Friday, April 29, 2022

Premier League in Europe

Champions League

Manchester City and Real Madrid combined for a thrilling spectacle at the Etihad in a wide-open contest. The English club went ahead by two goals on three separate occasions only to have the 13-time Champions League titlists claw back to have the tie balancing on a single goal entering next week’s second leg at the Bernabeu. Kevin De Bruyne opened scoring for Manchester City only two minutes into Tuesday’s match and Gabriel Jesus extended the lead less than ten minutes later. Karim Benzema halved the deficit for Real Madrid before halftime as Manchester City missed numerous chances to put the match, and potentially the tie, to bed. Phil Foden restored a two-goal advantage early in the second half only for Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior to strike two minutes later. Bernardo Silva then contributed to the goal fest when he rifled a shot into the top left corner while Real Madrid players seemed paused in anticipation of a foul never called. Manchester City’s third two goal advantage of the match evaporated with a penalty kick called for a handball by Aymeric Laporte. Karim Benzema coolly lofted a Panenka kick into the net for the 4-3 final.

Liverpool scored both goals of its goals in a two-minute span of the second half in the Reds’ 2-0 semifinal win over Villareal. Jordan Hendersen created the first goal when his long cross was deflected into the net for a 53rd minute own goal. Less than two minutes later Mohamed Salah poked a pass through to Sadio Mane who stabbed it home for the final goal of the match. Villareal, playing without striker Gerard Moreno, were unable to effectively counterattack from their match long defensive posture against the Reds. The “Yellow Submarine” looks sunk as the two clubs head to Spain.

Europa League

West Ham’s first European semifinal of the century was a bit rocky for the Hammers. Eintracht Frankfurt scored inside of the first minute. West Ham fans attacked German broadcasters later in the first half when West Ham tied the match on a Michail Antonio goal. West Ham then conceded a second half goal to lose 2-1. Tantalizingly, a Jarrod Bowen bicycle kick nailed the crossbar in the match’s stoppage time in a moment which could have changed the momentum heading into the second leg.

Europa Conference League

Leicester pressed the action in the second half and was rewarded by a Roma own goal in the 67th minute for a 1-1 final at King Power Stadium. The tying score resulted from a deflected cross from the Foxes’ Harvey Barnes. Roma Manager Jose Mourinho characteristically was content to play defensively with a one goal lead in a second half dominated by the Foxes. Despite the second half concession, Mourinho will be feeling confident with the sides level heading to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

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