There was no historic comeback for Liverpool. Real Madrid’s title defense in the Champions League rolls into the quarter-finals.
Liverpool never really came close to overcoming its three-goal deficit from the first leg against the titleholders at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday, losing 1-0 to end its hopes of another run to the final.
Karim Benzema scored late and Madrid advanced to the last eight for the third straight season with a 6-2 aggregate score following a 5-2 win from the first leg in England, when it rallied from two goals down early in the first half.
Liverpool was trying to pull off something never done before in the Champions League – erase a three-goal loss as a visitor. Only five times the team that lost at home rallied in the second leg in Europe’s top club competition.
The only time Madrid failed to advance in the Champions League after winning the first leg on the road was in 2019, when it was eliminated by Ajax in the round of 16. It had won six of its last seven matches against Liverpool in the tournament, drawing another.
Napoli beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 on Wednesday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in its history – and making it three Italian teams in the final eight.
Victor Osimhen continued his fine scoring record with a goal in each half and Piotr Zieliski converted a penalty in the second half as Napoli advanced 5-0 on aggregate.
Napoli joins join Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Manchester City in the draw for the quarter-finals on Friday.
Benzema scored from close range after a pass by Vinicius Junior in the 79th minute. The France striker, who had missed Madrid’s Spanish league win against Espanyol last weekend because of an injury, has scored 13 goals in his last eight Champions League knockout stage matches.
Liverpool came out with an attack-minded lineup and showed its intentions early, with Darwin Nunez forcing Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to make a tough save on a breakaway seven minutes into the match.
It was an open match at the Bernabeu and Madrid had its chances as well, with Eduardo Camavinga coming close to scoring in the 20th with a shot from outside the area that struck the crossbar after a deflection by Alisson Becker. The Liverpool goalkeeper also stopped a chance by Madrid forward Vinicius Junior in the first half and another in the second in a one-on-one situation with midfielder Federico Valverde.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp kept trying to push his team forward from the sideline, but as the minutes passed it became clear it wasn’t going to be enough for the English team.
Liverpool had managed a big comeback at home in the 2019 semi-finals, rallying against another Spanish club, Barcelona. It won 4-0 after losing 3-0 at the Camp Nou to keep alive a run that eventually ended with the team winning the trophy.
It was Madrid’s 300th Champions League game.
Vieira under increasing pressure after another Palace loss
Three straight losses, no win in any competition in 2023 and an alarming drop toward the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Things are going badly wrong for Crystal Palace and the team’s big-name manager, Patrick Vieira.
What won’t help the mood at the south London club is the latest defeat coming at big rival Brighton, with Solly March scoring the first-half winner on Wednesday.
Palace’s last win in any competition was at Bournemouth in the league on Dec. 31. Since then, there have been seven losses and five draws in 12 games, 11 of them coming in the league.
It is the toughest period for Vieira in the Arsenal playing great’s 20 months at Palace.
Although the team is in 12th place in the league, such is the congested nature of the bottom of the standings that Palace is only three points above the relegation zone and five points off last-place Southampton.
Four days after a 0-0 draw at Manchester United, Southampton wasn’t able to build on that result and lost 2-0 at home to Brentford.
Ivan Toney prodded home the opener in the 32nd minute after a flick-on at a corner, putting him on 16 goals for the campaign – third behind Erling Haaland and Harry Kane. Toney then nodded through for Yoane Wissa to tuck home the second goal in second-half stoppage time.
Brighton and Brentford have never played in European competition but that could be about to change.
Brighton, which is playing some enterprising soccer under Roberto De Zerbi, remained in seventh place but is now tied for points with sixth-place Liverpool, and is only two points behind fifth-place Newcastle.
Brentford is one point further back in eighth.