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Winners and Losers from Champions League Semi-Finals: Mourinho 0, Madrid 2

Mark JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2014

Winners and Losers from Champions League Semi-Finals: Mourinho 0, Madrid 2

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    So, now we know.

    It'll be an all-Madrid Champions League final in Lisbon next month, following two semi-final second legs which saw the away teams completely overwhelm their hosts.

    Real Madrid will face Atletico Madrid in the final in the Portuguese capital on May 24, but just what were the lessons learned from the contests in the last four?

    Here are the winners and losers following two titanic ties:

Winner: Carlo Ancelotti

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    Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

    Real Madrid knew exactly what they were getting when they appointed Carlo Ancelotti in the summer, with the Italian a serial European Cup and Champions League winner as both a player and manager.

    Should he lead Real to their historic 10th success in the final in Lisbon in a few weeks' time, he'll have firmly established himself as not just a modern managerial great but one of the greatest of all time.

    If, however, Real lose out in the final and also fall short in the their pursuit of their domestic title in La Liga, then it would take an act of immense stupidity for them to dispense with the services of the Italian, although they've done similar in the past.

Loser: Pep Guardiola

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    One defeat doesn't spell the end of a manager's philosophy or throw doubt on his style of play, but Pep Guardiola was given a huge reality check by Ancelotti and Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

    Rather like Barcelona's 7-0 aggregate loss to Bayern last season, it is the sheer scale of this scoreline which leaps off the page. After dominating large periods of play in the first leg at the Bernabeu only to lose, Bayern seemed dispirited here and ultimately had no answer to the power of Real, both from set pieces or counter-attacks.

    Guardiola shouldn't have to change the way that he sets his Bayern team up, but he does have to study this loss, take lessons from it and come back stronger next season.

    Ultimately, he has failed where Jupp Heynckes succeeded.

Winner: Sergio Ramos

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    Of course it would be easy to mention Cristiano Ronaldo here, but he gets the plaudits every week. Instead, we should be paying tribute to Sergio Ramos.

    Having given so much to the Real Madrid cause since signing from Sevilla in 2005, the Champions League winners' medal is the one glaring omission from Ramos' collection, and if Real are to win it, then there would be few more deserving.

    Yes, he plays so far on the edge that he often topples off it, but you will find few more wholehearted players at the top end of the European game than Ramos, and his two goals in Munich were wonderful to behold. 

Loser: Xabi Alonso

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    Having scored the third of Liverpool's three goals in the remarkable comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul nine years ago, Xabi Alonso knows all about what it takes to win the Champions League, but the fact that he won't be playing in this year's final is entirely his fault.

    Knowing that he was just a yellow card away from missing it, the Real Madrid midfielder launched into a foolish challenge with his side already in control of the tie against Bayern Munich and having all but booked their place in the Portuguese capital.

    It was the sort of lunge which invites a referee to book you, and that's exactly what happened.

    Real will miss his influence in the final.

Winner: Diego Simeone

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Plenty expected Atletico Madrid to wilt and eventually succumb to Chelsea in their semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge, especially after Fernando Torres' opening goal, but manager Diego Simeone was able to expertly marshal his troops.

    Make no mistake, if Atletico were to win both the Champions League and La Liga crowns this season, then it would be one of the most remarkable successes in recent football history and would make their manager one of the hottest properties around.

    The Argentinean is a special talent, and one who is sure to be prized across the continent following this success.

Loser: Jose Mourinho

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Why field such an ultra-defensive formation? Why encourage opponents who love to play on the counter-attack?

    These are the questions which should be aimed at Jose Mourinho after another Champions League semi-final defeat for him at his current club, following on from Chelsea's losses to Liverpool under him in both 2005 and 2007.

    Why not abandon the pragmatism for one night only, and try to overwhelm opponents? Even when Mourinho decided to make an attacking substitution, Samuel Eto'o only succeeded in immediately giving away a penalty.

    The manager's methods have to be respected, of course, but he got it badly wrong here didn't he?

Winner: Diego Costa

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Diego Costa can be whatever he wants to be, as evidenced by his switch of allegiance from Brazil to Spain, and the forward appears destined to have a huge say in the World Cup in the summer.

    If he went there as a Champions League winner, then that would only add to the appeal of a player who is sure to be a hot property in the summer transfer market, and his display leading the line here has only increased his reputation.

    Costa was excellent, he scored a penalty and led the line superbly.

    If he was wearing a blue shirt, then it is likely we'd have different finalists.

Loser: Petr Cech

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Having now got a good look at the excellence of Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea fans will be questioning the future of goalkeeper Petr Cech, who was wheeled out before the cameras ahead of this tie but didn't play.

    The prospect of Courtois, on loan at Atletico from Stamford Bridge, playing for the Blues next season has suddenly become a very real one, and the long-serving Cech could well be the one to miss out.

    Courtois' late save from Belgian compatriot Eden Hazard was probably the pick of his efforts over the evening, and there can be little doubt that the goalkeeper is one who Chelsea must surely recall to their squad in the summer.

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