Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool: Player ratings as Los Blancos ease into Champions League quarters
Real Madrid finished the job they started at Anfield last month by securing a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Los Blancos were the better side on the night and Karim Benzema’s 19th goal of the season in the closing stages added to the 5-2 aggregate lead they had built from the first leg.
Liverpool needed to make a fast start to have any chance of the impossible and had the first clear chance only six minutes in when Mohamed Salah capitalised on a slip from Antonio Rudiger and fed the ball through to Darwin Nunez – his low shot was blocked by Thibaut Courtois’ feet.
But a stark reminder of Real’s danger came moments later when, after a slick move, a better square pass from Toni Kroos would have given Benzema a tap-in. Kroos himself also went close in the early stage, smashing a left-footed drive that Liverpool were grateful was straight at Alisson.
Los Blancos remained closest to breaking the deadlock when Alisson somehow denied Vinicius from point-blank range. Another outstanding save followed, the merest of touches tipping Eduardo Camavinga’s curling long-range shot onto the crossbar. The Brazilian didn’t get near a subsequent rocket from Luka Modric and was grateful to see it just miss the target.
Liverpool’s decent start had long since dissipated by the time Nunez and Cody Gakpo tested Courtois in fairly quick succession just after the half hour mark. The Belgian tipped the first wide of the far post, before a strong near post parry to deny the powerful second.
It became even more clear once the second half got going that Liverpool were being kept in it by their goalkeeper. One after the other, Alisson saved from Federico Valverde and Benzema. Just after the hour mark, Valverde wasn’t far away again when he headed just over.
Real had been too good, although opportunities kept going begging. Benzema knew he should have done better upon blazing over after being found by Vinicius Junior.
Having created plenty of visually appealing chances all night, it was probably how it was meant to be that when the stalemate was eventually ended it was scrappy to say the least. Benzema initially fluffed his lines under pressure from Virgil van Dijk, but the ball broke to Vinicius, who then slipped yet had the presence of mind to poke it back to Benzema for the tap-in.
The end of the game was delayed for a lengthy VAR check for a possible Real penalty when the ball struck the arm of substitute Kostas Tsimikas. It had bounced up off his thigh and even though referee Felix Zwayer was advised to look at the pitchside monitor, the right call was made.
GK: Thibaut Courtois – 7/10 – Made saves when called upon, particularly one early on that could have changed the tie had it gone in. But didn’t have loads to do overall.
RB: Dani Carvajal – 8/10 – Didn’t give Liverpool a sniff down his flank.
CB: Eder Militao – 7/10 – Defensively sound.
CB: Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – Didn’t always looked the most assured, especially when Salah was buzzing around, but got the job done in the end.
LB: Nacho – 7/10 – So dependable.
CM: Luka Modric – 8/10 – Pretty flawless in dictating the game.
CM: Eduardo Camavinga – 8/10 – Played with confidence and maturity beyond his years at the heart of the team. Hit the bar when Alisson tipped his swerving shot onto the woodwork.
CM: Toni Kroos – 8/10 – Worked really well with Vinicius in the left channel.
RW: Federico Valverde – 7/10 – Not scared of trying his luck and made sure that Robertson was largely pinned back.
ST: Karim Benzema (c) – 7/10 – Had a number of chances and should have taken at least one before he actually scored. Hobbled off soon after, which will be a concern ahead of Sunday’s Clasico.
LW: Vinicius Junior – 8/10 – Made a bright and confident start. Denied by an outstanding Alisson save in the first half, gave Alexander-Arnold a pretty torrid time and finished with an assist.
SUB: Dani Ceballos (82′ for Modric) – N/A
SUB: Rodrygo (82′ for Benzema) – N/A
SUB: Marco Asensio (84′ for Vinicius) – N/A
SUB: Aurelien Tchouameni (84′ for Kroos) – N/A
SUB: Lucas Vazquez (86′ for Carvajal) – N/A
Carlo Ancelotti – 8/10 – No concerns that his team weren’t taking chances because they were always in control. Made his changes when the job was well and truly done.
