If not, in Sunday’s game against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona will have to end its goal drought to avoid slipping into a late-season slump.
Barcelona still holds an 11-point advantage over Madrid in their nine remaining games. But the team has not scored in three straight matches after being thrashed 4-0 by Madrid in the Copa del Rey and drawn with modest league rivals Girona and Getafe.
Thus, the loss to Atlético, combined with Madrid’s victory in the previous game against Celta Vigo, could raise fears that Barcelona will try to win its first league title since Lionel Messi’s departure two seasons ago.
Madrid, however, has two other titles almost within its grasp. On May 6, the team will play Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final in Sevilla, and three days later will take on Manchester City in the Champions League semifinals. After beating Chelsea this week, Madrid are now just three matches away from defending their title and adding to their record 14 European Cups.
This alone should mean that Barcelona will not face a major challenge from their main rival, as Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti gives his leading players a rest – but it is better to beat Atletico to be sure.
The other Madrid team struggled early in the season, quickly dropping out of contention for the league title and finishing last in the Champions League group. But Atletico was Spain’s hottest team in 2023. It is undefeated in 13 matches and leads a six-match winning streak in Barcelona.
Barcelona inflicted its last defeat on Atletico on January 8, winning 1-0 in the capital. It was Juan Felix’s last game for Atletico before he moved to Chelsea on loan.
Since the Portuguese striker’s departure, Antoine Griezmann has played like he did in his best seasons during his first stint at Atletico before spending 2019-21 at Barcelona, where he never fit in.
The France striker now leads his team in scoring with 11 league goals and leads the league with eight assists. In his last match, Griezmann scored twice in a 2-1 victory over Almeria.
Atletico is in third place, two points behind Madrid. Although a victory over the rival will not add titles to the team’s collection, it will be a great end to the season.
We’re on a good run and we want to keep it up, said Atletico midfielder Axel Witsel.Thursday. We are going to, as we have done in recent games, defend strongly, and if we do that, we will definitely have a chance to score.
However, Inter Milan and AC Milan must control their excitement and focus on Serie A, where they each risk not qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Inter Milan defeated Benfica 5-3 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals for the first time since José Mourinho led the team to victory in the Champions League, Serie A and the Italian Cup in 2010.
It came one day after seven-time European champion AC Milan defeated Napoli to reach the final four for the first time since winning the title in 2007.
The Milan teams also met in the 2003 semifinals, in which Milan won away and beat Juventus in the final.
Milan will host Inter on May 10, and the return match will take place six days later, both at their shared San Siro Stadium.
There are four Serie A matches to be played before the return leg, including games against direct rivals for Champions League qualification – Roma and Lazio. In addition, Inter have a second leg in the Italian Cup semi-finals against Juventus.
Milan is currently in fourth place – the last place in the Champions League – two points above Inter. The Rossoneri are three points behind Roma and eight behind runner-up Lazio.
However, they could drop out of the top four even before this weekend’s games if Juventus receive a 15-point penalty, overturned on appeal. In that case, the Bianconeri would move up to third place.
On Sunday, Milan hosts Lecce and Inter hosts Empoli.
Inter have lost four of their last five matches in Serie A, drawing and scoring only two goals.
We have to transfer enthusiasm from Europe to the league, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said. We know where we came from, what a crazy stretch of matches we play. We play every two and a half days.
We lost important points, but we know we have to do better. We know that maybe without the Champions League or the cup we would certainly be in a better position in the standings, but we have to play like Inter in every match.
Inter got a boost when Lautaro Martinez broke his goal drought on Wednesday. ForwardThe team scored one goal and set up another in the match against Benfica, breaking the streak of eight matches without scoring a goal.
Martinez had scored nine goals in his previous 14 matches since returning to the team.after helping Argentina win the World Cup in Qatar.
I had two great months after the World Cup and then I was down a lot, Martinez said. I was also a little tired physically. … Hopefully this goal will help me get back in shape and help my teammates.
On Wednesday, Erling Haaland scored again for City, which reached the Champions League semifinals against Real Madrid in a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in the return match of the quarterfinals.
The Norwegian striker missed a penalty in the first half, but redeemed himself by ensuring City reached the semifinals with a 4-1 aggregate score, scoring on the counterattack in the 57th minute, just after Bayern had missed a good chance at the other end of the pitch.
Bayern’s lack of confidence after their 3-0 loss in Manchester in the first match was evident in their failure to capitalize on numerous chances.
We really wanted to lead in the first half, said Joshua Kimmich, who scored Bayern’s consolation goal from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute. We had some chances, very, very good chances, and we needed the advantage against City to make them nervous. Obviously, it’s easier for them when they can go a long time without scoring. It’s very annoying… I would have liked to have survived the second half if we had scored in the first half.
The penalty was awarded after City defender Manuel Akanji was penalized by VAR for playing with his hand.
Bayern colleague Dayot Upamekano was also penalized for handball when Ilkay Gundogan’s cross grazed the underside of his arm in the 35th minute, but Haaland hit that spot kick just over the crossbar.
Early in the second half, Kevin De Bruyne played on Haaland to decide the outcome when the hapless Upamekano slipped while trying to recover.
We played very well in difficult moments, we were very compact and didn’t give Bayern much, De Bruyne said. We had one chance at the other end. And when we scored, it became much more difficult for Bayern.
City did little during manager Pep Guardiola’s return to the club he led to three straight Bundesliga titles in 2014-16, but the visitors did not need to, thanks to andx confident advantage in the first match and the lack of efficiency of Bayern.
