Three Takeaways from 1st Leg of Champions League Semi Finals

After the first leg encounters, the Champions League semi finals are proving to be closely-contested battles. On Tuesday, Chelsea scored an early away goal through Christian Pulisic, but Karim Benzema’s spectacular effort ended the match 1-1. Twenty four hours later, Paris Saint Germain took the lead at home, but Manchester City pulled off a strong second half to earn a 2-1 victory away from home.

Although nothing has been decided yet, here are three major takeaways from midweek’s action.

Strikers Make All the Difference 

At the Stadio Alfredo Di Stefano (which proved to be an awkward venue for such prestigious fixture), Chelsea enjoyed a solid start, as they could have punished Real Madrid with more than a single goal.

Nonetheless, Timo Werner missed a sitter in front of goal, which is a perfect resumé for his entire season.

On the other hand, Benzema was barely given a sniff at goal by the Blues defenders during the first half, and yet, he almost found the back of the net with a vicious strike from distance that crashed against the post, before pouncing on a half-chance with a thumping volley with his back to the goal.

The contrasting displays of the strikers mentioned above emphasizes the importance of possessing a world class center-forward in order to win the biggest competitions.

Lady Luck Always Needed at this Stage

Whilst PSG seemed to be heading towards a first leg victory following their impressive first half display, the French side physically collapsed after the interval, allowing Pep Guardiola’s men to dominate the last 45 minutes.

However, the English club still needed a little bit of luck in order to overturn the result. Kevin De Bruyne’s cross towards the penalty box wasn’t met by a teammate nor an opposition player, and yet, the action was enough to distract Keylor Navas, as the ball slowly creeped into his net.

Few minutes later, a gash appeared within the PSG wall as Riyad Mahrez took the freekick, and the ball was allowed to make its way towards the goal once again.

Some would argue that such mistakes shouldn’t take place in the Champions League semi finals, but the fact remains that history once again proved that Lady Luck is a major player within Europe’s elite club competition.

On a Whole Different Galaxy

While watching the midweek fixtures, Calcio fans must have been left wondering what it would take for their clubs to mount their way back to Europe’s summit.

Besides Werner’s lackluster finish and PSG’s embarrassing wall, the four teams participating in the Champions League semi finals were obviously operating on a whole different level from the ones witnessed during the typical Serie A weekend.

Whether it’s the lack of funds or a managerial issue, Italian clubs have a major gap to fill in order to compete with the big European boys once again.

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