Spain and Germany’s biggest club adversaries advancing two explosive semi-finals are on the cards and the draw for the last four of this season’s Champions League takes place on Friday.

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Chris Kisby

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