Last Updated on April 20, 2023 3:39 pm by Erwin Noguera
The second leg of the Champions League quarterfinals is history, which means we now know the four teams that will contest the semifinals of the world’s top club competition.
It is none other than reigning champions Real Madrid, top contenders Manchester City and two of the most popular teams in European soccer, Inter, and Milan.
Undoubtedly, all of the matches were up to the task, although the fact that Real Madrid always has luck on their side in this competition is clear again. We say this because Chelsea at Stamford Bridge dominated the Merengue side practically the entire match and still managed to lose 2-0.
On the other hand, the other three matches ended with a draw, indicating that the first leg’s results defined the series.
The reality of this Champions League is that in all the stages, we have had some surprises, and there is no doubt that the one in the quarterfinals was Milan’s victory over Napoli. Napoli continues to be the best team in Serie A this season, 2022/23, but they have not been able to beat Milan in the last few times they have met, and that seems to have taken its toll in this Champions League match.
Below, we summarize what happened in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.
Napoli failed to beat Milan at home and fell by the wayside
On Tuesday, Milan ended Napoli’s hopes of winning their first Champions League title. After a brilliant play by Rafael Leao and a goal by Olivier Giroud, Stefano Pioli’s side booked their place in the semifinals after winning the first leg (1-0) and drawing the second leg (1-1). Napoli’s goal, scored by Victor Osimhen, came too late, with one minute left in stoppage time. Milan advanced to the semifinals with a 1-1 draw.
With Ismael Bennacer’s goal from the first leg obligating them to make a comeback, the Sky Blues (who are very close to winning their third Scudetto) started the match like a whirlwind, absolutely on the attack. However, they struggled to create chances despite the extraordinary attack with which they started the second leg and despite their adventurous and aggressive play in the truest sense of the word.
Victor Osimhen, Napoli’s star striker, had an extremely difficult time against Milan’s center-halves, Simon Kjaer and Fikayo Tomori.
Il Diavolo scored in the 43rd minute through Oliver Giroud’s tap-in after Leao’s wonderful play. With that, Milan was ahead in the series 2-0 and had absolute peace of mind throughout the match. Thanks to this, the team managed to withstand every onslaught from the Neapolitans, and, despite Osimhen’s goal in the 90+3rd minute, the series was already completely settled.
Champions’ luck goes Real Madrid’s way at Stamford Bridge
Real Madrid completed their task at Stamford Bridge (0-2) lackluster, half-heartedly, and with Rodrygo disguised as “Cristiano Ronaldo,” and advanced to the Champions League semifinals against a Chelsea side that once again showed a frightening shortage of attacking power.
Undoubtedly, the Blues dominated the match and deserved to score goals on more than one occasion. Still, their ineffectiveness in front of the Real Madrid goal, combined with the masterful performance of Thibaut Courtois and Rodrygo, led them to have few chances against a white team that, without a doubt, had luck on their side in this match to take the victory.
This time the White House showed that they know how to play with the score in their favor and, of course, defend. The Spanish team was completely satisfied with the first-leg scoreline and came out to defend at Stamford Bridge. There were even moments when Chelsea had them on the ropes. However, the Londoners’ lack of goals was becoming increasingly present, and their chances came to nothing.
N’Golo Kanté and Enzo Fernandez tried throughout the match, but this time, and as has been the case in recent months, they could not score the goals that would help them to win.
On the other hand, Real Madrid took advantage of two unmarked runs by Rodrygo, undoubtedly at his highest competitive level, to score the two winning goals in the 58th and 80th minutes to seal the tie.
Real Madrid will now face the mighty Manchester City in the Champions League semifinals.
Inter and Benfica draw 3-3, but Inter qualifies for the semifinals
Milan’s soccer had long been among the best in Europe. But, from foreign owner to foreign owner, Milan and Inter had lost their hegemony on the continent. The Madonnina Derby will determine which of the two will contest the Champions League final in Istambul because evil never lasts a hundred years. The Rossoneri won in their most recent meeting in this competition, which took place in 2007. Three years later, the Nerazurri also lifted the cup.
Benfica was unable to overturn Inter’s comfortable two-goal lead. Instead, the Italians took advantage of the Portuguese’s nervousness until they had the tie in the bag to settle on the field and shake off the weight of the mistakes that had put them out of the Scudetto race.
With the series 2-0 in their favor, Inter came out very confident in the second leg against Benfica and managed to strike the first blow in the 14th minute, thanks to Nicolo Barella. However, Benfica, in between moves, overcame Inter’s fierce defense to equalize the score in the 38th minute, thanks to a goal by Fredrik Aursnes, and keep alive the dream of qualifying for the semifinals.
Lautaro Martínez (’65) and Joaquín Correa (’78) gave Inter the lead to relax and wait for the final whistle. However, Benfica took advantage of Inter’s absolute relaxation to score goals in the 86th (André Silva) and 90+5th minutes (Petar Musa). But it was too late, and with the series 3-5 against them, they could do no more than settle for a 3-3 draw.
Bayern could not make a comeback against a Manchester City side that did not put up much of a fight
Bayern Munich’s comeback was practically a feat, or rather a miracle, especially against a team like City, with Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, and Haaland.
Guardiola and Tuchel held nothing back. The Catalan, an old hand in the German dugout, is fully aware of Bayern’s potential at home and on European nights. The battle started with the Bavarians attacking Ederson’s goal. City played strong defensively, and Pep got out of his chair occasionally.
Upamecano brought down Haaland as the Norwegian took on Sommer in a one-on-one that looked like the opening goal for Pep Guardiola’s side. The City striker was the last man on a clear goalscoring chance, so referee Clement Turpin gave a straight red card to the French man. Then, however, his assistant raised the flag, and offside was flagged.
Upamecano continued to show some nervousness on the pitch and made a handball inside the box to earn a penalty which, for many, was dessert for Erling Haaland. However, the other one who showed some nerves was the Norwegian, who sent the ball into the clouds to keep the score 0-0.
At the start of the second half, Haaland made a spectacular play that left the Bayern defender on the ground and scored his team’s goal in the 57th minute. After that, the match became a back-and-forth affair that did not work for Bayern, but they could not find a way to penetrate the City’s defense. Finally, Joshua Kimmich equalized with a penalty in the 83rd minute to level the score.
Now, the Citizens will have to face their last executioner, Real Madrid, to reach the final of the Champions League.