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Manchester City reach Champions League semi-finals, Liverpool knocked out by Real Madrid


Manchester City is another step closer to realising their Champions League dream after advancing to the semi-finals, beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 for a 4-2 aggregate win in their quarter-final tie.

But it was more disappointment for Liverpool, who were unable to overturn a 3-1 deficit in their second leg tie against Real Madrid, drawing 0-0 on the night.

Pep Guardiola shared an emotional moment with goalscorer Phil Foden as City ended its run of failure at the quarter-final stage, after coming from 1-0 down to hit back through a penalty by Riyad Mahrez and Foden’s well-struck goal.

Guardiola has now reached the semi-finals with City at the fifth attempt, matching the club’s best ever result under his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini in 2016.

Jude Bellingham, Dortmund’s 17-year-old English midfielder, put the German club ahead when he scored in the 15th minute after City defender Ruben Dias blocked Mahmoud Dahoud’s shot. That leveled the aggregate score 2-2, with Dortmund ahead on away goals.

Bellingham became the second-youngest player to score in a Champions League knockout game at 17 years, 289 days. Bojan Krkic was 72 days younger when he scored for Barcelona against Schalke in 2008.

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City then laid siege to the Dortmund goal, until Dortmund handed City the breakthrough early in the second half when Emre Can gave away a penalty by heading a cross onto his arm.

Mahrez put City back in control when he blasted the spot kick into the top right, past stand-in goalkeeper Marwin Hitz.

Foden, who also scored in the first leg last week, made sure of the win in the 75th with a low shot past Hitz off a short corner routine. He ran straight to Guardiola on the touchline to celebrate with a hug.

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Profligate Liverpool can’t close the gap

At Anfield, Real Madrid moved into the semi-finals after their makeshift defence held on for a 0-0 second-leg draw with Liverpool.

The Spanish side will face Chelsea in the last four as they search for their fifth Champions League title in eight years.

Mo Salah holds his jersey over his face in disappointment
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah reacts after a missed scoring opportunity against Real Madrid.(

AP: John Super

)

Liverpool, the 2019 Champions League winners, created enough chances in the opening 45 minutes to have turned the tie around but they ran out of ideas in the second half.

Jürgen Klopp had hoped that a disappointing Premier League campaign could be compensated for with some end-of-season European excitement, but his side still look well short of the thrills they produced in the past two seasons.

With no crowd at Anfield, this was never going to be a dramatic and emotional night like the memorable comeback victory over Barcelona two years ago, but Klopp will surely feel that a chance of progress was missed against a weakened Real without skipper Sergio Ramos and his central defensive partner Raphael Varane.

Liverpool came out with intent and aggression and soon had Real on the back foot. Sadio Mane fed Mohamed Salah for an early chance but the Egyptian shot straight at Thibaut Courtois, who saved with his legs.

Real were in no mood to cave in and Liverpool did not have the inspiration needed to open them up. And while their display was creditable, they could not do enough to make up for their defensive errors in the first-leg loss.

Neither of these sides were at their peak in these two legs, both showing the effects of injuries and the tough schedule this season, but it was the 13-times European champions who deservedly progressed.

ABC/Wires



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