Champions League: Real Madrid ease past Liverpool; Napoli enter QFs for first time

Real Madrid comfortably secured their place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool. Despite Liverpool’s attempts to overturn their three-goal deficit from the first leg, they were unable to pose a real threat to the reigning champions.

Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the match late on, sealing Madrid’s progression with a 6-2 aggregate scoreline. The Spanish side had already secured a 5-2 victory in the first leg in England, where they had come from two goals down.

Liverpool’s hopes of staging a historic comeback were dashed, as they failed to replicate the few instances in the competition’s history where a team has overturned a three-goal deficit as an away team.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted that his team failed to deliver a standout performance, stating, “Madrid was the better team and deserved to advance.”

Soccer Football – Champions League – Round of 16 – Second Leg – Real Madrid v Liverpool – Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain – March 15, 2023 Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates REUTERS/Juan Medina

Real Madrid, on the other hand, were pleased with their controlled performance. Coach Carlo Ancelotti commented, “It was the type of match we wanted. The team played well, it was focused from the start.”

In the other round-of-16 match, Napoli defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0, securing their place alongside Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Manchester City in the quarterfinals.

Real Madrid’s victory was sealed by a close-range goal from Karim Benzema in the 79th minute. Benzema has been in fine form in the knockout stages of the Champions League, scoring 13 goals in his last eight matches.

Despite an attack-minded lineup, Liverpool struggled to create clear-cut chances throughout the match. They had a tough save denied by Madrid’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois early on and failed to capitalize on their limited opportunities.

Liverpool had previously staged a remarkable comeback against Barcelona in the 2019 semifinals, winning 4-0 at home after losing 3-0 in the first leg. However, their hopes of repeating that feat against Madrid were quashed.

Real Madrid, who defeated Liverpool in last year’s final, celebrated their 300th Champions League game with a well-deserved victory.

At the end of the match, both sets of fans applauded each other, highlighting the mutual respect between the two teams. Liverpool’s anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” was played over the loudspeakers at the BernabĂ©u, further cementing the camaraderie between the clubs.

Victor Osimhen’s impactful performance propelled Napoli into the Champions League quarter-finals with a convincing 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. The win marks Napoli’s first-ever appearance in the last eight of the competition.

Osimhen, the 24-year-old Nigerian forward, showcased his scoring prowess by finding the back of the net twice in the match. He opened the scoring just before halftime with a well-placed header. In the 53rd minute, Osimhen completed his brace with a simple tap-in after a splendid four-pass combination by Napoli. Piotr Zielinski sealed the victory with a penalty, securing a comprehensive 5-0 aggregate win for the Italian side.

Napoli joins Inter Milan and AC Milan as the three Italian teams to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League this season.