By Abdulkabir Olatunji The UEFA Champions League round of 16…
By Abdulkabir Olatunji
The draw for the UEFA Champions League semifinals have just been concluded and here are my thoughts on the fixtures.
Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid have shown that they are masters of the Champions League and they are always hard to beat when they get to this stage as their record 11 victories in this competition indicates. However, if there is any team that can beat Real over 2 legs, it is probably Atletico Madrid. 2 losses in 2 close-fought finals in the last three years to Real will definitely serve as motivation for Diego Simeone and his men.
However, with Cristiano Ronaldo in fine form, it might be a difficult challenge to beat this Real team under Zinedine Zidane, a great player that is also turning out to be a great coach.
I am tipping Atletico to win this one though, they have been rather unlucky in their losses to Real and I just get the feeling this might be their time to get one over their big city rivals in Europe’s premier club competition. Their mixture of Spartan discipline and technical finesse when required could prove decisive this time around.
Monaco vs. Juventus
This is a classic game of the masters of attack against the masters of defence. The margins at this stage of the competition are so small that any of the 4 semifinalists could actually win the competition. Monaco have shown an amazing mentality and attacking philosophy in this competition. Their approach is simple- we do not mind conceding goals because we are going to outscore you anyway. Juventus on the other hand have shown they are excellent at keeping the best strikers in the world quiet considering the fact that Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar could not find the back of the net over 2 legs against Juventus, neither did the rest of the Barcelona team.
But the Mbappe-Falcao partnership is proving to be difficult to resist and going by the way this Monaco team is dispatching some of Europe’s finest, it is hard not to tip them as favourites to go through. I rate them highly and expect to see them at the final.
I am in effect expecting a Monaco-Atletico Madrid final. Now, that would be quite a spectacle.
Let me know your thoughts by dropping a comment.
Abdulkabir Olatunji is the Head of Strategy at Jarus & JAN Internet Group and an Associate Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (AMNIM). His interests include writing, blogging, all-things-tech and analysis of current affairs and sports. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @maclatunji