Real Madrid are returning to the Champions League quarter-finals after a 1-0 second leg win over Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday night gave them a 6-2 aggregate win. .
The UCL champions went into the match with a 5-2 lead after the first leg at Anfield and a second-half goal from Karim Benzema sealed an outcome that most expected in the face of the reverse match.
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“It was a difficult game after the first leg, but from the beginning we wanted to go forward,” Benzema said after the game. “It was a good game for the fans, for everyone, and we’re in the quarterfinals.”
Both teams had good chances in the first 45 minutes from start to finish, but Thibaut Courtois and Alisson both were solid between the posts on either net and the first half ended goalless.
Madrid seemed more likely to score as the second half wore on, with Federico Valverde heading just over the crossbar and Benzema wasting a good opportunity before conceding into an open goal from a junior vinicius help seal the tie forever.
The French striker, who missed Real Madrid’s win against Espanyol last weekend due to injury, has scored 13 goals in his last eight Champions League round of 16 games.
After scoring, Benzema appeared to recover somewhat with a limp, but said he had only taken a minor hit and would be ready for Sunday’s game. classic against the leader of LaLiga Barcelona.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side are bidding to win back-to-back titles and a record-extending 15th European crown, and Benzema said at the moment it didn’t matter who Madrid faced in the next round.
“All the teams are good at this level, there are no small teams. It’s all about the small details, so we’ll see who we get,” Benzema said. “Football is suffering. Everyone wants more, but sometimes you have to suffer. The most important thing is to win and go through”.
Needing a three-goal win after losing 5-2 at home, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp chose a very attacking team with forwards. Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jotá and Darwin Nunez in the starting eleven.
Núñez almost scored in the sixth minute after Salah stole the ball from Eder Militao and set up the Uruguayan, but his low shot was blocked by Courtois.
Playing with two disciplined four-man defensive lines and only Vinicius and Benzema up front, Real looked to counterattack using the Brazil international’s pace down the left.
The inspired Vinicius nearly scored on 14 minutes, but his point-blank volley was brilliantly saved by Alisson.
eduardo camavinga unleashed a thunderous shot from distance shortly after Vinicius’s chance, but it hit the crossbar and Luka modric He also fired a ferocious shot inches from the crossbar.
Courtois made several good saves to avoid shots from Núñez and Gakpo, but Madrid remained in control and seemed content to slow the pace of play to frustrate their opponents.