Football Article

UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final Round-Up: Liverpool, Barcelona Take Giant Strides towards Semis

UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final Round-Up: Liverpool, Barcelona Take Giant Strides towards Semis Photo: TT
Liverpool will be happy with a 2-0 lead

The UEFA Champions League quarter-finals first leg were played this week and here’s a round-up of all the matches that happened.

TOTTENHAM 1-0 MANCHESTER CITY: Spurs take a slender advantage to the Etihad Stadium.

The all English match-up started off as expected with a frenetic pace and the drama started early, as the away side were awarded a penalty kick at the 12th minute.

The referee with the use of the VAR adjudged that Danny Rose handled the ball in the penalty area. Sergio Aguero stepped up, but his spot kick was saved by Hugo Loris. 10 minutes later and it was the host who had a good chance, but striker Harry Kane’s shot was straight at Ederson in the Man City goal.

They went into the interval scoreless.

Spurs then suffered a potentially season-defining injury as Kane had to go off after colliding with Fabian Delph. It would be the team in all white that would take the lead; Christian Eriksen played in Son, the South Korean barely kept the ball in play, he carried the ball across the Mancurians defense and powered the ball into the net with a low shot.They held on until the end, despite City making a couple of substitutions.

LIVERPOOL 2-0 PORTO: Five time champions Liverpool carry a great lead to Portugal

As expected the Reds started on the front foot and were rewarded soon after, as Naby Keita gave them the lead.

Sadio Mane beat a couple of Porto defenders, passed off to Roberto Firmino, the Brazilian fed the onrushing Keita, and his shot took a deflection and went into the back of the net.

Firmino himself, got on the score-sheet just 20 minutes later, as he finished off a lovely Liverpool move, by tapping in a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross. Porto’s main man this season in Europe, Marega missed two good chances to pull his team back, but failed and the teams ended the first half with the home team leading.

In the second half, the home team basically just dropped their tempo and held on to their advantage, Porto could not get much going and the match ended as the first half.

AJAX 1-1 JUVENTUS: All square in a repeat of the 1973 & 1996 European Cup finals in Amsterdam

Both teams showed a real willingness to go forward and created chances; with Federico Bernadeshi just firing over the bar for the Bianconerri and Riyad Ziyech for Ajax hitting the side netting and forcing Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into a flying save.

On the stroke of half-time, it was the away team that took the lead, and inevitably, it was Cristiano Ronaldo who got the opener;Fellow Portuguese Joao Cancelo floated a lovely weighted ball towards his compatriot and the serial European winner scored with a header that the Ajax goalkeeper could only get a hand and he parried it into the goal.

Right at the start of the second half, the four time European champions were back on level terms, with a fine individual effort. David Neres won the ball off Cancelo, he drove towards the Juventus goal and unleashed an unstoppable right-footed shot into the far corner of the goal. Ajax were much the better team thereafter, as they dominated possession, but just could not carve out that one great opportunity.

Juventus came the closest to scoring again, as Douglas Costa hit the post with a wonderful solo effort and the game ended in a draw.

MANCHESTER UNITED 0-1 BARCELONA: Advantage the Blaugrana at Old Trafford

The Catalans scored an early goal and basically managed the rest of the game, and it was through an own goal that their goal came.

Lionel Messi chipped the ball towards Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan, headed it towards goal and it took a deflection off Luke Shaw and into the goal.

The home team were really devoid of any ideas and they failed to carve out any clear cut chances, while Barcelona were clearly just playing within themselves knowing that the away goal, has them with one foot in the semi-finals already. The match just petered out thereafter.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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