GK: Alisson – 9/10 – Liverpool could have conceded five again without him.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4/10 – No surprise that he struggled defensively, but this wasn’t a good night for him on the ball either. Sloppy.
CB: Ibrahima Konate – 5/10 – Gave the ball away too easily.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 5/10 – Ought to have done better when Real eventually did score.
LB: Andrew Robertson – 6/10 – The better of Liverpool’s two full-backs but still a rough night.
CM: Fabinho – 7/10 – Actually performed quite well but Liverpool lacked bodies in the middle.
CM: James Milner (c) – 5/10 – Worked hard but was never on the same level as Real.
RM: Mohamed Salah – 6/10 – Pace made him a threat and he was more involved than his teammates.
AM: Cody Gakpo – 6/10 – Tracked all the way back to make a potentially goal-saving tackle on Benzema early on. Forced Courtois into a decent first half save.
LM: Diogo Jota – 4/10 – Might as well have not been on the pitch.
ST: Darwin Nunez – 5/10 – Had chances but couldn’t take them. Hardly touched the ball overall.
SUB: Roberto Firmino (57′ for Nunez) – 5/10
SUB: Harvey Elliott (57′ for Jota) – 6/10
SUB: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (73′ for Milner) – 5/10
SUB: Fabio Carvalho (90+2′ for Gakpo) – N/A
SUB: Kostas Tsimikas (90+2′ for Robertson) – N/A
Jurgen Klopp – 5/10 – Had no response to a very solid Real Madrid performance. Allowed his emotions to boil over in the second half and was cautioned by the referee.
Player of the match – Alisson (Liverpool)
Player ratings as Janssen penalty decides even UWCL clash
Wolfsburg had VAR to thank for their quarter-final first leg victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Women’s Champions League on Thursday night.
Dominique Janssen scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot midway through the second half for a handball from PSG defender Elisa de Almeida that wasn’t seen by the officials in real time.
Upon review, English referee Rebecce Welch pointed to the spot and showed De Almeida a yellow card. Having already been avoidably cautioned for dissent in the first half, that mean red for her.
Janssen calmly converted the penalty, rolling the ball into the bottom corner as eight-time Champions League winning goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi dived the opposite way.
PSG had earlier thought they had a penalty of their own when the impressive Sakina Karchaoui went down under pressure from Wolfsburg defender Marina Hegering. It was initially given as a foul, but when Welch consulted the pitchside monitor she changed her mind.
Shots on target were few and far between, with Janssen’s penalty one of only three between both sides. Ramona Bachmann had PSG’s best chance, forcing a save from Merle Frohms.
The second leg will take place at Wolfsburg’s Volkswagen Arena next Thursday, where the Germans will have home advantage on top of their aggregate lead.
GK: Bouhaddi (5); RB: Lawrence (7), CB: De Almeida (4), CB: Geyoro (6), LB: Karchaoui (8); CM: Hamraoui (6), CM: Jean-Francois (6), RM: Baltimore (6); AM: Bachmann (6), LM: Groenen (5); ST: Diani (6)
Subs: Fazer (6), Vangsgaard (6)
GK: Frohms (7); RB: Hendrich (7), CB: Hegering (7), CB: Janssen (7), LB: Rauch (7); CM: Oberdorf (6), CM: Lattwein (7); RM: Huth (6), AM: Roord (6), LM: Popp (7); ST: Pajor (5)
Subs: Brand (6), Jonsdottir (6), Bremer (N/A)
Player of the match – Sakina Karchaoui (PSG)
Player ratings as Blues open up slender UWCL aggregate lead
Chelsea earned a hard fought 1-0 win over Lyon in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final at the Groupama Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Blues will now take that narrow aggregate lead into next week’s second leg at Kingsmeadow, making them slight favourites to reach the last four of the competition.
