Bayern Munich’s dream of becoming the first team to retain the Champions League remains alive after a 4-2 aggregate win over Manchester United, while Atletico Madrid reach the semi-finals for the first time in 40 years with a 2-1 defeat of Barcelona.
Koke’s fifth-minute goal was enough to send Atletico through to the last four, although Diego Simeone’s men should have won much more comfortably could have killed the tie off in a breathless first 20 minutes when they hit the woodwork three times. Atletico’s start was so good that the only shock was they were just 1-0 up after the first 20 minutes.
Even that early goal relied on the frame being rattled first, as Barça failed completely to recover after Adrian Lopez thrashed against the right-hand post. Villa was allowed to dink a cross back across goal and Adrian leapt highest to knock the ball down for an unmarked Koke to side-foot home first time from inside the six-yard box.
Barça were rattled and Villa should have punished his former employers even further when Atletico won the ball on the edge of the area only for the striker to shoot into the left-hand post. Villa made it the complete set when he hooked a shot over Jose Pinto and on to the crossbar after again easily finding a route behind the Barça defence.
When Barça eventually did venture forward even Messi appeared tentative, heading a Dani Alves cross wide when he found a gaping hole in the home defence. The visitors took just two minutes of the second half, though, to create their best chance of the night.
Xavi rolled a perfectly-weighted pass for Neymar, who took a touch, only for Thibaut Courtois to get out early and push the ball away under the Brazilian’s feet. Courtois needed some luck moments later, though, when he lost balance and Messi blazed over.
In Munich, United fans started dreaming of another Champions League triumph against Bayern when Patrice Evra put them 1-0 up on the night, but the lead lasted just 22 seconds as Bayern claimed a reasonably comfortable win. The Germans dominated possession for most of the evening and ran out 3-1 winners on the night thanks to goals from Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Muller and the superb Arjen Robben.
The key to the game, and tie, was the quick Bayern equalizer from Evra’s goal. If United had been able to hold out for 5 or 10 minutes after scoring who knows if Bayern would have been able to came back. But the quick response ended any hope United had of a major upset.