Four teams clinch spot in UEFA quarterfinals

via wikipedia.org

Four teams have punched their ticket to the quarterfinal round of the UEFA Champions League thus far, taking one step closer to the tournament’s final stage in Lisbon, Portugal.

Bundesliga team Bayern Munich and English Premier League team Arsenal faced off March 11, ending in a 1-1 draw. With a 3-1 aggregate over the Gunners after an earlier 2-0 victory in London, the German club advanced to the next stage of the knockout rounds.

This season, Bayern welcomed former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as their new general manager and have had a stellar season since his arrival. Bayern has not lost in 48 games in the Bundesliga. Guardiola’s fast-paced passing game has translated on the field for Bayern, and will perhaps lead the Germans to consecutive Champions League titles. With Philipp Lahm and Rafinha holding a strong presence in the back and Franck Ribery in the midfield feeding passes forward to Bastian Schweinsteiger, Guardiola’s tactics have succeeded.

Another team to advance into the quarters is Spanish Primera team Atletico Madrid, which ousted their Italian opponents AC Milan in an easy 4-1 victory (5-1 aggregate). For the Spanish club, this is the first time in 17 years they have secured a spot in the Champions League quarterfinals. Atletico deservedly earned a spot with their aggressive offense, led by Spanish forward Diego Costa. AC Milan’s outspoken forward Mario Balotelli could not respond to Atletico’s onslaught of goals, leaving his own future at the Italian club up in the air after the disastrous loss. Rumors have been circulating about Balotelli’s imminent transfer out of Milan.

FC Barcelona will also be joining their fellow Spaniards, beating Manchester City by a score of 2-1 on Wednesday (4-1 aggregate). After a scoreless first half, the Argentinian national Lionel Messi netted the first goal of the game in the second half for Barca. Man City’s Vincent Kompany tied the game in the 88th minute, but it was too little too late for the English club.

Even if the game ended in a draw, Barcelona still would have advanced, holding a 3-1 aggregate. Dani Alves would not settle for a tie with the Blues, scoring a 90th-minute goal for good measure. Despite ceding their number one spot to rivals Real Madrid in La Liga, Barcelona looks to reclaim their world-class ranking as they advance within the Champions League tournament.

The last team to solidify their spot in the quarterfinals this week is Ligue 1 French club, Paris Saint Germain. PSG defeated Bundesliga team Bayer Leverkusen in a solid 2-1 victory, ending with an overall goal aggregate of 6-1. PSG, having acquired all-star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have had a season of consistent high-scoring victories in Ligue 1 and in the UEFA tournament. Having already come in with a 4-0 win over the Germans in the first leg of the contest, PSG happily garnered a spot in the quarter finals, awaiting their next matches.

Next week, the other eight teams will compete to secure their spots in the quarterfinal round.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, March 13 print edition. Michelle Tran is a staff writer. Email her at sports@nyunews.com.

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