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 April 6.
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. As soon as he entered the game, Phil Foden made his ease in small spaces speak for himself to serve De Bruyne, impeccable precision to conclude one of the rare clear chances of the Mancunians (70and).
On the bench since the hour mark, Antoine Griezmann watched this goal with frustration, having spent the game running behind the ball, favoring defensive duties. 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 each other on April 13 at home if they want to eliminate a second Manchester team, after United, disgusted in the eighth (1-1, 2-1).
Konaté in halftone
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. Head scorer from a corner from the start (17and), the 22-year-old defender then cost his team a goal, completely missing a clearance, paving the way for Darwin Nunez to reduce the score (49and).
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 was responsible for concluding a victorious counter flash in the first period (34and), and Luis Diaz scored an important third goal at the very end of the game (87and).
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?