Down 3-1 after the first leg against Porto, Bayern Munich were in proper trouble of being knocked out of the Champions League. Yeah… nah. By half-time this morning they were up 5-0 and cruising, don’t even worry about it. Eventually they won 6-1, and 7-4 on aggregate. And they did it without Arjen Robben or Franck Ribery as well. Ah, but they did suffer one crucial loss… Pep Guardiola’s pants. Yes, pour one out for the finest tailored slacks in football, literally torn in the heat of the battle.
No such rallying necessary for Barcelona, they cruised past PSG thanks to a double from Neymar, 2-0 the score, 5-1 on aggregate. So Barca and Bayern become the first two teams in the semi-finals, the other two quarters are concluded tomorrow. Monaco try to overcome a 1-0 deficit against Juventus at home, while Real Madrid host Atletico after a scoreless first leg.
Speaking of Champions League success, a 1-0 win over FC Gaitcha means Auckland City will face off against Team Wellington in the OFC Champions League final for a place in the World Club Cup. Marko Dordevic scored the only goal of the game in the second half. Auckland City will be playing for their fifth consecutive OFC title.
Burying the lede, let’s all give a round of applause to Manu Vatuvei, and even more so the NZ Warriors for getting the deal done. Manu’s signed a new contract that’ll keep him at the club until 2018, by which time he’ll have spent an incredible 15 years with them. He’s 60 games short of Stacey Jones’ club record for appearances (261 of them) and the gap is closing week by week. And don’t be put off by the longevity, The Beast is playing some of his best ever footy this season, with six tries in seven games.
Meanwhile the Warriors made a couple changes to their squad for the Anzac day clash with the Titans. Konrad Hurrell’s inconsistency has cost him his spot, he’ll go back to the NSW Cup to work out a few kinks but don't worry about that because David Fusitu'a makes his first start of the season in the centres in his place. Fusitu'a has looked super sharp in the NSW Cup side recently, he’s earned this. Same goes for veteran prop Sam Rapira, while Raymond Faitala-Mariner could make his debut in the game too. Albert Vete and Dominique Peyroux drop out. This is a game the Warriors 100% should win, so it oughta be fun. It’ll be the first game of five on Anzac Day, all held in five different cities back to back in honour of that ol’ Anzac Spirit.
A shout out to Scott Dixon to finish, he won out at Long Beach to climb to fourth in the IndyCar Series standings. It was the three-time series champion’s first win at Long Beach, taking the lead with 47 laps to go and holding it ‘til the chequered flag. Dixon’s first lead of the season. He gets plenty of credit when he wins, does Scott Dixon, but given how consistently great he is every week… he should honestly be considered one of this country’s greatest sportsmen.
The Niche Cache’s Opinions on The America’s Cup: