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Into the Champions League quarter-finals

MATCH REPORT. 15/03/2023. Alberto Navarro. Photographer: Antonio Villalba, Helios de la Rubia y Víctor Carretero

Benzema turned home a Vini Jr. assist to hand Real Madrid victory over Liverpool at the Bernabéu.

Real Madrid booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with victory over Liverpool in the second leg of the tie and will be present in Friday's draw, having seen over the English side 6-2 on aggregate. Just as it was in the first leg, the connection between Benzema and Vini Jr. proved the winning formula for the Whites, as the Brazilian set up the Frenchman to stroke the ball into the back of the net with 78 minutes gone and make it three goals over the two games. 

Ancelotti assured in the pre-match press conference that his team would not go out to “make calculations” following the 2-5 win in the first leg, and the players certainly heeded the Italian coach's call. Real Madrid set up in attacking fashion for their 300th game in the Champions League and were dominant from the off. Despite the positive start, the first real chance of note fell to the visitors, with Darwin Núñez's effort from inside the box being kept out by Courtois with seven minutes gone. Madrid's resounding response saw them come close on three successive occasions. First, Toni Kroos whipped the ball into the box on 14’ and Rüdiger helped it on to the back post, where Vini Jr. was waiting to shoot on goal but Alisson reacted superbly to keep him out. The goalkeeper showed his class again just six minutes later, stretching out a hand to ensure Camavinga's long-range effort skimmed just over the crossbar rather than under it. Then, with 22 minutes on the clock, Modrić's strike from the edge of the box flew narrowly off target.

Video.1-0: Into the Champions League quarter-finals

After the half-hour mark, Courtois was forced into action again to deny Núñez and Gakpo with efforts from the edge of the area in the 33rd and 36th minutes. Half-time came around with the score goalless and goalkeeper Alisson having been Liverpool's best player. After the re-start, he needed to be at his best again. Valverde regained possession in the opposition half, fed Benzema, who returned the ball to the Uruguayan, but the midfielder was unable to beat the goalie when through one-on-one. Valverde almost found the net again later with a header that skimmed the crossbar. The madridistas merited a goal and came close again in the 68th minute after a swift diagonal run by Vini Jr. and Benzema's subsequent effort from inside the box, which flew just over the bar.
The minutes ticked by until, with 78 on the clock, the hosts' pressure finally paid off. Camavinga's ball over the top found Vini Jr, who managed to set up Benzema to gently slot the ball into the net. This was the Frenchman’s third goal in the tie and the pair’s link-up play has proven to be decisive – with the Brazilian contributing two goals and two assists. In stoppage time, Rodrygo almost doubled Madrid’s lead, but he was denied on the goal-line by Van Dijk and Tsimikas. Real Madrid saw the game out to book their place in the next round and continue their defence of the title.




The referee

Felix Zwayer (Germany), assisted by Stefan Lupp and Marco Achmüller. Sven Jablonski was the fourth official while Marco Fritz (Germany) was the video assistant referee.