The Sports Thread/A Live Thread For 4/14/15 : The 2014-15 Champions League Quarterfinals, Day 1 (Version One)
The law of advantages say that it is time for Real to take back ownership of the Madrid derby, a derby that Atletico has dominated this season as much as Real use to before the days of Diego Simeone on the Atletico touchline. But there just isn't a clear sign for that to happen other than.....the law of advantages.
With both teams full strength, there are just going to be no excuses for who doesn't make it the semifinal. Pepe and Sergio Ramos were unavailable for the 4-0 demolition in the Calderon (so too Marcelo), completing the 6-game winless streak los Blancos are suffering under their beleaguered crosstown rivals. Couple their return with Carlo Ancelotti's side regaining some of their first half of the season form, it seems the world champions could save their season just in the nick of time.
But matchup wise, they will have to finally be able to outcraft, outsmart and, most importantly, outmentally tough Atletico.
Can James Rodriguez help Marcelo enough to combat JuanFran going forward and not sending in dangerous crosses to Mandzukic is the real key for me, since that will certainly answer the other questions in this game of many in this fascinating tie.
For Juventus- Monaco
Will Pirlo be effective enough defensively to snuff out any counterattacks whenever Monaco stifle Juventus and go on the break. Seeing who will pass well from deep, him, or Moutinho, will be a factor as to whether Monaco could pull off the upset. And that is helped by no Pogba.
(Halftime thoughts when halftime comes...)