Vinicius double gives Real Madrid advantage in tie

Real Madrid vs Liverpool

2020-21 UEFA Champions League quarter finals first-leg review – Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Real Madrid 3 Liverpool 1

A double strike from Vinicius Jr. helped Real Madrid punish a sloppy Liverpool side 3-1 in the first leg of a Champions League tie at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Tuesday night.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds were mostly on the backfoot throughout a fast-paced game against a Real team without defensive mainstays Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane but with enough attacking riches to overpower their opponents.

Zinedine Zidane's men nosed ahead in the 27th minute when Vinicius Junior chested a lovely long pass from Toni Kroos and let loose a low drive past Alisson. Real had the better of the exchanges after that and doubled the advantage through a ghastly error by Trent Alexander-Arnold who in trying to keep up with Vinicius to a lobbed ball, inexplicably played it into the path of Marco Asensio.

Asensio who had only the goalkeeper to beat, chipped the ball over Alisson before smashing it home into an empty net. 2-0 to the hosts in the 36th minute. Liverpool came back strongly after the interval as Mohammad Salah reduced the lead in the 51st minute, finishing from a shot off the crossbar after a blocked Diogo Jota attempt fell to the Egyptian behind the Real defence.

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But Vinicius had the last laugh as he restored Los Blancos' two-goal advantage. The young Brazilian guided Luka Modric's low rolling cross off Alisson's hands to make it 3-0 in the 65th minute of play. The visitors tried pushing for a goal towards the end, but it somehow eluded them as they went into the second leg in Anfield with a steep disadvantage.

Even without key players, Madrid outclassed Liverpool from start to finish and could have done much more than the 3-1 advantage they take to Anfield.

Liverpool were in fact let down by their pathetic defending and despite a brisk 20-minute period post the break, they were clearly the second best side and have a lot to do when they face the thirteen-time champions at home for the return fixture next week.

Manchester City 2 Borussia Dortmund 1

Late Foden goal helps City take control of first leg tie

Phil Foden's 90th-minute strike at the Etihad stadium gave Manchester City a slender advantage going into the second leg against Dortmund. A poor let-off in the midfield by Emre Can led to City's first goal as Kevin De Bruyne directed Riyad Mahrez's cross past Dortmund keeper Marwin Hitz early in the 19th minute.

Can's woes continued as he fouled Rodrigo inside the box and a penalty awarded to City. After protests from Dortmund players, a VAR check revealed that there was a handball before Can's foul.

Dortmund seemed to have drawn level when Jude Bellingham dispossessed Man City keeper Ederson and went on to tap the ball into an empty net. Romanian official Ovidiu Hategan controversially ruled out the young Englishman's goal for a foul when it actually appeared that City keeper had kicked the teenager.

Even a VAR intervention was done away with as City survived what looked like a certain goal. The visitors were finding it hard to make breakthroughs after that with City controlling possession in customary fashion.

Dortmund did well to keep the deficit against a dominant City team to a single goal till Marco Reus struck. The veteran Dortmund player took a brilliant reverse pass from Haaland on the left and finished off with a slick strike past a diving Ederson with just six minutes of play to go.

However, City took away Dortmund's joy of an away goal when İlkay Gundogan teed up Foden for a close-range finish in the 90th minute and seal a first leg victory for the hosts.

It was a bitter end to the first leg for a Dortmund side, who will leave Manchester feeling a burning sense of injustice towards Romanian official Hategan who disallowed what could have a crucial goal by Jude Bellingham.

This tie, though, is not over yet with Haaland & co. still a massive threat, but City now are in a pole position before the return leg in Germany.

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