The first matches of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals have been played. PSG interrupted a 19-game unbeaten run in the main European club competition of reigning European Cup winner Bayern Munich, Real Madrid pointed to Liverpool’s weaknesses, and MC and Chelsea took important steps towards the semifinals.
Mbappe takes revenge
In the last league championship season, these rivals graced the final with their presence, in which Munich were the luckiest. This time the lot brought together the German and French giants already at the quarterfinals, where the Munich and Parisians were not eligible for the tournament. The favorite of both the first game and the entire two-legged confrontation in this pair was Bayern, who had not known defeats in the Champions League for 19 matches and were eager to break the record of Manchester United, which at one time issued a 25-match unbeaten in the final stage of the main European Cup series. Even the absence of their top scorer Robert Lewandowski, who was injured in the game for the Polish national team in the recent qualifying meeting with Andorra, did not make any fundamental changes to the paper balance of power of the opponents.
But PSG had a lot of problems before the starting whistle in Munich. In the last round of the French championship, Mauricio Pochettino’s team lost to Lille at home, allowing the main competitor in the League to single-handedly lead the standings 7 rounds before the finish. The staffing problems of the Parisians were not a secret either, as they lacked several key players in the defensive and central lines at once. But the star forwards of PSG – Mbappé and Neymar, whose effective actions predetermined the final result, are in perfect order.
Fans of Bayern after the final whistle of the Spanish referee Mateu Laos have the right to complain of bad luck, because, in fact, Mbappé, who alone dealt with Barcelona at the previous stage, scored not the most obligatory goal already in the 3rd minute, but the vast majority of the playing time of the match took place with a tangible advantage of the home team. And PSG’s second goal turned out to be both beautiful and unexpected. The transfer of Neymar to Marquinhos in the very center of the penalty area can be safely attributed to the category of masterpieces, but this ball did not look obligatory. Hans-Dieter Flick’s team kept the threads of the game in their hands, created quite a few chances and, thanks to the efforts of Eric Schupo-Moting and Thomas Müller, evened the score, but still missed another attack from Mbappe, who mockingly outplayed both the Munich defenders and Manuel Neuer in the last effective attack. match.
2: 3 is not a verdict for the German giants, but a home defeat seriously complicates the task of reaching the semi-finals of Bayern Munich. “Fight to the end,” the PSG forward wrote on social networks after the match, hinting that in the confrontation between his team and Munich, everything is still ahead.
Bayern striker Thomas Müller summed up the results of the meeting very clearly, saying that there would be no complaints about his team if the Munich team had won 5: 3 or 6: 3, which would have been a fairer outcome. “We shot ourselves in the leg, losing in our field. Now we will have to recoup in Paris in a week, ”the forward said.
Real Madrid crushed Liverpool
Another striking quarterfinal pair of teams drawn by lot at such an early stage pleased us with the quality of play and performance, but first of all, Real is to be thanked for this. Zinedine Zidane’s team dominated the field for most of the playing time and won absolutely deservedly.
Each of the rivals had serious personnel losses – the virus and injuries led to a number of forced reshuffles in the defensive lines, where, for example, Real Madrid did not have Sergio Ramos and Rafael Varane. And, as the game showed, Madrid coped much better with their problems. Mohamed Salah scored his goal, but the final 3: 1 on the scoreboard quite accurately reflects the balance of power on the field. The hero of the meeting in Spain was the Brazilian Vinicius Junior, who twice forced his compatriot Alison Becker to get the ball out of the goal net.
The away defeat in Madrid does not in itself look like an irreparable mistake, but the quality of the Lersiside game, especially against the background of the great looking Real Madrid, is depressing. Jurgen Klopp’s team, which has serious tournament problems in the English Premier League in the form of the risk of missing the European Cup area at the end of the season, have not demonstrated in Spain the quality and skills, thanks to which they can count on success in the return match.
Holland does not give up
Manchester City have been expecting a Champions League breakthrough for many years now, but Pep Guardiola’s team has yet to reach the final. And this season, the “townspeople” are ranked among the main favorites of the Champions League, and their quarterfinal pair with Borussia was not shy to call the most predictable at this stage of the playoffs. But the Germans were pleasantly surprised, having lost by only one goal, retaining the chances of reaching the semifinals before the return home meeting.
“MC” quite predictably had more possession of the ball and created more chances to score, but at the most difficult moment the Dortmund team managed to snap back and organize a much-needed goal on the opponent’s field. The best scorer of the current Champions League season Erling Holland found experienced Mark Royce in the English penalty area, who upset the hosts’ goalkeeper Ederson. It would be extremely unfair to Guardiola’s team if the match ended in a draw, but Philip Foden, who had missed a lot of right moments before, scored the winning goal in the last minute of regular time.
Porto exhausted Ronaldo
After Porto left Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus out of business at the first stage of the playoffs, both fans and rivals began to look closely at the Portuguese club. But the miracle in Sevilla, where the game took place, did not happen – Chelsea achieved an away victory with a difference of 2 goals.
“We played great and can safely look into the eyes of the fans,” said Dragons midfielder Andres Uribe after the final whistle. – Yes, the match did not go according to the scenario that we expected, but in our opponents we had a team of the highest level that did not forgive mistakes. Today Chelsea took advantage of their chances, but there are still 90 minutes to go, so nothing is lost for us. “
But the head coach of the Blues, Thomas Tuchel, did not look satisfied even after the victory. An outstanding percentage of dangerous chances was helped to achieve a completely acceptable score for his team: 2 out of three shots delivered by the Londoners in this meeting on the opponent’s goal were scored. “Our passes to the penalty area did not reach the addressee, the connection between the players in the central zone and the attacking group was broken,” the German specialist summed up the meeting. “Timo Werner and Kai Heverc were clearly not playing, it was not their day, and I had to replace them.”
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. QUARTER FINALS, FIRST MATCHES
Bayern (Germany) – PSG (France) – 2: 3
Porto (Portugal) – Chelsea (England) – 0: 2
Real (Spain) – Liverpool (England) – 3: 1
Manchester City (England) – Borussia (Germany) – 2: 1