Benzema decides and Real Madrid dispatches Liverpool in the Champions League round of 16
No upheavals on the last day of qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals. Real Madrid and Napoli had great advantages and confirmed their favoritism with new victories. With 5-2 against in the first leg, Liverpool failed to repeat the ‘Istanbul miracle’, when they reversed a 3-0 victory against Milan to take the title, and were beaten again, this Wednesday (15), at the Santiago Bernabéu , by 1 to 0, once again embittering a disappointment against the Spaniards – they lost the final of the last edition, for example. The Neapolitans won again against Eintracht Frankfurt, now 3-0.
Real Madrid and Napoli join Manchester City, Inter Milan, Milan, Bayern Munich, Benfica and Chelsea in the quarter-finals. The draw for the games takes place this Friday and all clashes are possible. The home team and crossings until the grand final will be defined.
A huge three-goal lead after the 5-2 win at Anfield did not deter Real Madrid from going on the attack at the Santiago Bernabéu. Instead of attracting the English to their field, the merengue team started in an offensive way and taking danger.
Camavinga, in a bomb from outside the area, stamped the crossbar in the 19th minute. Goalkeeper Alisson lightly touched the ball to prevent the opening of the scoreboard. Soon after it was Modric who almost did. The strong beat went over the top and left Jürgen Klopp quite irritated on the edge of the field. The coach demanded action from the team, fully involved.
Vini Jr. it was a lot of work on the left, going up to the markers and serving the teammates or even trying to solve the skill. At 25, he demanded yet another tough save from Alisson. He was offside though.
Liverpool took the lead. When he did, after 30 minutes, Darwin Núñez first headed safely into the hands of Courtois and then crossed and saw the goalkeeper deflect his cross kick for a corner. Gradually, the English tried to balance the actions. Time, the great enemy, however, seemed to run too fast.
The break came and the fans remembered the “Miracle of Istanbul”, in the 2005 decision against Milan. On that unforgettable May 25th, in Turkey, the English team went to the break with a three-goal setback. In a devastating turn, they sought equality by 3 to 3 and lifted the trophy on penalties. Such a feat was the source of inspiration for the second half in Madrid.
Klopp opted to keep the lineup and the team came back more offensive. With no options, the obligation was to score quickly. But the team was “confused” in front, missing passes too much and showing nervousness when committing silly fouls.
The German coach assisted his fans by launching Firmino. The Brazilian entered in the 12th minute to try the impossible. The Brazilian plays his last games with Liverpool after eight years defending his colors. He will leave at the end of the season for an unknown destination.
Real’s momentum wasn’t the same as it was in the first 45 minutes, but the team showed confidence in knowing how to defend themselves and make time pass. The attacks, rare, always carried danger. And in one of them, Vini Jr. pierced the finish in the area, but managed to serve Benzema, who defined the score with 12 minutes remaining, sealing the Meringue classification.
NAPOLI ADVANCES WITH MORALS
Leader in the bracket that Liverpool had in the first phase, Napoli confirmed their favoritism by dispatching Eintracht Frankfurt with another victory, this time at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, in Naples, by 3-0 – they had made it 2-0 in Germany. Osimhen wrote it down twice.
Politano showed right away that Napoli would not play on top of the advantage by hitting Trapp’s defense with danger. The goalkeeper worked a lot in the first half. There were three interventions in Kvaratskhelia beats. Already in the additions, however, there was nothing he could do when Politano crossed for the free Osimhen. The Nigerian striker sent a header, with style, to increase the Italian advantage.
The bad situation for the Germans was complicated once and for all with Napoli’s devastating start in the second stage. Osimhen doubled, supporting Di Lorenzo’s cross – he injured his hand on the move – and Zielinski, from the penalty spot, made it 3-0 before the 20th minute, defining the series. The broad result showed that the Italians are strong, now with seven wins in eight games in the Champions League.