The UEFA Champions League quarterfinals got underway on Tuesday, April 5, with four matches taking place over two days. There are just eight teams left battling for European glory, as Chelsea looks to defend their title from last year while the rest of the teams look to foil that plan.
Last year produced an all-EPL final as Chelsea took on Manchester City and came out on top with a 1-0 victory. This time around could be a similar scenario, as three of the four quarterfinal ties feature teams from the English Premier League. Leg one got started with Benfica hosting Liverpool and Manchester City playing host to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, while the back half saw Villarreal hosting Bayern Munich and Chelsea hosting former boss Carlo Ancelotti’s side Real Madrid on Wednesday afternoon.
With the first leg of each series in the books, we’re looking at who has the edge heading into the second leg of each matchup that will get underway on April 12.
Benfica v. Liverpool (Liverpool advances 6-4 on aggregate)
LEG 1: Benfica 1, Liverpool 3
Liverpool will be happy to take this advantage back home to Anfield. The Reds got going with two spectacular first-half goals and even as Benfica pulled one back, Liverpool was clearly the superior side. This team should be able to coast in the second leg, and may even rest some of their bigger stars.
LEG 2: Liverpool 3, Benfica 3
It was an interesting draw at Anfield, with Benfica getting a few goals ruled in on VAR. However, Liverpool was never in any real danger of failing to advance. The Reds will now meet the upstart Villarreal team which eliminated Bayern Munich.
Manchester City v. Atletico Madrid (Manchester City advances 1-0 on aggregate)
LEG 1: Manchester City 1, Atletico Madrid 0
Pep Guardiola’s side had trouble breaking down Atleti’s defense, but Kevin De Bruyne’s finish ultimately ensured the odds-on favorites took a goal advantage on the road for the second leg. Diego Simeone’s side will now have to find at least two goals at home to advance, all while shutting out a City attack which doesn’t consistently have off days like this.
LEG 2: Atletico Madrid 0, Manchester City 0
The road team only needed to keep Atleti out of the net without doing any scoring themselves to advance, which is what happened. Diego Simeone’s team has never been able to produce a goal when it absolutely needed one, so this type of result was always on the card. Manchester City now moves on to play Real Madrid in the semifinal round.
Villarreal v. Bayern Munich (Villarreal advances 2-1 on aggregate)
LEG 1: Villarreal 1, Bayern Munich 0
The Spanish club has found a way to get a victory at home courtesy of Arnaut Danjuma’s goal in the eighth minute. Bayern will ultimately be okay with this result as the second leg is in Germany.
LEG 2: Bayern Munich 1, Villarreal 1
It was a late winner from substitute Samuel Chukwueze to send the Spanish side into the UCL semifinals. Villarreal did a tremendous job withstanding Bayern’s pressure at the German club’s home arena, giving up only four shots on target out of 23 opportunities. Villarreal will now await the winner of Liverpool-Benfica in the semifinal.
Real Madrid v. Chelsea (Real Madrid advances 5-4 on aggregate)
LEG 1: Real Madrid 3, Chelsea 1
Karim Benzema scored two quick goals in the first half on his way to another Champions League hat-trick as the visitors took a major step towards advancing to the semifinal round. Chelsea has a huge task ahead of itself down two goals on aggregate going to Spain for the second leg.
LEG 2: Chelsea 3, Real Madrid 2
This was a truly wild game, with the Champions League holders Chelsea actually holding a 4-3 lead on aggregate with about 15 minutes left in the game. Rodrygo found the equalizing goal with about 10 minutes left before the ageless Karim Benzema finished things off for Real Madrid in extra time. The Spanish side now awaits the winner of Atletico Madrid-Manchester City in the semifinal round.