The ever-impressive Guro Reiten scored the only goal of the game in the first half, curling a delicious first-time shot past Christiane Endler with her weaker right foot after being played in by the returning Erin Cuthbert.
Lauren James almost scored a stunning second for Chelsea before the interval, running with the ball down the right and unleashing a speculative strike with her left foot that crashed into the far post and bounced clear.
Sam Kerr didn’t see very much of the ball over the course of the 90 minutes but might have thought she could have done better with a good chance early in the second that she missed the target with.
Lyon saw more of the ball and had more shots in total. But, frustratingly for the home crowd, the eight-time winners and reigning champions lacked the cutting edge quality to breakdown a resilient Chelsea back-line that included Kadeisha Buchanan against her former club.
Delphine Cascarino did hit the post early in the second half and there was a late surge of pressure in the final stages, but the leveller never came.
The only blot on an otherwise top night for Chelsea was losing Millie Bright to injury in the first half.
GK: Endler (6); RB: Carpenter (7), CB: Gilles (7), CB: Renard (7), LB: Morroni (6); CM: Horan (6), CM: Egurrola (6), CM: Marozsan (6); RW: Cascarino (7), ST: Le Sommer (5), LW: Dabritz (6)
Subs: Bechel (6), Van de Donk (7), Bacha, (6), Malard (6), Majri (7)
GK: Berger (7); RB: Perisset (7), CB: Buchanan (8), CB: Bright (7), LB: Carter (7); CM: Leupolz (7), CM: Ingle (7); RM: James (8), AM: Cuthbert (8), LM: Reiten (8), ST: Kerr (6)
Subs: Eriksson (6), Charles (6), Rytting Kaneryd (N/A), Mjelde (N/A)
Player of the match – Kadeisha Buchanan (Chelsea)
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal – UWCL preview: TV channel, live stream, team news & prediction
Bayern Munich and Arsenal will play the first of this season’s Women’s Champions League quarter-final first legs as the competition reaches the knockout phase.
The group stage wound up back in December, making it along wait for the last eight to resume their respective quests for European glory.
Bayern are a growing force in Germany and Europe, reaching the semi-finals of this competition in two of the last four seasons. Arsenal, meanwhile, are only featuring in the Champions League at all for the third time since 2014 but, like Bayern, reached the quarters last season.
Arsenal topped their group earlier in the season, largely thanks to a surprise 5-1 thrashing of reigning champions Lyon. Bayern also enjoyed a strong group stage, inflicting Barcelona’s only defeat in any competition since last season’s final, but finishing second on goal difference.
Former Manchester City midfielder Georgia Stanway is a very familar face for Arsenal fans but has said she has grown and developed even more than she would have expected since moving to Bayern for a new challenge last summer.
Linda Dallmann has recently been ruled out for the rest of the season following an ankle injury suffered earlier this month. Fellow Germany international Giulia Gwinn is out with an ACL tear, but Carolin Simon is back in the squad.
Arsenal did not add veteran Jodie Taylor to their Champions League squad when she returned to the club last week – the deadline for squad additions had already passed.
Stina Blackstenius could return to the starting XI after illness in the build up to the last game against Reading just over a week ago limited her to a 30-minute cameo. Frida Maanum, Arsenal’s hero against Lyon, is likely to be back in midfield, with Leah Williamson returning to defence.
The double loss of Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema will still be felt massively. Losing versatile defender Steph Catley in recent weeks has also been a blow.
Bayern have won 12 consecutive games in all competitions coming into this one, a run which includes victories over Barcelona and domestic rivals Wolfsburg.
Arsenal have themselves come into decent form after a poor start to 2023, putting together successive wins over Chelsea, to win the Conti Cup, Liverpool and Reading.
But in Munich and Arsenal missing their two most potent goal threats, the advantage here – and perhaps for the whole tie – has to lie with Bayern. There is also the not so small matter of returning to the Allianz Arena for the first time since beating Barcelona, which will evoke fond memories.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Arsenal
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