The midweek continental fixtures came with stunning results as there would not be a 2021 UCL final repeat and the likes of Bayern and Barcelona in the last four of UCL and Europa League respectively.
Champions League saw the in-form Karim Benzema as the culprit in denying the encounter of Chelsea and Manchester City at the semifinal. He ruled out Chelsea’s impressive comeback during the normal time by scoring a decisive goal leading Los Blancos to the latter stage. The Blues applied real intense pressure on Madrid till Carlo Ancelotti’s men barely had any space left to build up the attack. Mason Mount’s opener silenced the home fans before Antonio Rudiger’s header and Timo Werner’s deflected’s strike boosted their confidence to cancel out their bad day in the reverse fixture. Yet, they suddenly conceded through Rodrygo before Thomas Tuchel’s side realised that it was not over yet. Chelsea was still attempting to revitalise their top performance in their first 80 minutes but it did not come to reality. Their confidence then ran dry as Benzema’s header into the back of the net cheered the fans in Bernabeu. Real Madrid were through after the extra time. They are set to meet Pep Guardiola’s men in the semifinal.
Meanwhile, another Spanish side, Villareal, made a giant step after holding Bayern in a 1-1 draw. Such result was enough to dump out Die Roeten at the last eight for the second time in a row since winning the silverware under Hans Flick in 2020. Robert Lewandowski gave them a hope for a comeback. Unfortunately, they were unable to extend their lead but conceded instead through a counter attack scheme. The Nigerian winger Samuel Chukwueze netted the late equaliser. This is the first time for Unai Emery to reach UCL semifinal and the second time for the Yellow Submarine after 2005/06 under Manuel Pellegrini and led by Roman Riquelme. In the semifinal, they will be taking on Liverpool, who also beat them at the last four of Europa League 2016.
In Europa League, the favorite Barcelona were hapless while hosting Eintracht Frankfurt as they slumped to a 3-2 loss. Xavi’s men had even been three goals behind as Filip Kostic bagged a brace plus another long-range goal from Rafael Borre. Blaugrana wasted too many decent chances as Pierre Aubameyang missed the opportunities in front of the goal twice. Their defence made unnecessary errors as well leading to the concession. One goal by Busquets was disallowed before he scored on 91st minute followed by Memphis Depay’s late penalty. Yet, it was all too late for them and none deserved the blame but themselves. Frankfurt will be facing off West Ham in the semifinal while RB Leipzig and Glasgow Rangers are squaring off in the other one.
Barcelona vs Frankfurt 2-3 (3-4 win for Frankfurt on aggregate)
Goals: Sergio Busquets (91),Depay (90+10); Filip Kostic (4, 67), Rafael Borre (36)
Barcelona: Marc Ter-Stegen – Eric Garcia (Luuk de Jong 70), Oscar Mingueza (Sergino Dest 62), Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba - Sergio Busquets, Pedri (Frankie de Jong 46), Gavi – Pierre Aubameyang (Adama Traore 46), Ousmane Dembele, Ferran Torres (Memphis Depay 80)
Eintracht Frankfurt: Kevin Trapp – Martin Hinteregger, Evan Ndicka, Almamy Traore (Makoto Hasebe 90) – Filip Kostic, Ansgar Knauff (Timothy Chandler 90+), Jakic, Sebastian Rode (Hrustic 80) – Daichi Kamada, Jesper Lindstrom (Jens Petter Hauge 80), Rafael Borre (Ragnar Ache 90)