We do not rank management here at Sports sky – just points for the players – but if we did, Thomas Tuchel would be close to 10/10 for having almost staged one of the greatest comebacks in the Champions League.
Chelsea had Real Madrid on top, beat them for the most part and overestimated them to the majority. In their own backyard. That stemmed from Tuchel’s fearless plan to play to hurt the La Liga leaders in search of goals but also silence Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema at the other end after the duo decimated completely at home at Stamford Bridge in the first half. It works in a charming way.
However, a great manager needs great players to carry out such instructions.
And, Tuchel has a lot of things at his disposal.
His side played with incredible discipline but also mixed that with a vibrant energy across the pitch that didn’t allow Real Madrid’s key players time to hold their heads high and work magic. their. OK, maybe they’ve allowed such occasions twice.
It is unfortunate that Luca Modric, Vinicius Jr and Benzema have such good qualities that they are gifted enough to seize those opportunities. Modric’s ball for Rodrygo’s vital goal to equalize can take you to football heaven every time you watch it.
Reece James demonstrated Chelsea’s shrewd tactical display in the way he dealt with Vinicius Jr.
There are other heroes of Chelsea. Mason Mount ran until his legs could no longer run and scored a superb goal, Ruben Loftus-Cheek cleverly adapted his play to play in a diamond midfield and assist James when he needed it while Marcus Alonso provided his usual quality but was supportive. with an error-free performance.
But it was James who stole the show.
His defensive ability to strangle the Brazilian despite being booked after just 10 minutes, has at times turned out to be absurd. He made eight tackles during the night – no other Chelsea player made more than four. That shows how much academy graduates are required to deal with the level of protection. Even when Benzema ventured into James’s area, he was there to stop him, tossing the ball off the striker to deny the Frenchman a finish from close range. about eight meters.
After the game, Benzema asked for James’s shirt, which says it all.
Arsenal fans may not have the best memories of Unai Emery but Villarreal’s most recent murder of European giants is a reminder of his extraordinary lineage in continental competitions.
Emery, who led Villarreal to Europa League glory against Manchester United last season, has now led the club into the semi-finals of the Champions League for the second time.
Villarreal’s European championship last May was the fourth of Emery’s managerial career and the 50-year-old deserves praise for making that successful move to the Champions League this season.
Villarreal took a stunning 3-0 win over Juventus to secure their spot in the final eight but the fact that they were nine points behind Bayern, the Bundesliga’s top team, leading the Bundesliga, by just nine points, was even better.
Emery overcame Julian Nagelsmann in the first and second legs on Tuesday, at home to the Allianz Arena, where Bayern had scored 20 goals in the previous six games in all competitions, was even more impressive.
They defended flawlessly, eliminating the spaces Bayern wanted to operate on and instead forcing them to use a succession of hopeful crosses from wide areas. Then, when the opportunity arose, they did so with confidence and trust.
The word master has become all too common in modern football but coach Emery’s performance over two legs, against one of Europe’s strongest teams, had to come down as one.
Bayern dominated possession and territory throughout 180 minutes but Villarreal controlled and held them back in Spain and, saving about 20 minutes after half-time on Tuesday night, they did the same in Virtue.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are likely to go through, but they won’t fear Villarreal – not when they have a European pundit like Emery leading the way.
Bayern Munich’s draw with Villarreal ended in heartbreak for the German giants but not before Robert Lewandowski once again showed why he is one of the deadliest strikers in the world – if you don’t want to say the deadliest.
The Poles endured a nasty first half against Villarreal centre-backs Raul Albiol and Pau Torres, trying to give their best in the game, but when the opportunity came shortly after half-time, he seized it. common style.
His goal, an early sinking shot that sent the ball wide of the post, was his 13th in the Champions League this season, a substantial total that could see him win the golden boot despite Bayern. got out of the quarterfinals.
It was also his 30th in the knockout stages of the tournament, making him only the third player to reach that milestone after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The question now, however, is whether he will continue his quest for Champions League glory at Bayern or elsewhere next season. Barcelona are very interested in signing him and they’re unlikely to be his only suitors this summer.
Bayern’s early exit from the league he coveted most won’t help them keep him as he ponders his next move.