Season falling apart for Barcelona
After being tactically outclassed in the second leg of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderón, Barcelona suffered another heart-ache as Yacine Brahimi’s solitary goal of the match subjected the Blaugrana to their second successive loss on Saturday against Granada.
In the course of the two matches, Barcelona have been knocked out of the Champions League a competition they have fared well in recently having made it to the semi-finals in each of the last six seasons.
Before the month of May begins, the names of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League’s two finalists will be revealed. See when and how to watch the semi-final matches live through LiveSoccerTV’s recap of Friday’s Champions League semis draw.
First leg match dates
They will be played on 22 April 2014 and 23 April 2014.
The two remaining Spanish clubs will be at home. Atleti will get the Last 4 adventure underway with a spicy clash against 2011/2012 UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea at the Vicente Calderon.
The following day, city rivals Real Madrid will affront Bayern Munich in a re-match of their 2011/12 Champions League semi-final clash.
Probabilities are very few with only four teams left, yet many fans are lost in predictions. How will Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Real Madrid be paired on Friday in Nyon?
Atletico Madrid arguably provided the biggest result in the Last 8 by kicking giants Barcelona out of the competition. The Rojiblancos needed a lone goal from Koke in the second leg to beat the Catalans 2-1 on aggregate.
This sealed the fact that “Barca are out whereas Bayern, Atletico, Real…
Preview: Atletico hoping to make full use of away goal advantage
Diego Simeone’s men unfazed by an energetic home crowd in the first leg put an emphatic showing at the Camp Nou. Despite a setback which saw star man Diego Costa stretched off due to an injury Atleti remained the most dangerous side in the first half and could have taken an early lead had David Villa been more clinical. It was a wonder strike from Brazilian midfielder Diego Ribas which gave the visitors the lead and Atletico were poised to end the first leg with a goal advantage until Neymar leveled the scores in the 71st minute.
Preview: Spanish League rivals lock horns in Champions League
Atletico have defied all odds by rising to the top of the La Liga table and with just seven matches to play in the league, Atleti will be confident of their chances.
However the league leaders are closely tracked by their opponents on Tuesday who trail Diego Simeone’s men by just a single point. But both the teams will have to keep their league affairs at the side for now as they concentrate in clinching qualification to the last four of the Champions League.
PSG, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich qualified first. They were joined by Chelsea, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United. The Last 8 line-up is a mouth-watering one. Who are the favourites to reach the semis?
Round of 16 results – how it happened
Les Parisiens gave Bayer Leverkusen no chance in the Round of 16, thus underlining their ambition to seat at the table of giants on the European scene. One of PSG’s targets is to clinch the giant UEFA Champions League trophy. With on-fire Zlatan Ibrahimovic, few may underestimate the chances of the French team to progress into the Last 4.
Preview: Los Rojiblancos host the Rossoneri in a make or break clash for both sides
It will be a tale of two polar opposites when Atletico Madrid host AC Milan on Tuesday evening in the second leg of their Champions League tie. The Rojiblancos have gone from strength to strength so far this season in both domestic and continental campaigns.
They have been keeping pace with the powerhouses of Barcelona and Real Madrid so far, much to many observers' surprise and transformed the title race into a much more exciting one this year. And in Europe, they comfortably finished top of their group with 16 points, joint-tied with city rivals Real for the most in the group stages and outscored their opponents by 15 to 3.
Preview: Nobody is invincible
Everyone at Real Madrid is fired up for Sunday’s exciting match up between Atleti and Los Blancos at the Vicente Calderon. This includes quiet manager Carlo Ancelotti who told the press:
“The Copa final was a final; the game in La Liga went well for us, and not so well for them. They arrived better at the semifinals and we must congratulate them. This Liga game will be different; both teams have a lot on the line.
“There are many games left, but it is true they could go six points ahead. We have always said it: we are going to go from game to game. We will go into the game as if it was a final, as we always do. They are very good in defence and in attack they have great individuals. But nobody is invincible.”
Preview: Atleti poised to make the most out of Milan’s misery
The Rossoneri have had a miserable start to their league campaign and are currently placed ninth in the league table, 31 points behind leaders Juventus. With the Serie A title well out of sight, Milan will try to make the most out of their European expeditions this season.
Despite their current form, Milan have proven to be a tough side to break down at the San Siro and even though Atletico have been enjoying a fine campaign they will find it difficult to beat the Italian side at their own backyard.
Diego Simeone’s men have made major strides this season and from being a club which battled for a top four spot in yesteryears, Atletico have turned into title contenders.
Their performances in the Champions League have been even more overwhelming. Atleti were one of the few teams which managed to go past the group stages of the competition unscathed winning five of the six matches they played with the away fixture against Zenit Petersburg resulting in a draw.
Those were the only two points Atletico dropped this season in Europe and the way they have been playing, it will not be a surprise if they do the unthinkable by winning the Champions League while being the underdogs, something Jose Mourinho’s Porto did when they won the competition back in 2004.
Preview: An uphill task for Spanish Cup champions Atletico
Almost there. Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane are about to experience their first ever Copa del Rey final as managers at Real Madrid. However, as much as upsets happen in football, the Spanish giants remain cautious ahead of Tuesday night’s encounter on the turf of their city rivals.
Atletico Madrid surprisingly conceded three goals without reply at the Santiago Bernabeu last week. This 3-0 first leg defeat requires Diego Simeone to be very smart this time round. What is worse for the Copa del Rey defending champions is that they will be without Diego Costa. The Brazilian-born striker picked up a booking and must now serve suspension.
