FOOTBALL – Both legs of the 2022 Champions League semi-finals have ended. Each semi-final was a Spanish team up against an English team. And what fantastic games they were!
The battle for the final places in the Champions League was fought this week in the 2nd legs of the semi-finals.
Villarreal v Liverpool
On Wednesday, Villarreal was at home for the second leg. They were 2 goals down on aggregate, so they had a lot to do to qualify, but had the home advantage.
This was displayed almost immediately when Boulaye Dia scored just 3 minutes into the match. The game was back on. The Spanish side had another good chance after 38 minutes, but the attempt is saved. However, that second goal came for Villarreal just a few minutes before halftime. A lovely cross from Capoue set up Coquelin for a fantastic header into the top corner of the net.
The first half ended 2-2 on aggregate.
Ten minutes into the second half, and Liverpool almost scored after a deflection bounced off the bar. However, in the 62nd minute, the goal came for Liverpool as Fabinho sent the ball low and nutmegged the Villarreal keeper. It was now 2-1 on the night, but Liverpool was winning on aggregate. Just 5 minutes later, man of the match, Diaz hits the ball home and Liverpool extended their lead.
The game was still frantic and there was still everything to play for. But then in the 74th minute, Mane fired at an empty goal and made it 5-2 on aggregate. Despite having been 2 goals up in the first half, Liverpool was the better side and scored 3 in the second half.
All of Villarreal´s attempts at goal came in the first half. Whereas Liverpool had 3 times as many attempts at goal, with almost all of them in the second half.
Capoue received a red card 5 minutes before time.
Real Madrid v Manchester City
The first leg finished 4-3 for the Manchester side. The second leg was played last night (Wednesday) at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Right from the whistle, the game was played at a fast and furious pace. Three minutes in, and the first corner went to City, but the ball was cleared, and the game continued. Two minutes later, the first big chance came for Benzema, but the offside flag was raised. The game was not even 10 minutes in before the first yellow cards were issued to Laporte and Modric.
The game was played at such a fast pace all the way through with no letting up. The stadium fans were not going to allow time wasting and made their presence heard.
Man City have only one goal advantage, and with Benzema and Vini Jnr on top form, they couldn´t afford to sit back. However, it seemed almost every player was playing their best game.
A free kick was awarded just outside the box after 27 minutes for a foul on Vini Jnr. Kroos took the kick, but the ball just skimmed over. Foden´s 36th-minute attempt at goal was blocked. The full stadium was on the edge of their seats.
Just before half time, Benzema had an attempt on goal, but the offside flag was up. City had a couple of corners, but Real Madrid blocked them.
Despite having 13 shots at target between the teams, there were no goals in the first half. Therefore, Man City retained their lead of 1 goal on aggregate.
Immediately, there was a chance at goal for Vini Jnr, but the flag was raised either for Vini or Carvajal as he fired a low cross. Almost 10 minutes in the second half and there is a flurry of excitement at the goal. However, Benzema, Vini Jnr, and Modric all fail to put the ball away.
The tension continued to mount, and after 60 minutes of play, the game could still have gone either way. Carvajal receives a yellow card after clashing with De Bruyne.
Then finally, after 72 minutes a goal came. It was for City when Silva took the ball and ran into space before passing to Riyad Mahrez who used his left foot to put the ball in the top corner.
20 minutes remaining
At this point, it was the Man City fans that were vocal as Man City was winning 5-3 on aggregate, and there were less than 20 minutes of play remaining.
However, Real Madrid did not give up, and 10 minutes later, Benzema had a shot at goal. But once again, the flag was up. With only 6 minutes to go, Militao received a yellow card, and a free kick was awarded to City. The chance was blocked by the Madrid side, only to have Cancelo aim at the top corner. However, Thibaut Courtois knocked it away with a diving save.
City seemed to have upped their game, and in the final minutes it was still 0-1 on the night, but with Man City winning 5-3 on aggregate.
Everything looked to be over for Real Madrid. Until the 90-minute mark, Benzema sets up Rodrygo who finished at close range.
Six minutes were added, and just one minute later, Rodrygo scored again. Everything was level, and with only 5 minutes left, it looked like the game could go to extra time. The atmosphere was electric.
Only a few minutes into extra time, Benzema was awarded a penalty after a Ruben Dias challenge. Benzema took the shot and sent the keeper the wrong way. Remarkably, Real Madrid was now back in the lead. They went from 3-5 down to go 6-5 ahead.
No more goals came during extra time; however, 3 minutes were added, and at this point, City was awarded a corner. But it was not to be. City was just 6 minutes away from the Champions League final, but with 3 goals in quick succession, Real Madrid were the winners.
The final score of the 2022 Champions League semi final was Real Madrid 3 – 1 Manchester City (6-5 on aggregate).
Champions League 2022 final
The final will take place on May 28 at 9.00 pm. Liverpool v Real Madrid.
Also read: Champions League 2022 quarter finals