That might just go down as the best round of quarter-finals in Champions League history!
Football fans all across Europe would have been glued to their television sets over the course of all four thrilling ties, with goals, drama, twists and turns galore — there was even a shock result for the ages.
A Recap of the Champions League Quarter-finals
So, with the latest football odds from Betfair making it extremely hard to predict which of the final four — Real Madrid, Liverpool, Villarreal and Manchester City — are going to lift the famous big-eared trophy at the Stade de France in Paris next month, let’s take a look back at how the action unfolded in the quarter-finals.
Villarreal vs Bayern Munich (2-1 aggregate)
In a result no one could have truly saw coming, Spanish side Villarreal sent Bayern Munich packing in the last eight. The well-oiled Yellow Submarine proved difficult to break down for the Bavarians, who largely dominated proceedings in both ties. But they very quickly found themselves a goal down at the Estadio de la Cerámica — Arnaut Danjuma firing home in the eighth minute.
That’s all that separated the two sides ahead of the second meeting at the Allianz though, and when Robert Lewandowski fired Bayern back into the tie in the 52nd minute, it appeared Villarreal had run their course. But Unai Emery’s men didn’t lie down to the European giants, with Samuel Chukwueze’s late goal sending them through to the last four.
Manchester City vs Atlético Madrid (1-0 aggregate)
It might not have been a high-scoring affair, but Manchester City vs Atlético Madrid certainly wasn’t short of entertainment over the course of the two legs. After all, Diego Simeone’s side are renowned for their defensive doggedness, so this arguably never going to be a who can out score the other thriller like City’s recent with Liverpool, the two side’s styles contrasted too much for that.
The Spaniards tried their best to adsorb City’s attacking threat in the first leg, sitting back and not even registering a shot in the 90 minutes. But they were eventually broken down when Phil Foden slid in Kevin De Bruyne with 20 minutes left. The 0-0 at the Etihad was about as exciting as goalless draws come, with tempers flaring in the closing stages to add to the drama.
Liverpool vs Benfica (6-4 aggregate)
A tie with Primeira Liga side Benfica was always going to be a routine victory for Liverpool. Ibrahima Konaté and Sadio Mané gave the Reds a 2-0 lead at the break at the Estádio da Luz, with Luis Díaz’s late strike restoring their two-goal advantage after Darwin Núñez pulled one back shortly after the break.
With one eye perhaps on their FA Cup semi-final against City, Jürgen Klopp made wholesale changes for the second leg at Anfield.
It was Konaté who once again opened the scoring, but Gonçalo Ramos equalised 10 minutes later. The floodgates opened in the second period, with a Roberto Firmino doubled cancelled out by goals from Roman Yaremchuk and Núñez for a 3-3 draw.
Real Madrid vs Chelsea (5-4 aggregate)
Striking for revenge for Chelsea knocking them out of the Champions League in the semi-finals last season, Real Madrid ended the Blues’ title defence with an exhilarating 5-4 win on aggregate. Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge to leave Chelsea with their work cut at the Santiago Bernabéu — taking a 3-1 lead back to Madrid.
But Thomas Tuchel’s men didn’t give up. Mason Mount grabbed one back early on to give Chelsea hope and Antonio Rüdiger headed them back into the tie just after half-time.
A third from Timo Werner meant Chelsea were in dreamland, but it turned to a nightmare when Rodrygo volleyed home and Benzema won it in extra-time.