Barcelona, Juventus Take Leads In Champions League Semifinals

The top four European football clubs began determining who will meet in the UEFA Champions League Final in Berlin this week, with Barcelona squaring off against Bayern Munich and Juventus tangling with Real Madrid in the first legs of the semifinal round. It was both home teams who gained the advantage, as Barcelona and Juventus were victorious in their opening leg matches.

At this stage of the Champions League, even the best sports betting experts know that there are no easy victories, but Barcelona did their best to challenge that notion with a 3-0 win over German titans Bayern Munich. Although the match was scoreless after 76 minutes, the Blaugrana took advantage of Bayern manager Pep Guardiola’s decision to play three up front by peppering the Bayern defense with chance after chance.

Barcelona finally broke through in the 77th minute, as Lionel Messi delivered the game’s first goal. Just three minutes later, Messi scored again, delivering a goal that top football tipsters have come to expect from the magician from Argentina. In second half stoppage time, Neymar added a third for Barcelona. As a result, Bayern now have a huge hill to climb against a Barcelona side that appears unstoppable at the moment.

On the other side of the draw, Juventus needed to get out in front of Real Madrid during their first leg matchup in Turin to set themselves up for next week’s return leg, and they did just that with a 2-1 win on Tuesday.

While the best betting expert would justifiably keep the title holders from Madrid as the favorites in this semifinal matchup, Juventus went toe to toe with Los Blancos every step of the way, matching them in both possession and shots throughout the match. The Old Lady scored just eight minutes into the match, with Alvaro Morata tapping home a rebound to put Juve ahead. A Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the 27th minute evened things up for about a half hour, but a brilliant run by Carlos Tevez resulted in a foul inside the penalty area, and Tevez converted the ensuing penalty in the 58th minute, and the former Manchester City star put Juventus ahead in the match for good.

As a result of the first leg, Barcelona can advance by losing by fewer than three goals, or by losing by three goals with at least one goal of their own. Bayern needs to win by greater than three goals to advance, and only a 3-0 score in favor of Bayern would bring that matchup to extra time, with penalties to follow if the additional 30 minutes don’t decide a winner..

In the second leg of the battle between Juventus and Real Madrid, a 1-0 win would see Carlo Ancelotti’s side through, as would any win of two goals or more. Juventus would advance with a win, draw, or one goal loss in which they scored two goals or more. A 2-1 result for Real Madrid would result in extra time, and possible penalty kicks.
While Barcelona and Juventus jumped in front of their opponents in the Champions League semifinals, top betting experts know better than to count out the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the second legs.

Jason Michael Sanin

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