For the start of the Champions League quarter-finals, England’s Manchester City and Liverpool both won their first legs. The Citizens dominated Atlético de Madrid by the smallest of margins (1-0) thanks to Kevin De Bruyne, while the Reds largely won in Lisbon against Benfica (3-1).
The English clubs take an option: Manchester City broke through the wall of Atlético Madrid thanks to Kevin De Bruyne (1-0) and Liverpool enforced the hierarchy in Lisbon against Benfica (3-1) in the quarter-finals first leg of Champions League, Tuesday. Pep Guardiola succeeded in his mission against “Cholo” Diego Simeone. The tactical opposition between the Catalan and the Argentinian, diametrically opposed in their vision of football, logically did not give birth to a crazy match, but the perseverance of the “Citizens” ended up paying off.
De Bruyne completed one of the Mancunians’ rare clear chances
Barely entered the game, Phil Foden spoke about his ease in small spaces to serve De Bruyne, impeccable precision to conclude one of the rare clear chances of the Mancunians (70th). On the bench since the hour mark, Antoine Griezmann watched this goal with frustration, having spent the game running behind the ball, favoring defensive tasks.
His partner in the Rojiblanca attack, Joao Félix, was also deprived of opportunities: Atlético only struck twice. The “Colchoneros” will now be forced to discover themselves on April 13 at home if they want to eliminate a second Manchester team, after United, disgusted in the eighth (1-1, 1-2).
The eventful evening of Frenchman Ibrahima Konaté
At the Luz stadium in Lisbon, the Frenchman Ibrahima Konaté went through all the emotions. The pride of a tenure in Liverpool’s competitive starting lineup, the emotion of a first goal in the Champions League… and the frustration after a big defensive blunder. Scorer with a header from a corner from the start (17th), the 22-year-old defender then cost his team a goal, completely missing a clearance, paving the way for Darwin Nunez’s score to be reduced (49th).
The former Leipzig player, who dreams of the France team, could not hide his disappointment, his head in his hands and his face glued to the lawn. Will this defensive error cost the Reds dearly? The latter still keep a comfortable lead before the return match, because Sadio Mané had been responsible for victoriously concluding a counter flash in the first period (34th), and Luis Diaz scored an important third goal at the very end of the game (87th ).
Benfica gave Liverpool a hard time
The former striker of FC Porto, a club hated by Benfica fans, continues his rapid adaptation to the system of Jürgen Klopp, after his arrival in January. Liverpool will be cautious, however, as Benfica, who fell Barcelona in the group stage and then Ajax Amsterdam in the round of 16, showed in the second half that they deserved their place.
Bayern Munich is warned, before moving on Wednesday (9 p.m.) to the other surprise of this European “top 8”, Villarreal. At the same time, the defending champion Chelsea has an appointment at Stamford Bridge against Karim Benzema’s Real Madrid, for the shock of the quarter-finals, a remake of the half of last season. To continue the good operation of the English clubs?