Not the greatest night of football to open the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League, as Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid were mostly busy beating each other up in a 0-0 draw while Juventus narrowly beat Monaco 1-0 thanks to an Arturo Vidal penalty kick.
And that penalty kick will be the biggest talking point from the first leg at the Juventus Stadium. Alvaro Morata was tripped from behind on his way to the goal, but was it inside or outside the box? Replays showed it’s probably a bit outside, but it’s hard to believe the official (Pavel Královec) and his linesmen can be blamed for such a close decision that even on replays needed the frame to be slowed down.
Besides the fantastic Vidal penalty, this was a fine first half performance for the French side (at least from the French league), putting a lot of pressure on Juventus for the first 30 minutes before falling back to defend their goal. It’s completely open and unpredictable heading into the second leg, but Monaco are a side that struggles when they have to take the initiative into their own hands.
In Madrid, the 7th Madrid derby of the season took place. Real Madrid were fantastic in the first half but Jan Oblak was even better in the Atletico Madrid goal with some brilliant saves. The second half was very different with Real Madrid’s pressure wearing off, allowing Atletico Madrid to put Iker Casillas to the test. The legendary goalkeeper withstood the pressure and his defense’s mistakes very well.
One note was the terrible officiating from Milorad Mažić who was trying his best not to use the cards in his pocket. He was too lenient with Real Madrid and probably missed at least one penalty kick that Real Madrid deserves, not to mention allowing their players to be far more aggressive with their opponents, while using a very strict line with Atletico.
However, the 0-0 result doesn’t mean all that much. Atletico Madrid have played well at the Santiago Bernabeu this season, leaving everything up in the air heading into the second leg.