Thursday, April 18, 2024

Madrid draw Leipzig to reach Champions League quarters

Real Madrid scraped through into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 1-1 second-leg draw against RB Leipzig on Wednesday, progressing 2-1 on aggregate.

The record 14-time champions were far below their best but did just enough over the two legs of the last-16 clash to edge out their Bundesliga opponents.

Despite Leipzig shading the game, Vinicius Junior opened the scoring in the 65th minute after being set up well by Jude Bellingham.

Willi Orban quickly levelled for the visitors but they could not find a second goal to force extra-time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said his team suffered and did not approach the game well mentally.

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Ancelotti warned his players before the game they needed to be at their best to progress and showed his cautious side by playing four midfielders behind Bellingham and Vinicius.

The Italian brought Aurelien Tchouameni forward into defensive midfield, also deploying Eduardo Camavinga, Fede Valverde and Toni Kroos, as he looked to protect the 1-0 first-leg lead.

However Ancelotti’s gameplan stunted Madrid’s own attacking game without completely stifling Leipzig’s.

“It was not our best day, but we have to be happy because the objective is complete,” Madrid captain Nacho Fernandez told Newsmen.

“When things don’t go as you want, you have to battle, to fight, to play games like today’s that make you grow and learn.”

The German side had the better of the first half, albeit without carving out clear chances until just before the break.

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