Friday, May 12, 2023

Premier League in Europe

Manchester City drew 1-1 with Champions League semifinal opponent Real Madrid on Tuesday. Vinicius Junior and Kevin De Bruyne displayed individual brilliance when they traded long range strikes to throw the tie into a do or die second leg in England next week. Manchester City controlled possession and had the better of opportunities in the first half before Vinicius struck against the run of play with a 36th minute rocket. A confident Real Madrid side then controlled play until De Bruyne found the net in the 57th minute with a long-range effort comparable to Vinicius’s first half goal. De Bruyne became the first player in Champions League history to score an away goal in two separate knockout matches at the home of Real Madrid while the victory extended Manchester City’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 21 matches. The Citizens will be trying to advance to their second Champions League final when they host the decisive second leg next Wednesday.

West Ham scored twice in the second half of a 2-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar in their Europa Conference League semifinal at London Stadium. A howler by West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola had provided the Dutch side with a first half advantage before goals by Said Benrahma and Michail Antonio brought the Hammers back to give them a slender advantage heading into Thursday’s second leg in the Netherlands. Benrahma’s goal came by way of penalty after current AZ Alkmaar and former Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan was assessed for punching the Hammers’ Jarrod Bowen in the face during a goalmouth challenge. Antonio’s 75th minute winner puts the Hammers in prime position to advance to a European final in a season where domestic relegation was often of concern.

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