UEFA Champions League 2020-21: Key takeaways from the semi-finals
The 2020-21 edition of the UEFA Champions League is set to see Manchester City face Chelsea in an all-English final. City have reached their maiden UCL final, whereas, the Blues have reached the summit clash for the first time since winning the title in 2012. The two sides reached the final after beating Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid respectively. Here are the key takeaways.
How did the two semi-finals pan out?
City overcame PSG 2-1 in Paris before sealing a comfortable 2-0 win at home. They sealed the two-legged tie 4-1 on aggregate. In both games, PSG were reduced to 10 men. Chelsea were the superior side against Real over two legs. They earned a valuable 1-1 draw in Madrid and then dominated the game at Stamford Bridge to win 3-1 on aggregate.
Tuchel's presence gives Chelsea a lift
Since taking over as Chelsea manager in January, former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel stamped his authority. In 24 games managed in all competitions, he has seen his side registered 16 wins, besides keeping 18 clean sheets. Chelsea players have responded well under Tuchel and their collective approach needs to be lauded. His team looks organized and well placed defensively.
Wasteful Chelsea need to convert more
Chelsea were wasteful across the two legs in front of goal. The Blues dominated the show with 26 shots, with 10 of them being on target. In the second leg, they could have easily scored a couple more after bossing the counter attacking football. In the first leg as well they missed some glorious chances. Against City, they need to make the moments count.
Real Madrid look like a fading force
Real were the second-best team across both legs. They looked subdued at Stamford Bridge for most parts of the game. Zinedine Zidane appeared to have got the formation wrong and the side was easily picked on the counter. The energy shown by Chelsea was too much for Real, who looked tired and toothless. They never managed to get a free-flowing game going.
PSG go down after failing to hold their nerves
After losing in the final last season, PSG made a statement after beating champions Bayern Munich in the quarters. Testing themselves against City was set to be another major task. In both games, they were reckless, going down to 10 men. PSG did dominate City in certain phases but fell short. Once again, the Parisans failed to hold their nerves during key moments.
Guardiola needs to be praised for his tactics
Pep Guardiola needs to be praised for his tactics in the second leg. His side came back strongly in Paris with a brilliant second half performance. At home, City looked comfortable as Guardiola got things right. Not using a primary forward and allowing Kevin De Bruyne to play in an attacking role highlighted Pep's supremacy. He read the game well and that paid dividends.