Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool (agg: 6-2): Benzema ensures holders ease into Champions League quarter-finals with plenty to spare
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Real Madrid are through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after a 1-0 defeat of Liverpool wrapped up an emphatic aggregate triumph.
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Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid a 1-0 victory against Liverpool on the night, but the UEFA Champions League holders' 5-2 win in the first leg meant their place in the quarter-finals never looked under threat.
14': Vinícius Júnior denied at close range
20': Alisson tips Camavinga shot onto bar
69': Benzema blasts over from inside area
79': Vinícius tees up Benzema for easy finish
Match in brief: Benzema finishes the job
Darwin Núñez threatened early on for the Reds, but Madrid always looked to have this under control. Indeed visiting goalkeeper Alisson Becker pulled off stunning saves to deny Vinícius Júnior and Eduardo Camavinga inside the opening 20 minutes.
Though Thibaut Courtois then came to the fore to keep out Núñez and Cody Gakpo at the other end, Liverpool never looked to have the potency at their disposal to threaten their hosts' first-leg cushion.
Federico Valverde could have twice put the tie to bed in the second half, but ultimately it was left to Benzema – who had fired over ten minutes earlier – to do the deed following persistent work from Vinícius.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
"A good team performance. He held the ball up well for his side and tried to be in the right position to create a threat. Ultimately he scored the decisive – and only – goal of the game."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Graham Hunter, Real Madrid reporter
Madrid march on, albeit at strolling pace. A match which promised goals early on, and which never really lacked either end-to-end excitement or penalty box opportunities, failed to develop into the high-scoring evening it promised to be. But, of course, when a match isn't threatening and the opponents are looking for a late flurry, the world, European and Spanish champions have the experience, hunger and pride to make the breakthrough. Kudos to the Vinícius-Benzema partnership, again, but it'll be an altogether different Madrid tempo and attitude in the quarters.
Fernando Morientes, Movistar+
"The script of the game went Madrid's way. They struggled a bit at the start, but that was to be expected. In the second half Ancelotti saw that the team looked comfortable and didn't even make any substitutions until the 82nd minute."
Matthew Howarth, Liverpool reporter
Liverpool needed a moment of inspiration, a slice of good fortune or a Madrid error to get themselves back in this tie – they got none of those at the Santiago Bernabéu. Jürgen Klopp's team can hold their heads high after restoring a modicum of pride following last month's first-leg collapse, but, despite fielding four forwards, they never really threatened to claw their way back. For the fourth time in six seasons, their European hopes are ended by the 14-time winners.
Carlo Ancelotti, Madrid coach: "We produced a good match – very complete, very serious, clear ideas, and it ended well. As far as the quarter-final draw, I’m not too concerned. The Champions League remains very difficult to win."
Karim Benzema, Madrid striker: "This was a difficult, complicated match, but right from the start we demonstrated how much we wanted a win and to progress. All the teams left are very good. There's no 'small' rivals awaiting in the last eight!"
Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool coach: "If you want to go through you need a special performance – we couldn't put in a special performance tonight. The right team went through, that's what we have to admit."
- Benzema has scored 13 goals in his last eight UEFA Champions League knockout phase matches.
- Benzema's last ten UEFA Champions League goals have all been scored against English opposition.
- Madrid have now won seven of their last eight UEFA Champions League matches against Liverpool (D1).
- Madrid have only failed to score in one of their last 66 UEFA Champions League matches at home.
- This was Madrid's 300th match in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final. They are the first club to reach that landmark.
- Liverpool have failed to score in only four of their last 27 UEFA Champions League matches – three of those occasions have been against Madrid.
Fantasy star performers
Karim Benzema – 9 points
Dani Carvajal – 7 points
Thibaut Courtois – 7 points
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal (Lucas Vázquez 86), Éder Militão, Rüdiger, Nacho; Kroos (Tchouameni 84), Camavinga, Modrić (Ceballos 82); Valverde, Benzema (Rodrygo 82), Vinícius Jr (Asensio 84)
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson (Tsimikas 90+1); Diogo Jota (Elliott 57), Fabinho, Milner (Oxlade-Chamberlain 73); Salah, Darwin Núñez (Firmino 57), Gakpo (Carvalho 90+1)