The first leg of the 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League semifinal encounters has come and gone. Two nights of quality European club football that saw the favorites in both ties gather the spoils from their opponents. Two nights of footballing action where two key players for their respective clubs stood to be counted. It was a tale of two attackers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain.
Real Madrid emerged with an impressive victory as they routed City rivals, Atletico Madrid by 3 un-replied goals at the Bernabeu, all from one player, a hat-trick for the ruthless Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star man has emerged a ruthless goal-hound in these knockout stages as he bangs in the goals, game after game irrespective of the venue. I guess no would want to bet against him scoring at the Vicente Calderon.
The Argentine, Gonzalo Higuain was the star of the semifinal first leg for Juventus. He undoubtedly took the ‘shine’ mantle from Paulo Dybala as he provided 2 goals that’ll give Juventus maximum comfort as they welcome Monaco to Turin a few days from now.
Monaco who we had previously tipped to be the dark horses of the competition may have finally met their match, and subsequently their end. Juventus failed to concede again. They’ve kept clean sheets in 3 games against brilliant attacking sides in these knockout stages. Two games against Barcelona and one against Monaco. Their defensive prowess is obviously not a fluke.
Five goals were scored in these first leg encounters by just two players, Ronaldo and Higuain with the goals for their respective sides. However, the two games produced some decent numbers:
- Real Madrid were not nice to their neighbors with their 4-3-3 with 3 in attack enabled them to score 3 goals with Ronaldo wreaking havoc with a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid’s 4-4-2
- Juventus’ 4-2-3-1 ensured that the Stade Louis was subdued as Higuain hit 2 past Monaco who deployed a 4-4-2 formation.
- 8 yellow cards brandished in the two encounters. 4 each
- Atletico Madrid and Juventus received 4 each as Real Madrid and Monaco received 1 each
- 1 hat-trick – Cristiano Ronaldo and 1 brace – Gonzalo Higuain
- 5 goals were scored. 3 for the home sides (only Real Madrid) and 2 for the away sides (Just Juventus)
- Possession masters were Real Madrid – 61%
- Pass masters were Real Madrid with 614 completed passes out of 673 that were made
- Least passes was made by Atletico Madrid with 358 completed passes out of 422
- Most shots on goal was made by Real Madrid – 8
- Atletico Madrid with the least shots on goal – 1
Real Madrid is clearly the star team of the first leg ties of the 2016/2017 UCL semifinals. Once again, our best player accolade goes to CR7 for the first leg encounters. The second leg will confirm the finalists and we hope the disadvantaged side put up a good fight.