Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Vinicius rises, fabulous Foden, magical Mbappe & clinical Chelsea

Posted on 8 April 2021 by Jeremy Addley

Co written by Amine Sennoun

Real Madrid 3:1 Liverpool (Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, Spain)

Liverpool will need to bank on another miraculous night at Anfield next week after Real Madrid went ahead in the tie with a comfortable two goal advantage.

The home side, weakened without their defensive paring of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, were quick to settle into the game and drew first blood 27 minutes in. An inch-perfect 50-yard pass from Toni Kroos was beautifully controlled by Vinicius Junior, who cut through the Reds’ defence and slotted in the game’s first.

Zidane’s men doubled their lead 11 minutes later after an unforced error by Trent Alexander-Arnold. The defender headed another Kroos ball into the path of Marco Asensio who lobbed Alisson and scored Madrid’s second.

Liverpool switched gears after the break and grabbed that important away goal early on in the half. A great run by Diogo Jota got the ball into the box before Mohamed Salah blasted past Thibaut Courtois for his fourth Champions League goal in as many games.

However, it was Vinicius again who put the game to bed. The Brazilian met a pass from Luka Modric before squeezing in a tight shot between Alisson’s fingertips and post, ending the game with the same result as the 2018 UCL final between these sides.

Manchester City 2:1 Borussia Dortmund (Ethihad Stadium, England)

It took a late Phil Foden strike at the death to ensure that City will travel to Dortmund in command of a slim advantage, though the amount of chances that went begging and a dangerous away goal for the Germans may be their undoing.

Dortmund proved their attacking threat with the 17-year-old Jude Bellingham forcing a save from Ederson early on. However, it was an unforced error from Emre Can who gifted the ball to Kevin De Bruyne that led to the opening goal.

The Belgian quickly found Foden, who shot a low ball into the box. The ball found its way to Riyad Mahrez, who did well to provide the cutback to De Bruyne to finish off.

Dortmund were fortunate not to have a penally go against them on the half-hour mark, after the referee Vidiu Hategan, aided with VAR, turned away an awkward foul on Rodri in the penalty area.

More controversy was to follow as Bellingham seemed to have equalised for the visitors, however a decision was made that he fouled keeper Ederson beforehand. Replays showed, however, that it was Ederson who, in his attempt to clear the ball, had struck the attacker.

Erling Haaland was finally able to find some breathing room from Ruben Dias in the second half and broke through City’s defence but Ederson was quick off his line to close the angle at the attempt. 

Foden had a point blank effort saved six minutes from time and City were made to pay dearly. Marco Reus, after some clever play from Haaland, was able to dink the keeper for the equaliser and his first Champions League goal since October of 2018.

It looked set as advantage Dortmund for the second leg, however Foden rounded up a fantastic display with a well-deserved goal from close range to snatch victory in the closing moments.

Bayern Munich 2:3 Paris Saint Germain (Allianz Arena, Germany)

In a re-match of last seasons final and arguably the tie of the round, all eyes were fixed on Munich to see how round one of this heavyweight clash would go.

The home side came closest first after Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting – in for the injured Robert Lewandowski – headed a Joshua Kimmich corner against the crossbar.

The Parisians would strike first after a through ball directed to Neymar cut through the German high line. The Brazilian sent Kylian Mbappe one on one with Mannuel Neuer and the French foward produced a powerful shot. Though the effort was directed straight at the German, fortunately for PSG the Bayern number one wasn’t able to adjust quickly enough and bungled the ball into his own goal.

The Bayern response was positive, launching wave after red wave of attacks asking questions of Keylor Navas to which he had all the answers.

PSG would double their lead just before the 30 minute mark courtesy of Marquinhos. A cleared PSG corner would be thumped back into the Bayern penalty area by Neymar with his Brazilian teammate seemingly the only player alert to the incoming cross resulting in a comfortable finish.

Bayern were eventually rewarded for their relentless pressure as Choupo-Moting headed home from a delicious cross from fullback Benjamin Pavard just 10 minutes before the break.

The second half mirrored the first with relentless German pressure but the Parisians looking deadly on the counter.

It would be PSG’s turn to crack next just before 60 minutes were on the clock. A beautiful in-swinging free kick from Kimmich found the head of ‘Mr Bayern Munich’ Thomas Muller, who redirected the cross down into the bottom corner.

The holders insistence to play a high line once again proved to be the recipe for PSG’s third goal. A through ball from Angel Di Maria split the Munich defence in two and set Mbappe through against Jerome Boateng. A slight body faint in the box fooled Neuer into believing the strike was going to his left when in fact Mbappe would slam the shot home to the near post.

For the remaining 20 minutes Bayern hammered the PSG goal but Navas and company were able to hold strong. The question from this game will be, what if Lewandowski had been involved?

Porto 0:2 Chelsea (Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Spain)

Two former UCL winners battled it out for control of the tie in a venue that will host both legs of this quarter final.

Columbian Mateus Uribe came close to breaking the deadlock after controlling an Andreas Christensen headed clearance, only to volley a powerful strike just over the Chelsea goal.

Edouard Mendy was called into action to deny an in-swinging corner from Otavio that appeared to be heading in. The subsequent save was rebounded back into the six yard box, only for Zaidu Sanusi to volley a shot over the bar.

The visitors struck first courtesy of Mason Mount. A beautifully weighted pass from Jorginho cut out Sanusi on the edge of the Porto box and allowed Mount to produce an exquisite 180 degree spin to then fire a low driven effort into the bottom corner.

Porto came close to levelling the score before the break after defender Pepe was able to latch onto the in-swinging corner, forcing a comfortable yet necessary save from the Chelsea shot stopper.

Porto came out of the blocks the quickest after the break with Columbian winger Luiz Diaz firing narrowly wide of Mendy’s far post from the edge of the Chelsea box.

Mount appeared to miss a golden opportunity to double the Blues’ lead after missing the target when Timo Werner slid the Englishman through. Luckily for Mount, Werner was offside in the build up.

Christian Pulisic came agonisingly close to giving Chelsea a comfortable cushion after his venomous strike inside the Porto box thundered off the crossbar.

Chelsea grabbed their second of the night courtesy of Ben Chilwell after the fullback pinched the ball off Jesus Corona allowing him to go one on one with Marchesin, who he rounded to tap home a simple finish.