3-1: Vinicius Jr. inspires impressive Real Madrid to victory

A brace from the Brazilian and an Asensio strike puts Zidane's men in the driving seat ahead of next Wednesday's return leg at Anfield, where the team will bid to clinch a semi-final spot.
Real Madrid have put themselves in pole position in the Champions League quarter-final tie against Liverpool that will be concluded next Wednesday at Anfield. There was one player who stood out on the night and that was Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian bagged a brace and was the standout performer at the Di Stéfano. The other madridista goal was scored by Marco Asensio, who has now been on target in each of his last four outings.

Real Madrid produced a vintage first-half showing. The hosts applied a high press, bossed possession and were hardly made to sweat defensively. The Whites carved out several goalscoring opportunities and struck twice before the break. The first chance of the night came with 13 minutes on the clock, when Ferland Mendy's cross was met by a Vinicius Jr. header that flew narrowly wide of Alisson's goal. However, Zinedine Zidane's charges made no mistake 14 minutes later, when the Brazilian was once again in the thick of the action. A sublime pass from Toni Kroos from inside his own half was brought down with aplomb by Vinicius Jr. and he crashed the ball home with a first-time finish.
With just over half-an-hour gone, Madrid could have had a penalty when Kabak tangled with Benzema in the box, before moments later, the Frenchman laid a fine pass to Vinicius Jr., but his shot flew across goal and out for a corner. Four minutes on, the madridistas had doubled their lead. Another long ball by Kroos was misjudged by Alexander-Arnold as he tried to head it back to his goalkeeper and Asensio stole in to beat the onrushing Alisson with a couple of sublime touches – with the first, he dinked the ball beautifully over the stranded shotstopper, and with the second, stroked the ball into the empty net. The Balearic Islands-born forward has now found the net in his last four successive games and could even have bagged his brace on the stroke of half-time when his right-footed strike was turned behind by Alisson on 43’.

Vinicius Jr. at the double
The second half got underway in the worst possible fashion. Liverpool reduced the deficit with 51 minutes gone when Salah had the ball in the back of the net, but the goal only served to breathe further life into the hosts, who swiftly restored their lead on 65’. Modrić picked a fine pass for Vinicius Jr. with his left foot and the Brazilian somehow carved out enough space inside the area to get a right-footed shot off, beating Alisson as the ball flew through Phillips’ legs. It was 3-1 with 25 minutes left to play and Zidane’s troops managed their lead well to the end, even having the chance to make it four on 71’. Vinicius Jr. was at the heart of the action again, and his pass to Benzema allowed the Frenchman to fire a shot on target, but Alisson was equal to it this time. Anfield will now play host to the decider.

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