UCL: Real Madrid advance past Liverpool, City defeat Dortmund

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Nicholas Mendola
·7 min read
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Real Madrid put an end to Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League campaign after a scoreless second leg at Anfield on Wednesday gave La Liga’s giants a 3-1 win on aggregate in the quarterfinals.

Liverpool will not win a trophy for the first time in three seasons, failing to make a final for just the second time in the Jurgen Klopp era.

[ ICYMI: Chelsea, PSG oust Porto, Bayern ]

Real will meet Chelsea in the semifinals, while Man City is set to tangle with Paris Saint-Germain for the right to meet in Istanbul for the final on May 29.

Real is in pursuit of a record 17th final and 14th title. Liverpool has six European Cups and has been to nine finals.

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Three things we learned from Liverpool – Real Madrid

1. Both teams go for death blow early, but GKs alert: There was no doubt that Liverpool would bring the offense due to their philosophy and need to overcome a two-goal deficit, but Zinedine Zidane chased the away goal that would demand so much more than simply defending a two-goal advantage. Thibaut Courtois made a terrific early save on James Milner and Alisson matched him with a point-blank stop on Karim Benzema, all inside of the first quarter-hour. The two clubs who celebrate this competition like its their domestic league were at it, but would Liverpool’s first-half sloppiness cost it? Georginio Wijnaldum lashed over the bar and Liverpool was a little off with their work in close but it was clear the visitors were open for business. Would the Reds punish them?

2. Real slips into defense-first mode after half, quickly decides to abandon it: It looked like Zinedine Zidane opted for safety-first in the second half but his Sergio Ramos-free defense instead opened up some big chances within five minutes. Courtois conceded a corner when he made a solid in-tight save on Roberto Firmino in the 46th minute, and the Brazilian soon couldn’t push the side of his head into an airborne cross that looked very good money to make it 1-0. Or maybe not? Real got a hold of the game after the 51st minute and renewed its threat toward the Liverpool goal. Was it just an early surge from Liverpool? Maybe, or perhaps this was Real realizing a decision had gone awry. Vinicius Junior and Benzema then had chances stymied by an aggressive, desperate Alisson.

3. Lanes closed: Whenever Liverpool found itself in positions of danger after that early surge, the Reds saw the lanes closed up by alert and desperate Real Madrid backs and midfielder. There were so many blocked and altered shots as Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, and Co. worked and worked and worked to find angles that weren’t covered by white socks or Courtois. They rarely arrived.

Man of the Match: Thibaut Courtois

It’s either the goalkeeper, Casemiro, or one of Real’s two center backs, especially considering their injuries at that position, with Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane out (not to mention fullback Dani Carvajal). Eder Miltao and Nacho Fernandez played well and Casemiro was his usual nasty self, nbut take Courtois’ early big save on James Milner away and who knows if the Reds manage to rally in confidence and form? Courtois made another big save on Salah very late, giving him four on the day.

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Three things we learned from Manchester City – Borussia Dortmund

Riyad Mahrez’s early second-half penalty, controversially upheld after VAR review, gave Manchester City some relief before Phil Foden smashed any remaining drama out of the tie in a 2-1 UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday at the Westfalenstadion, ending City’s three-year quarterfinal curse and sending Pep Guardiola back to the semifinal.

[ MORE: Three things from Liverpool – Real Madrid ]

Erling Haaland’s hard work helped Jude Bellingham put Dortmund in the driver’s seat as the score settled at 2-2 on aggregate with City yet to score an away goal. But City was not frazzled despite the score staying that way into halftime, emerging with a semifinal berth.

Guardiola made it to at least the semifinals in his first six seasons as a manager, winning two European Cups with Barcelona. He had been stopped in the Round of 16 in his first season at City before the three-straight quarterfinals.

Given their advancement this season despite being in a down period of their season, perhaps this is to be City’s year.

1. Something to write home about: English teen Jude Bellingham was a star of the first leg and he was very good early at the Westfalenstadion. Still 17 until the end of June, Bellingham looks like the most expensive 17-year-old sale of all-time. The Birmingham City product turned his hips and swung his instep through the ball and a full-stretch Ederson could only get a piece of the ball. Given the burgeoning Liverpool-Man City rivalry, a Jude hasn’t given this much glee to Merseyside since Paul McCartney wrote his seven-minute musical message to John Lennon’s son Julian. Will he become the next Jadon Sancho in dancing through the Premier League transfer rumor mill regarding a return from abroad?

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2. No panic on the streets of Manchester: If Pep Guardiola’s men were worried about scoring prior to the Bellingham goal, they were certainly on alert to the task at hand after the opener. Kevin De Bruyne stole a ball atop the 18 and snapped the cross bar before Bernardo Silva appeared to be spun down to no official response while chasing the rebound. There was certainly a question of whether City would find its breakthrough and score, but the gents were not rattled and there was no bottling it, no close-range gaffes to turn into memes as there were when Raheem Sterling missed late against Lyon. City kept pushing for a fourth goal and De Bruyne was stopped by Marwin Hitz. That was a warning sign, as Foden smashed home to the inside post from the edge of the 18.

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3. Man City’s penalty woes, relieved: Emre Can bent to nod a cross away from the Dortmund goal and nodded it onto his arm. Would it be the second time in two legs that City would see a given penalty taken away from it? And would Ederson come up to take the penalty after City has missed so many over the past few years? No, and no. Riyad Mahrez stepped to the spot after quite a wait and — despite what that the statistics say about the length of the wait’s impact on the success of the kick — the Algerian hammered it home.

Man of the Match: Phil Foden

For everything that went into City building back from the early deficit and finishing their penalty, Foden’s vicious strike to make it 4-2 on aggregate was the moment that validated so many things: From the patience Guardiola demanded in developing the “Stockport Iniesta Silva” to the calmness of his men under duress and the manager himself abiding by the philosophies that got him here, this had a lot of Pep on it. And as we celebrated Zidane in Real Madrid’s first leg win over Liverpool for his putting Vinicius Junior in big spots at a young age and giving big game wisdom to the kid, we should do the same for Pep and Foden.

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 Americans Abroad
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Three things we learned from Liverpool – Real Madrid originally appeared on NBCSports.com