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April 8, 2011

Barcelona and Real Madrid are 90 minutes away from a Spanish semifinal

The greatest rivalry in Spain is about to move into Europe, as both of teams could clash in the UEFA Champions League semifinals for the joy of football fans worldwide.

By Andrew Hill

When a big team wins the first match of a two-game series by a margin of 4-0 against a much smaller club, the reasons to believe that this squad will advance to the next round are more than obvious. And when this scenario is the reality that Spain’s most powerful teams –Barcelona and Real Madrid- are going through, the football fans worldwide can’t do nothing but rub their hands, for by winning their respective series against Shakhtar and Tottenham they will clash in the semifinals of the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League edition.

It will be until next week that this showdown will be official once both teams hit the road to complete their respective quarterfinals series, which they left on the right track this week at home.

On Tuesday Real Madrid received Tottenham Hotspur at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, where just five minutes where enough for Emmanuel Adebayor to open the score for the home team. That goal left the English team in a pretty uncomfortable situation that was going to get even worse ten minutes later, for their sticker Peter Crouch was going to receive his second yellow card of the game and subsequently leave his team with ten players.

The Whites didn’t hesitate to make the best from this situation and added three more goals in the second half through Adebayor again, Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo for the 4-0 victory that leaves them with one foot in the semifinals.

Next week they will be traveling to the White Hart Lane stadium in London to complete the series on Wednesday 13th, where the only score that works for Tottenham would be winning by a 5-goal window to upset the Whites, something really awkward to happen.

Virtually qualified, Barcelona and Real Madrid will live the rematch of the 2001-02 semifinals.

Just like Real Madrid, Barcelona also enjoys of a four goal lead thanks to their 5-1 victory, but with the slight difference that they did receive that goal from their visitors at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona.

How does this goal could condition them? Simple: if Shakhtar happened to win next Tuesday by 4-0 at Ukraine, they will be advancing to the next round because in the tiebreaker the away goals are counted as double.

But let’s recapitulate how Barcelona got to this four-goal lead on Wednesday, where they tip the balance early in the game, at minute 2 through Andres Iniesta’s first goal of the night. Then at minute 34 Dani Alves put things 2-0 thanks to a superb assist from Iniesta, result with which they went to half time.

In the second half Barcelona continued with its dominance and at minute 53 Gerard Pique added one more to the box score. Shakhtar was now down 3-0 and needed to react quickly before it was too late.

They did so through Yaroslav Rakytskyy at minute 60, but their reaction didn’t last long, for just one minute later Seydou Keita sent the ball to the back of the net to make things 4-1.

And with four minutes to go, Xavi Hernandez was going to score the final 5-1 that basically ended with Shakhtar’s aspirations.

Virtually qualified, Barcelona and Real Madrid will live the rematch of the 2001-02 semifinals, which was won by the Whites to advance to the final that they ended up winning. Nine years later Barcelona will have its chance to avenge that loss and win the ticket at stake for the final that will be held at Wembley, England.

About the Author
When it comes to sports, Andrew Hill is more than just a passionate fan. Despite being in the early years of his career as a journalist, which began in 2006, he has proven that he can translate that passion into truthful and objective information of interest for the sports betting industry. As of today he specializes in the coverage of European soccer and NCAA basketball for BetIAS’ website.