The World Game in April had so much to offer.

What a month April has been in the World of football.

The Champions League semi finals have been drawn, El Classico didn’t disappoint, and the La Liga chase goes on between the big boys. Two classic FA Cup semi final matches took place, the race for the Premier League title continues, and Sunderland my old club are sadly relegated after 10 years in the Premier League. Juventus look unstoppable yet again in Seria A and the A-League Grand Finalists have been decided, with the all conquering Sydney FC hosting Melbourne Victory on Sunday evening.

Champions League

Well lets start with the Champions League Quarter Final matches.

Juventus went through in impressive style, beating Barcelona 3-0 on aggregate. The most impressive thing about Juventus was their defensive discipline away to Barca. They had a 3 goal lead from the 1st match and needed to keep the Catalans at bay in the returning fixture. Not an easy task for any team, as Barca showed PSG in the previous round when they came back to win 6-5.

But like all great Italian teams they defended like gladiators and kept a clean sheet thanks to the legend in between the goals, Buffon.

Juventus will now face Monaco in the semi finals. What a game that will be, the best defensive team in the comp up against the highest scoring team in Europe.

Monaco went through against Dortmund after scoring 6 goals in total over 2 legs but this match was destined to see Monaco progress due to the events in Dortmund in the 1st leg.

The Dortmund bus was a target of a bomb attack, which saw Ma
rc Bartra taken to hospital and the game was called off for 24 hours. Now I’m sorry, but if I was one of those players, and our bus had been attacked then there is no way I would be in the right frame of mind to play a game the following day, but FIFA     said the game must go   ahead even though all the players and staff were still in shock from the Bombattack and I would like to think is will be the last time we witness anything like this every again.

Leicester City were flying the flag for English teams and they had the hard task of beating Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid. Two teams who play counter attacking football and both have good defensive set ups meant this fixture wasn’t going to have many goals and that’s the way it turned out. Atletico progressed 2-1 on aggregate but didn’t show enough to suggest they can win this comp.

Now to the match between Real Madrid v Bayern Munich. This match was all about Ronaldo, as he scored 5 of the 6 goals against Bayern over 2 legs taking his Champions League goals to 102. Truly outstanding, and we should all be thankful that we are alive to witness his brilliance on the football field.

 

Bayern can feel very let down by the referee, as he sent Vidal off (which was never a 2nd yellow card offence) just before Extra time loomed and with 10 players Bayern were never going to progress at the Bernabeu. Last month I said that the winner of this match would go on to win the comp, and I’m sticking with that prediction. Real all the way!

The next set of matches will see Real Madrid face rivals Atletico Madrid in a repeat of last years final and Juventus will take on Monaco.

La Liga

Now onto the El Classico match. 1st Real Madrid v 2nd placed Barcelona who were 3 points behind the leaders, so this was a must win match for Barca. This for me was one of the best El Classico matches in history. Everyone expected Real Madrid to win due to the home advantage but Barca had other ideas. In particular, one man by the name of Messi, who stole the show and hushed the Bernabeu with his 92nd minute winner. He celebrated in style, and stole the show away from his arch rival Ronaldo. Madrid’s cause wasn’t helped when captain Ramos was shown a red card in the 77th minute. Now the La Liga title race is back on with both teams level on 81 points.

 

FA Cup

In the historic English FA cup we will see 2 of London’s Big guns do battle when Arsenal face Chelsea at Wembley. Both team progressed in style against Premier League opposition.

Chelsea took on Tottenham in a very open attacking encounter, which saw Chelsea go through in a convincing 4-2 win. If you haven’t seen Matic‘s 30 yard left footed top corner goal for Chelsea then I suggest you look it up ASAP, as it is breath taking and will o doubt be the goal of the FA Cup.

Arsenal had to beat Pep Guardiola’s Man City in the other semi final, and they did so 2-1.

Arsene Wenger was under so much pressure from the Arsneal Fans before this match due to their disappointing Premier League results, but Wenger yet again has delivered another FA Cup final so he still has the touch and experience. Pep Guadiola on the other hand came into English football this season with the best Managerial record of any manager in the World. Pep has struggled to find his rhythm at City and this was the final Silverware he and Man City could go for, and they failed again. So for the 1st time in Peps Managerial career, his trophy cabinet is bare and the Man City fans made their feelings known by calling for him to leave the club before he destroys it.

I’m saying Chelsea will win the FA Cup Final over Arsenal and do the League and Cup double under Conte.

Premier League

The Premier League title race is still on between leaders Chelsea and who Tottenham, just 4 points in arrears. Chelsea has the easier run in, with matches against teams in the bottom half ( Middlesbrough, Watford & Sunderland ) of the table, and I cant see Spurs catching them, as they have matches against last seasons Champions Leicester City and Man Utd, but having just beating North London Rivals Arsenal 2-0 confidence is very high at the Lane and I’m a Spurs fan and I still have not given up hope.

Sadly my old Club Sunderland lost to Bournemouth and that defeat saw them relegated for the 1st time in 10 years. The club has major issues behind the scenes and Im sure the fans won’t just be blaming David Moyes for this seasons disappointment. Ellis Short and his back room team has a lot of explaining to do before a ball is kicked next season in the Championship.The battle goes on between Middlesbrough Swansea, Hull City and Crystal Palace for the other 2 relegation places.

Coming up to the Premier League for the 1st time in their clubs history is Brighton Hove Albion. Chris Hughton the manager has only gone and done it again adding another tick to his ever improving Managing CV. Another one of my former teams Newcastle United have bounced back to the Big Time under Benitez after relegation last season, no easy task for any team, but they have made it look very easy this season and Rafa is the mastermind behind the whole transformation of the club both on and off the field.

Serie A
Juventus look unstoppable in Seria A, and look odds on to claim their 33rd, yes 33rd Title!
In the Month of April they have conceded 3 goals and scored 11, keeping 3 clean sheets. They ae already Italy’s most successful club and they might even add to that by winning the Champions League. Roma and Napoli are sitting 2nd and 3rd and look set for a champions league qualification placing, but Roma had there egos dented in the Derby match against 4th place Lazio loosing 1-3 at home.

 

A-League

Coming back to Australian soil and we have seen the A-League finals get under way with Brisbane Roar coming back from a 0-1 deficit against WSW at half time were they looked dead and buried.
But a magnificent 2nd half performance from the Roar saw them get back on level terms and go through on Penalties.

Who doesn’t love a penalty shoot out ?? Maybe Kusukami Jumpie of WSW as he missed his spot kick as it was saved by the Roar Keeper Young and cost the WSW.

Kenny Lowes Perth Glory shocked everyone when they travelled to Melbourne city and won in style and gave them a chance to make the GF if they could beat Minor Premiers Sydney FC.

Sadly Perth didn’t turn up and they had no answer to Sydney style of play and high pressing game and the game was over in the 1st half as Sydney went into the sheds 3-0 up and that’s how it finished.

 

Please, Please, Please make sure you check out Josh Brilliante wonder goal from this match. All I’m saying is WOW…

The 2nd semi final saw Melbourne Victory host Brisbane Roar. The Victory had the upper hand with the home tie plus the extra weeks rest while the Roar travelled to Asia for their ACL match. This was a classic, well fought match but the physical battle was won by the Victory and ex Roar Striker Besart Berisha, who haunted his old club with a headed goal inside the area, and that turned out to be the winning goal.

The Grand Final will see 1st placed Sydney FC play 2nd placed Melbourne Victory this Sunday. The match promises so much, so let’s hope it delivers.

Signing off until next month’s edition on the World Game.

Cheers

Bridgey

 

 

 

 

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