Liverpool draws with Benfica to reach the Champions League semifinals

As Chelsea showed before eventually succumbing to Real Madrid, a two-goal deficit in a UEFA Champions League quarter final isn’t impossible to turn around, as both sides went in search of a crucial first goal. Éverton showcased his danger on the counter, flashing a shot wide of the left post from distance after ten minutes, though in truth Liverpool never looked in doubt of extending their aggregate lead. They did just that after 21 minutes, with Ibrahima Konaté jumping highest from a corner to guide a carbon copy of his first ‘Reds’ goal in the first leg past Odysseas Vlachodimos. Roberto Firmino should have made it 2-0 on the night, however his headed effort was deflected over by an unaware Jan Vertonghen who put his body in the right place at the right time. It proved costly as 20-year-old Gonçalo Ramos pulled one back for Benfica a minute later, surviving a VAR check for offside. The ‘Eagles’ forward was less than a year old when Liverpool last let a quarter final first leg lead slip in European competition in April 2002, and despite conceding, the hosts kept their heads up and coasted into HT. Shortly after the break, a catalogue of defensive errors allowed Diogo Jota to cross for Firmino, who restored his side’s lead with a tap in. Jürgen Klopp then rolled out the changes as the hosts cranked it up another notch. Firmino bagged his second of the night, volleying home, and took his UCL tally to five goals in six matches this campaign. That was seemingly tie done and dusted, though Roman Yaremchuck and Darwin Núñez nicked a goal each - the latter bizarrely surviving an offside VAR check - to go 3-3 on the night with ten minutes to spare. However the damage had already been done by Liverpool, who ultimately sealed progression with relative ease. The victory sets up a meeting with Unai Emery’s Villarreal in the last four, in a repeat of their UEFA Europa League semi-final from 2015/16. The Spanish side will be eyeing up another famous scalp after knocking out Bayern Munich and Juventus already in 2021/22.

Liverpool and Benfica drew at Anfield in the return leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, 3-3.

Read also – Manchester City draws with Atletico to reach the Champions League semifinals

Goals: Konate, 21 (1:0). Ramos, 32 (1:1). Roberto Firmino, 55 (2:1). Roberto Firmino, 65 (3:1). Yaremchuk, 73 (3:2). Nunez, 82 (3:3).

Line up:

Alisson, Konate, Gomes, Tsimikas, Matip, Milner (Fabinho, 57), Keita, Henderson (Tiago Alcantara, 57), Diaz (Mane, 66), Roberto Firmino (Origi, 90+1), Diogo Jota (Salah, 57). Vlahodimos, Gilberto (Gil Dias, 90 +1), Grimaldo, Vertonghen, Gonçalves (Yaremchuk, 46), Otamendi, Everton (Andre Almeida, 90 +1), Weigl, Taarabt (Joao Mariu, 66), Nunez, Ramos (Paulo Bernardo, 78).

Referee: Gesubüyük (Netherlands).

Benfica had a difficult task for this match, to get two goals away from Liverpool, which won the first match 3-1. But Chelsea proved that it is possible.

Already from the first minute the visitors created a dangerous moment. Everton demonstrated their danger on the counterattack, shooting from close range into the left post after ten minutes.

Although Liverpool had no doubt that they would regain the lead, and they did in the 21st minute when Ibrahima Konate fired a shot into the far corner from a corner, creating an exact copy of his first goal against Benfica in the first match.

Roberto Firmino should have made the score 2-0, but his header was deflected by Jan Vertonghen, who was in the right place at the right time. Benfica was still able to score next when Gonzalo Ramos scored.

In the second half, Benfica had big mistakes in defense, and the hosts took advantage of this and scored when Diego Jota made a pass to Firmino, who restored his team’s advantage by scoring. After that, head coach Jurgen Klopp made more substitutions, which allowed Liverpool to score a third goal. Firmino scored his second goal of the evening with a volley, bringing his Champions League tally to five goals in six games.

But Liverpool could not hold on to win the match, with Benfica’s Roman Yaremchuk and Darwin Nunez each scoring, and Benfica’s fourth goal was canceled out due to offside.


In the end, Liverpool on the sum of the two matches went on. and in the next round will meet Villarreal.

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