Liverpool into semi-final with dramatic second-leg win over Man City

By Lorlornyofm April 11, 2018 06:20

Liverpool into semi-final with dramatic second-leg win over Man City

Liverpool reached their first Champions League semi-final for 10 years after coming from behind to win at Manchester City and secure a 5-1 aggregate win.

Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, City’s Gabriel Jesus scored after 116 seconds following Raheem Sterling’s pass.

Bernardo Silva hit the post before Leroy Sane had a goal disallowed for offside despite James Milner getting the last touch.

Mohamed Salah equalised on the night before Roberto Firmino hit the winner.

Liverpool will discover their semi-final opponents when the draw is made on Friday [12:00 BST] in Nyon, Switzerland.

City manager Pep Guardiola was forced to watch the whole of the second half from the stand after being sent off by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz at the end of a controversial first half.

In a breathless opening 45 minutes City dominated and peppered the Liverpool net with 14 shots.

The visitors did not have a shot on target until the 41st minute but were much improved after the break.

Salah’s 39th goal of the season, a smart finish after Sadio Mane had gone to ground inside the City penalty area, left the hosts needing four goals.

Firmino earned Liverpool their third win over City this season after a mistake by Nicolas Otamendi.

Magic Salah delivers again

Salah’s fitness was the major topic of conversation around Liverpool’s team selection before this game – and his decisive contribution in the 56th minute demonstrated exactly why.

The striker was substituted in the first leg with a groin problem but was fully fit and restored at the start as Liverpool protected that three-goal lead from Anfield.

The Egyptian was powerless in the first half as City tried to claw that deficit back in a thunderous first 45 minutes that saw Jurgen Klopp’s side under siege.

In this golden season, however, Salah only needs one chance and so it proved again as he collected the ball as it ran loose from Mane’s drive into the area before delivering a composed lofted finish with the confidence of a man who feels he cannot miss.

These are the sort of game-changing contributions needed at this elite level and Salah delivers them.

It was fitting that the underrated Firmino added Liverpool’s second with equal calm as City ran out of hope – but it was Salah’s cool head in this frantic atmosphere that changed the course and emphasis of this quarter-final second leg.

Guardiola loses cool as Man City curse luck

City will feel they were on the rough end of the decisions as they complained that Sterling should have had a penalty when he was fouled by Andrew Robertson and Salah’s opening goal at Anfield was offside.

The sense of injustice was burning again here when what could have been a crucial goal to put City 2-0 up was ruled out for offside.

Milner got the final touch but the flag went up in a moment that was effectively the end of City’s challenge on the night.

Guardiola lost his cool, storming onto the pitch to gesticulate wildly at the referee as the players trooped off at half-time.

It was enough to see Guardiola sent to the stand and the debate will rage about just how much of an influence this had on City in the second half without their manager to orchestrate and inspire from the technical area.

Guardiola has history with Lahoz after he was angered by a penalty awarded to Monaco in the last-16 first leg of the Champions League at Etihad last season, which was missed by Radamel Falcao, and also his failure to award Sergio Aguero a penalty in the same game.

Tuesday night’s loss was City’s third damaging defeat in six days after defeat at Anfield in the first leg followed by the concession of a two-goal lead at home to Manchester United when victory would have brought them the Premier League title.

But their efforts were appreciated by the home supporters who applauded them off warmly.

It has been a painful few days for Guardiola and his players – but at least they will soon have the league title to console them.

Source: BBC

By Lorlornyofm April 11, 2018 06:20
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