This is Bayern’s third consecutive quarterfinal exit after winning the tournament in 2020 and the second loss in a few weeks after Freiburg beat Bayern in the German Cup quarterfinals.
Bayern general manager Oliver Kahn and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic fired Julian Nagalsmann as coach last month because they felt the team risked not meeting its goals for the season. Since then, Tuchel has achieved only two wins from six games in all competitions. Bayern remain in the lead in the Bundesliga, trailing Borussia Dortmund by two points with six rounds to go.
Bayern fans held a huge banner at the end of Wednesday’s game criticizing Salihamidzic and Kahn: Goals could be missed – the value of the club is gone!
Bayern started the game encouragingly, but was let down by poor finishing passes and poor finishing.
Leroy Sane had his best chance early in the match when Jamal Musiala sent him across, but the German winger sent his shot just over the far post.
Referee Clement Turpin frustrated the hosts when he showed the last defender Upamekano a red card for bringing down Haaland, who was offside. Turpin rescinded the red card after the lineman recorded offside and then removed Tuchel for his ironic applause.
Tuchel was suspended with a second yellow card for protesting another decision, and his assistant Zsolt Löw received a direct red card.
City claim to win the Champions League for the first time. It will be Guardiola’s first win since he coached Barcelona in 2011. City will play defending champion Madrid away in the first match of the semifinals in May. Last year Madrid beat City 6-5 after extra time in the semifinals.
To win this competition, you have to beat them, Guardiola said.
Inter vs Milan in semifinals
The Milan clubs will meet in the semifinals of the Champions League ten years after they last met in the final of four elite European club competitions.
Inter Milan drew 3-3 with Benfica on Wednesday and scored a 5-3 aggregate victory over the Portuguese team. This came one day after AC Milan defeated Napoli in their quarterfinal.
147251After Nicolo Barella opened the scoring against Inter, Fredrik Aursnes brought hope back to Benfica just before halftime. But Lautaro Martinez and substitute Joaquin Correa scored in the second half and helped Inter reach their first semifinal since José Mourinho led them to victory in the Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup in 2010.
Inter still managed to squander a two-goal advantage when Antonio Silva and Petar Musa scored goals against Benfica.
But this match will be far from a dead rubber: Bayern is playing perfectly at home in the Champions League this season, winning all four meetings without conceding a goal and scoring 11 of their own in the process. The only problem for them is that City have not lost in away matches this season (W1 D3).
When it comes to facing a German team in the UEFA Champions League, City have lost only one of their last 20 matches (W16 D3) and are undefeated in nine games against Bundesliga opponents in the knockout stages (W8 D1).
As for the second match of the evening, Inter Milan will be confident of making it to the UEFA Champions League semifinals for the first time since 2009-10, when they won the competition under Jose Mourinho. Leading 2-0 before the home game of this quarterfinal, coach Simone Inzaghi could become the first Italian to take Inter to the semifinals since Eugenio Bersellini in 1980-81.
Benfica will have to do what it has never done before to have any chance of reaching the final four of the Champions League this season: beat Inter. After the first match, Benfica is unbeaten in all four of its European meetings with a team from Serie A (L3 D1) and has failed to score in three of them. Benfica aims to become the third Portuguese club to reach the semifinals of the Champions League, after Porto in 1993-94 and in 2003-04. Porto won the trophy in 2004 in the same season.
When will the Bayern-Manchester City and Inter Milan-Benfaica matches be played in the UEFA Champions League?
The games Bayern-Manchester City and Inter Milan-Benfica are scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. MSC on Thursday.
Where will the Bayern-Manchester City and Inter Milan-Benfaica matches be played in the Champions League?
Bayern Munich will host Manchester City at the Allianz Arena and Inter Milan will host Benfica at the San Siro on Thursday.
Which TV channels will broadcast the matches Bayern vs Manchester City andInter Milan vs Benfica in India?
All Uefa Champions League matches for the 2022-2023 season will be broadcast live on Sony Sports Network in India.
How to watch Bayern vs Manchester City and Inter Milan vs Benfica live in India?
Football fans can watch live Uefa Champions League matches on SonyLIV.
The Blues’ last hope of salvaging a disastrous season came to an end Tuesday when the Spanish team earned a convincing 4-0 victory in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Brazilian defender Silva acknowledged that it had been a difficult season for the club and said Chelsea’s bloated roster had led to an always disgruntled roster.
Chelsea has spent more than £500 million ($620 million) on transfers since a consortium led by Todd Boely and Clearlake Capital Group bought the London club from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich last year.
Frank Lampard, the current interim boss, is their fourth manager this season after firing Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter and one game under interim coach Bruno Saltor.
Lampard has lost four straight games since his interim return, scoring just once in that time.
Chelsea languish in 11th place in the Premier League table – 17 points behind the top four – with seven games ahead and unlikely to qualify for European competition.
Silva, speaking after Tuesday’s 2-0 home loss to Real Madrid in the return match of the quarterfinals, said it was important to assess what went wrong rather than apportion blame.
It’s not enough to look at the coach and say blame this person, blame that person if we don’t take responsibility, he said.
He added: We have to stop and strategize so we don’t make the same mistakes next year.
Silva, 38, said the club had to increase the size of the locker room to accommodate the huge roster, as eight new players were signed in January alone.
I think it’s a difficult time for the club: the lack of certainty at the beginning, the change of ownership, the arrival of many players – they even had to increase the size of the locker room because there wasn’t enough room for all the players, he said.
The positive thing is that the team has a greatBut the downside is that someone will get frustrated because not everyone can play, and the coach has to pick 11 players, and they are 30-something.