Champions League quarter-finals

by Lorraine Williamson
Man City through to the Champions League semi-finals - https://twitter.com/ChampionsLeague/status/1514359613847654402

FOOTBALL – Both legs of the Champions League quarter-finals have now been played. And wow! What excitement, surprises, and controversy there was.

Villarreal v Bayern

Villarreal went into their second leg one goal up against Bayern. The second leg was played at the Allianz Arena in Munich. However, favourites, Bayern only hit the net once when Lewandowski scored in the 52nd minute.

Villarreal´s Chukwueze claimed a late equaliser after 88 minutes. This made it 2-1 on aggregate and meant Villarreal went through to the semi-finals.

Real Madrid v Chelsea

Real Madrid v Chelsea was another action-packed game. The home side went into the game two goals up, and with the away goal advantage.

However, a goal after 15 minutes from Mount put Chelsea very much back in the game. This was then followed in the second half by 2 more goals by Chelsea from Rudiger and Werner after 51 and 75 minutes. This then put Chelsea in the lead with only 15 minutes of normal time remaining.

Then Rodrygo put the ball in the net for Real Madrid just 5 minutes later. When it looked as if the chance of reaching the semi-finals were over for the Madrid side, once again Benzema stepped up. He scored the winning goal 6 minutes into extra time.

Having scored a hat-trick in the first leg, Benzema scored once again in the return leg netting 4 out of the 5 goals in the quarter-final matches.

Although Real Madrid lost the second leg 2-3, they won on aggregate 5-4 and go through to the semi-finals.

Liverpool v Benfica

Having won the first leg away to Benfica by 3 goals to 1, Liverpool looked comfortable going into the second tie at home. Liverpool was first to score with a goal from Konaté after 21 minutes. However, Benfica fought back, and Ramos equalised in the 32nd minute. It remained 1-1 for the rest of the first half.

Firmino put 2 goals away 10 and 20 minutes into the second half. Once again, Benfica fought back claiming 2 more goals from Yaremchuk and Núñez after 73 and 81 mintues. Núñez had a further 2 goals disallowed. Both teams did themselves proud and scored an amazing 3 goals each. However, this meant Liverpool won 6-4 on aggregate. This is Liverpool´s fifth semi-final in just 5 seasons.

Atletico v Man City

Wow, what a game! The teams exploded onto the pitch at break-neck pace at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. Both teams desperate to make the first goal. The atmosphere was electric, but the game will not be remembered for the exciting football, or the pace and energy. Instead, it will be remembered for the ugly scenes.

The game

Although Man City had most of the possession throughout the game, Atletico had more shots on goal. However, neither team managed to score.

Ten minutes into the game, Stones heads the ball towards the net, but it just skims over the bar. Atletico´s Felipe receives his first yellow card 24 minutes in for clattering into De Bruyne from behind. This was following a previous warning.

Attempts on goal continued fast and furious throughout the first half, but it finished goalless.

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The second half started much the same as the first with attempts on goal straight from the off. However, nothing transpires. After 80 minutes Atletico´s Llorente receives the 2nd yellow card of the match when he brought Fernandinho down. Five minutes later, Rodri of Man City was carded after he took out Cunha stopping a chance from Suarez. Cunha´s shot at goal from Correa´s header was blocked.

Chaos

In the 90th minute, Foden is brought down by Felipe. Ex Man City player, Savic rushes to move Foden off the pitch and to get back up to continue the final minutes of the game. This caused some amount of controversy, and a massive confrontation erupts between the two sets of players.

The referee attempts to bring back some control but is not successful. Savic receives a yellow card. Man City´s Aké faces up to Savic and receives a yellow card. Felipe is subsequently sent off but does not take this well and has to be removed by his teammates after arguing with the ref. A few minutes later, Mahrez of Man City is booked for time-wasting. Foden then fouls De Paul and is carded.

At this point, 9 minutes had been added for stoppage time, however, the controversy continued. Cancelo brought down Carrasco on the edge of the box giving Atletico an opportunity. Cancelo receives a yellow card for this.

Meanwhile, Simeone adds to the list in the book by going onto the pitch to try and calm down Savic.

Now, 12 minutes into stoppage time, Correa is denied a goal as his effort is saved by Ederson. One minute later, it was all over for the Madrid side. Manchester City goes through to the semi-finals of the Champions League. This is the third time in their history that the Manchester side go through at this level.

More cards than corners

By the end of this Champions League game, Manchester City had received 5 yellow cards, with the Madrid side getting 2 yellow and 1 red. Although, they were lucky not to have received a second red card for Savic´s behaviour.

It didn´t end there

The match may have ended, but the ugly scenes were just ramping up. Police had to intervene in the tunnel. Both sides were separated by a handrail with security staff in the middle. Sime Vrsaljko and Savic continued to incite the Manchester players and had to be held back by their teammates.

The managers

In the post-match press conference, Guardiola refused to comment, and said, “I have nothing to say” when asked if he thought the Atletico Madrid players crossed the line. Guardiola praised his players and the play from Atletico in the second half but mentioned Simeone´s defensive setup. Some took this as a dig.

In the other press conference, according to the Manchester Evening News, a reporter asked Simeone: “Is it demanding or cheeky to ask you if you could give Real Madrid some advice on how to defeat City.” Simeone refused to answer the question and subsequently stormed out of the press conference.  

Injuries

The game was not without injuries. Pep Guardiola admitted his team may have problems going into their next match.

The semi-finals

The first legs of the Champions League semi-finals are due to be played on April 17.

Liverpool will take on Villarreal, and Man City will face Real Madrid. The return legs will take place on May 4.

Also read: La Liga, Europa, and Champions League action

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