Champions League Reviews; Man City – Real Madrid; Juventus – Lyon

Champions League Reviews Man City & Lyon go through
  • Manchester City 2, Real Madrdid 1 – Etihad stadium
  • Man City win 4-2 on aggregate
  • UK bookmakers quote 9/4 for City to win the Champions League Title.

Pep Guardiola's men send big boys Real Madrid packing, storm into quarter-finals

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City did an encore of their February performance at the Bernabeu when they shut out eleven-time champions Real Madrid 2-1 at the Etihad stadium to register a historic win and advance to the final eight of the Champions League on a 4-2 aggregate.

Manchester City 2 Real Madrid 1

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City fully deserved a victory as they high-pressed a Real Madrid defense (bereft of Sergio Ramos) into committing errors as was evinced when a couple of howlers from center-back Rafael Varane at the back allowed the hosts to take the game away from Zidane's men.

Varane not being able to cope with the pressure City center-forward Gabriel Jesus exerted on him, saw the latter skip past him and set up Raheem Sterling to guide one past Thibaut Courtois in as early as the ninth minute of play.

City didn't let go off the pressure with Phil Foden in an advanced role, the brilliant Kevin de Bruyne and an unusually aggressive right-back Kyle Walker darting into the Real area and creating a host of opportunities but Courtois managed to stand in the way of further goals.

The Spanish giants however were momentarily able to break the shackles of City's dominance, forcing goalkeeper Ederson to make lunging saves from Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard efforts.

Real's endeavors paid off when Benzema rose to a superb pin-point cross from Rodrygo and headed home to reduce the aggregate to 2-3 and setting up prospects for a tense second half.

Pep Gurardiola's men came out guns blazing after the break but lacked the killer touch to finish the game off early.

It took another piece of calamitous defending by Varane to decide the tie in the 68th as his attempted header back to Courtois was too weak allowing a prowling Jesus to move in like lightning and nip the ball off from under the Spanish defender's nose past the keeper to make the score 4-2 in the 68th minute.

The hosts put on an impressive defensive show after that, absorbing whatever the Real attackers had to throw at them and hung on to finish one of the most memorable days in the Midlands club's history.

There's no denying that Real paid a heavy price for Ramos's red card in the first leg of this pre-quarter-final tie at the Bernabeu six months ago.

His organisation and leadership at the back was sorely missed. For his central defensive partner Varane the Etihad game would go down as a personal nightmare.

For coach Zinedine Zidane's it was the first Champions League elimination having won it three times in his three previous seasons in charge.

Pep Guardiola's side will now face Lyon in the one-game knockout format in Lisbon on the 15th August.

Ronaldo's brace in vain as unfancied Lyon topple Juventus, progress to Last 8

Olympique Lyonnais built up on their 1-0 lead at home in the first leg and threw the cat among the pigeons at Turin in the second leg when Memphis Depay scored a 13th minute penalty to provide the French side the vital away goal at Juventus Stadium and attain in what looked like an unassailable 2-0 lead.

Juventus 2 Lyon 1

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Reeling under a two-goal deficit early in the 12th minute, Juve now needed three goals to remain from being knocked out of the tournament.

The Serie A champions who had rested most of their key players in last weekend's domestic clash with Roma saw folks like Cristiano Ronaldo, Matthias de Ligt, Juan Cuadrado, Rodrigo Bentancur, Alex Sandro and Miralem Pjanic return for Friday night's second leg clash.

Ronaldo was able to reduce the deficit from a penalty awarded to the hosts when Depay was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball from a free-kick inside the box.

Ronaldo scored again in the 60th minute off swerving left-footed shot from outside the box that clipped the hands of the outstretched Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes and went in.

Houssem Aouar, Bruno Guimaraes and Maxence Caqueret combined in the midfield to good effect, so much so that Lyon looked more the side who would add to their tally of two goals.

Half of Maurizio Sarri's side are in their 30s and they looked their part, when they failed to keep up with the pace of a side that finished at a lowly seventh in the French Ligue 1.

The Old Lady showed that without Ronaldo they are nothing as an attacking force.

Towards the latter part of the match it was becoming a one-match show when the Portuguese ace set up a chance for Gonzalo Higuaín only to be headed over, then nodded one over himself and drilled a free-kick off the post. But the critical goal never came as the Italian champions bid adieu to their European dreams.

Lyon are now off to meet Manchester City in the quarter-finals in Portugal on August 15th. Elated coach Rudi Garcia was heard saying in post-match comments;

“We don't need to put limits for us. We are one of the best eight teams in Europe, we know Manchester City are a better team but it's just one game, so our goal is the semi-final.”

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