Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool were on the receiving end.
The Champions League recommenced tonight with two blockbuster games to kick off the quarter-finals, namely Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid vs Liverpool.
Although it’s “only” the first leg and there’s much to be played for yet, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund suffered major setbacks tonight, losing their ties. However, they did both manage to score an away goal which could prove crucial going into the second leg next week.
Liverpool will be the more red-faced of the two, having been outclassed for much of the game against a superior Real Madrid team – on the night, anyways.
Madrid struck first through Vinicius Junior in the 27th minute. Toni Kroos played a fantastic lobbed pass over the top of the Liverpool defence which the aforementioned Vinicius Junior controlled expertly on his chest before finishing neatly past Alisson on the half volley. Nat Phillips and Trent Alexander-Arnold didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory for the goal, failing to track the Real Madrid man’s movement and run which resulted in the goal.
Minutes later, Alexander-Arnold was at fault again for the second Real Madrid goal. He attempted to head back to Alisson from a hopeful Real Madrid through ball over the top but instead, he inadvertently passed straight into the path of Marco Asensio who proceeded to calmly chip over the keeper and finish easily into the net. In truth, they deserved nothing less having controlled the game up to that point.
There was a glimmer of hope for Liverpool shortly after the second half kicked-off as Mohamed Salah pulled one back in the 51st minute after a good team move.
That hope was short lived, though. Real Madrid got their third in the 65th minute, Vinicius Junior the goalscorer yet again. Luke Modric provided the assist with a short pass into the feet of the Brazilian who finished into the bottom right corner.
Vinicius Junior and the experienced midfield of Casemiro, Kroos and Modric were too much to handle for Liverpool on the night as they fell to a 3-1 loss.
🏁 FT: @realmadriden 3-1 @LFC
⚽ @vinijr 27′, 65′, @marcoasensio10 36′; Salah 51′#Emirates | #UCL pic.twitter.com/qCrqKT0EWL
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) APRIL 6, 2021
Dortmund, on the other hand, could perhaps count themselves unlucky not to come away with at least a draw.
The German side started the match well, matching City for possession and even conjuring up a couple of half chances. However, City’s quality showed in the 19th minute as their talisman Kevin De Bruyne found the net after a quick, fluid team move.
In a highly controversial twist, Dortmund were denied what seemed an obvious goal in the 38th minute. Talented teenager Jude Bellingham raced forward and stole the ball from City goalkeeper Ederson’s feet after a heavy touch before tapping into an empty net. The referee, though, had blew the whistle before the ball found its way into the net, indicating Bellingham fouled Ederson in the process. Replays showed that Bellingham got to the ball ahead of Ederson and the former may have actually been fouled rather than the latter. Ederson’s extravagant reaction may have been the deciding factor in disallowing the goal as he immediately fell to the ground in reaction to mask his mistake.
The first half ended 1-0 to Manchester City to the misfortune of Borussia Dortmund.
Erling Haaland – who was quiet for most of the game – had a fantastic opportunity to level the scoreline shortly after the second half commenced as he was played through with a ball over the top. He showed his immense strength as he bullied Ruben Dias onto the ground to open up space for a shot. Haaland though, had unbalanced himself in the process of shoving Dias out of the way and failed to get a proper connection on the ball. Ederson dealt with his shot easily in the end.
Although Haaland would fail to score on the night, he was heavily involved in Dortmund’s equaliser in the 84th minute, as was Jude Bellingham. The latter played a good ball into Haaland’s feet who was occupying a deeper position than usual. He then spotted the run of Marco Reus who was making a run off Kyle Walker’s shoulder and played a pinpoint first time pass into his path. Reus then closed in on goal and made no mistake as he finished past Ederson with aplomb.
City weren’t finished that easily, though. Phil Foden, who missed a handful of good chances throughout the game, scored a late winner after Gundogan provided the lay-off in the 6-yard box.
The match finished 2-1 to Manchester City after a hard-fought contest.
FULL TIME | After all that, we’re taking a lead to Germany! 💙
🔵 2-1 🟡 #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re pic.twitter.com/e4BKlmsDqp
— Manchester City (@ManCity) APRIL 6, 2021