LONDON: Real Madrid achieved one of the most remarkable results in even their record-setting history by reaching the Champions League semi-finals at the expense of Liverpool.
The 13-times European champions were without senior defenders Dani Carvajal, Rafael Varane and captain Sergio Ramos for both legs of the tie yet still managed to win 3-1 on aggregate after denying Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in a goalless second leg at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s side paid the price for a disastrous 45 minutes in the Spanish capital last week. They created enough chances to have clawed a way back into the tie but goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was hardly extended as yet another wasteful performance from their forwards proved costly.
Their 15 attempts produced only four on target as Madrid did everything required to complete the job.
Liverpool officials apologised to their Madrid counterparts after a window on the visitors’ team bus was smashed by a brick on approaching Anfield before the game.
Madrid will face more English opposition – Chelsea – in the semi-finals.
Manchester City through
Manchester City survived an early scare to see off Borussia Dortmund and qualify for the last four for the first time under the management of Pep Guardiola.
A superb strike from the outstanding Jude Bellingham saw the German side level their quarter-final tie after 15 minutes of the second leg at Signal Iduna Park.
City responded in the second half with a penalty from Riyad Mahrez and a fine effort from Phil Foden to win 2-1 on the night and progress 4-2 on aggregate.
Dortmund, who were aggrieved to have a goal disallowed in the first leg, felt the penalty award for handball against Emre Can was harsh but City, who also hit the woodwork through Kevin De Bruyne, were dominant overall.
Guardiola’s side also did well to keep the highly-rated Erling Haaland quiet although, in England international Bellingham, the hosts certainly possessed another tricky youngster.
It was the 17-year-old who took centre stage early on. He was in the right place at the right time to open the scoring after a Mahoud Dahoud effort was blocked by Ruben Dias.
Bellingham showed great control as he seized on a loose ball and cleverly switched feet to clip a shot into the top corner. Ederson did get his fingers to it but there was no stopping a shot that levelled the tie and gave Dortmund the edge on the away goals rule.
City responded well and went close to an equaliser as De Bruyne rattled the crossbar after winning back possession.
City finally regained control of the tie 10 minutes into the second half after Can was penalised for handball.
The former Liverpool midfielder argued that he had headed the ball onto his arm but the spot-kick award stood after a lengthy VAR review.
Mahrez made no mistake from the spot to equalise on the night and put City ahead on aggregate.
Dortmund did not give up and Mats Hummels headed narrowly over from a Marco Reus free-kick but the hosts became stretched as City kept up the pressure.
De Bruyne sliced a shot wide but was unlucky not to be awarded a free-kick for a foul in the process.
He then went even closer as he skipped around a challenge from Hummels but Hitz produced a fine save.
The decisive goal came from the resulting corner, which was taken short and worked to Foden on the edge of the area.
The 20-year-old took aim and struck a sweet shot which rebounded past Hitz off the inside of the near post.
That did the job for the Premier League leaders, although they were still not finished and Zinchenko tested Hitz with a fierce effort.