Preview: Revenge mission – Ronaldo's Real to fail or succeed?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s name is making a lot of rounds in the media today – not only because he is celebrating his 29th birthday, but because the verdict following his dissmissal against Athletic Bilbao on Matchday 22 of La Liga has fallen. CR7 has been slapped with a three-match ban but it only applies in the league.
Coincidentally, Ronaldo’s penultimate sending off happened at the Santiago Bernabeu against Atletico Madrid; that was in the Copa del Rey final, last season. This Wednesday, the visitors and their traveling fans might do all they can to provoke Ronaldo in their favour. While the Ballon d’Or winner’s temper is set to be tested once more, his desire to make up for his moment of madness at San Mames could work out in Real Madrid’s favour.
Preview: Barcelona are current league leaders, but Atletico are out to change that
Real Madrid will be watching this match attentively, as they know any result will favor them. Obviously a draw would probably be the best, but both sides will more than likely go for the full three points.
The Vicente Calderon will get to see Neymar, Messi and Diego Costa on the pitch together. Three magnificent players in their own right, who can alter a game at any given moment. Unfortunately for Messi, his season has been marked by some injuries, but the Argentine returned with two quick goals in Barcelona's last fixture.
La Liga may host what undisputedly are two of the world’s best players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but one common remark one may hear about the Spanish league is its predictability.
It offers as good a chance of predicting who’ll win the title come May as easily as one can figure whether a Republican or Democrat will win the next United States presidential election.
“You have a 50-50 chance of picking La Liga’s winner”, is a common jest made on many football forums and inside pubs all around the world.
Indeed, such is Barcelona and Real Madrid’s dominance over the past few decades that it really has become a two-horse race, where the Blaugrana and Los Blancos are way ahead of everyone else, who’s left to fight for the scraps for third place and beyond.
“We certainly could’ve drawn worse,” AC Milan club director Umberto Gandini mused after learning that his side had been paired off with La Liga’s Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. The Rossoneri, who had finished second in their group could have faced off against the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester United, or Chelsea as their opponents.
So, in light of the terrorizing prospect of dealing with last year’s Champions League winners or a Los Blancos spearheaded by the rampaging Cristiano Ronaldo, who set a new tournament record with nine strikes in just five appearances, then, yes, one could say, theoretically that the “other” Madrid club isn’t the “worst” draw they could’ve gotten.
Preview: Porto has it all to do if they want to progress, against a very strong Atletico side
It is not often that Porto finds themselves in this type of situation, but on Wednesday night, they will need two positive results.
First, they will need to defeat Atletico Madrid, who has yet to lose in the group stage. With four victories and one draw, the Spanish side find themselves into the next round, having claimed 13 points already. Adding to their outstanding record, Simeone's squad has scored 13 goals, while only conceding three.
So apart from that much needed victory for Porto, they will also need Austria Wien to lend them a helping hand against Zenit St. Petersburg.
Preview: One of the best Madrid derby games in the making
Since joining Atleti in January 2012, coach Simeone has guided his side to glory in the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Cup. What better way for the Rojiblanco’s former player and current manager to celebrate his 200th game than through the Madrid Derby?
Atletico Madrid look confident and rightfully so, after achieving three important things. Firstly, they put an end to their dreadful record against Real Madrid back on May 17 to eventually win the Copa del Rey. Secondly, they did so at the Santiago Bernabeu in a game where prolific goal scorer Cristiano Ronaldo saw red. Thirdly, just like last season, they seat above their rich neighbours in La Liga.
Preview: Which player will be the Supercopa de Espana hero?
With Lionel Messi back from injury, it is hard to predict which star will settle the game for his respective team, tonight; that is, if the battle sees a clear Man of the Match winner. In the first leg, David Villa’s opening goal almost gifted Atleti a valuable victory at the Vicente Calderon.
However, Neymar had other ideas. The Brazilian came on as a substitute to rescue new manager Gerardo Martino and the Blaugrana from defeat.
This two-legged Spanish Super Cup tie is wide open. Barcelona are known dominate games – especially at the Camp Nou. Still, Diego Simeone’s men must not be doubted. If Atletico Madrid are playing tonight, it is because they managed to stun bitter city rivals Real Madrid last season in the Copa del Rey final.
Barcelona are experiencing a new cycle under Martino. They will be hoping to win their first trophy of the campaign in front of their home supporters. How likely is an upset of the Catalans, though?
Lionel Messi, only returning from injury after missing last weekend’s 1-0 win away to Malaga, may or may not display the best of his abilities. This does not mean that tonight’s visitors will have a quiet time defending.
Expect Atletico – if they ever find their tempo at the Camp Nou – to defend a lot and try to hit Barca on the counter, just like Bayern Munich did in the UEFA Champions League semis last season.
In fact, Simeone’s men are under pressure since they are obliged to score to stand a chance of lifting the 2013 Spanish Super Cup. The 1-1 draw from the first leg means a goalless draw on Wednesday night will see Barcelona succeed current Supercopa de Espana titleholders Real Madrid.
Where to watch the match - live stream, start time, TV channels, live scores
Watch Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid live on Wednesday, August 28, 2013:
Will David Villa's return to the Nou Camp be a pleasant one?
As time went on at the Vicente Calderon, Atletico Madrid fans were growing anxious for the final whistle. David Villa's first match against his former club saw him slot a well struck volley into the Barcelona goal, giving Atletico fans hope.
With Messi on the bench due to an apparent injury, Neymar had to come to the rescue for the Catalans. Will the Brazilian have to be the deciding figure in Wednesday's match again?
Messi's absence in the match with Malaga has Barcelona fans uncertain of his participation in the match on Wednesday, while Atletico Madrid will prepare for the match not knowing what to expect.