October 11, 2022
Karim Benzema’s brilliance spells the end of Chelsea’s Champions League defense |  Soccer News

Benzema takes center stage as humble Real Chelsea

Karim Benzema scored a superb hat-trick in the second half
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Karim Benzema is the fourth player to score a hat-trick in consecutive Champions League appearances

Karim Benzema reminded everyone just how ruthless he can be at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night as he returned for Real Madrid on another big European night.

The 34-year-old striker scored with three of his four shots in a clinical display, which was juxtaposed by Romelu Lukaku missing two key chances at the other end after coming off the bench for Chelsea.

Benzema continues to show us that he belongs in this elite slice of European players. Only three others – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luiz Adriano – have managed to score consecutive hat-tricks in the Champions League.

While the French striker will rightly make headlines, Vincius Jr’s performance shouldn’t go unnoticed. He was a constant thorn in the side of the Chelsea defence, and his partnership with Benzema is becoming a real problem for opponents – no player has combined for more goals (5) in this season’s competition.

Few teams have the experience to match that of this Real Madrid side – not even Chelsea, winners of last season’s competition – and that was evident at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. 13-time European top-prize winners Real have now beaten the defending Champions League champions in the last four such encounters – no team have done better than them (6).

Last season, many pointed to Real’s aging midfielder as part of the problem when they traveled to Chelsea in the semi-finals. But with Wednesday night’s showing, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro have certainly allayed any concerns about their ability to compete at the highest level.

Difficult to envisage the return of Chelsea

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has said his side’s recent defensive performances against Real Madrid and Brentford are alarming.

Saturday’s humility at the hands of Brentford was meant to be a blow, but it was made worse by another disastrous Chelsea exit on a night of acute frustration at Stamford Bridge.

An evening that began with the reigning European champions intent on setting up a marker at the quarter-final stage, ended with a sobering Champions League clinic by the 13-time winners.

Chelsea’s defense – and the season – hangs in the balance. With the Premier League title long gone, defending their European crown was the last big prize offered to Thomas Tuchel’s side but, now, not even the German can not plead for a return.

When in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, Tuchel became the only manager in Champions League history to see a two-goal first-leg lead canceled at home when Manchester United eliminated the Parisians in the second leg. round of 16 of the 2018/19 season. campaign.

Tuchel won’t need to recall that defeat, which he described as “painful and cruel”, especially as his latest managerial venture crumbles into uncharted lows. But that is the task now given to Chelsea, and the message is clear: save your season while they still have one.

Jack Wilkinson

Foden’s magic makes the difference

Phil Foden set up Kevin de Bruyne for Man City's winner against Atletico Madrid
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Phil Foden set up Kevin de Bruyne for Man City’s winner against Atletico Madrid

It was a game short of attacking quality moments, such was the defensive determination of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid at the Etihad Stadium. But then Phil Foden stepped onto the pitch and that all changed. He made the difference for Manchester City.

Against tiring legs, his impact was immediate, his arrival changing the dynamics of the game in an instant. He managed to take the ball in a tight area – and there were plenty of those against this Atletico side – before finding the pass City was missing.

It was no coincidence. Others would have bounced the ball backwards when receiving possession where he did. Foden had the technique and the sense of adventure to look forward instead. The space didn’t last long but it was long enough.

It was the moment that decided the game but it wasn’t Foden’s only moment. He broke away again soon after and then found the best ball of the night, leaning behind the Atletico defense with the outside of his boot to find that De Bruyne man again.

In just over 20 minutes, he did enough to be man of the match. He might even be City’s best player now. Omitted from the starting lineup, he still found a way. Expect him to be in training against Liverpool. Foden is just too good to turn down.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola raved about midfielder Phil Foden

Pep: Foden has ‘a special quality’

“Phil has been brilliant,” praised Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. “He has a special quality. His reception is always forward, his space in the first steps is huge and he had incredible composure to deliver an incredible assist to Kevin.”

Manchester City match schedule:

To rearrange: Wolves (a) premier league

Sunday, April 10, 4:00 p.m.

Kick off 4:30 p.m.


April 10 – Liverpool (h) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 13 – Atletico de Madrid (a) Champions League Qualifying second leg

April 16 – Liverpool (Wembley) FA Cup semi-finals

April 20 – Brighton premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 23 – Watford (h) premier league

April 26/27 – Chelsea/Real Madrid (h) Champions League SF first leg*

April 30 – Leeds premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

May 3/4 – Chelsea/Real Madrid (a) SF Champions League second leg*

May 8 – Newcastle (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 14 – FA Cup Final *

May 15 – West Ham (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports **

May 22 – Villa Aston (h) premier league

May 28 – Champions League Final *

* Subject to progress

** If not involved in FA Cup Final

Liverpool win without breaking a sweat

Liverpool's Sadio Mane (right) scores his side's second goal against Benfica
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Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (right) scores his side’s second goal against Benfica

Rarely has a Champions League quarter-final had a narrative surrounding it where the next domestic league game takes precedence.

Such was the case for Liverpool at Benfica where Jurgen Klopp’s men played with the handbrake for large games, with one eye on the weekend, and still managed to come away with a whopping 3-1 win. It was a result achieved without too much sweat or the usual energy expenditure that one associates with the last eight of a European match.

Klopp even managed to rest the legs of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, taking the pair out with 30 minutes left. It was a pretty obvious hint that Klopp is planning to release the two on Sunday in what is being touted as the potential title decider against Manchester City.

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Jurgen Klopp says his side could and perhaps should have scored more goals in their 3-1 Champions League win over Benfica.

Interestingly, Klopp decided to keep Luiz Diaz for 90 minutes. The Colombian was in a dynamic mood again, scoring the all-important third goal which restored a two-goal cushion to bring back to Anfield.

Does that mean he’s likely to be on the bench on Sunday, with Klopp planning to play Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino in the middle and Mane on the left of the front three? Or is Diaz such a machine he can just walk away?

In midfield, Naby Keita claimed one of two midfield spots ahead of Fabinho in the starting role. His passing was quick and smart and his energy to support the three leading men was impressive. He had four shots on goal in the opening 14 minutes, fending off a glorious chance with his header after a superb through ball from Mane. There was also the assist for Diaz’s goal. Klopp has big decisions to make.

Liverpool match schedule:

Sunday, April 10, 4:00 p.m.

Kick off 4:30 p.m.


April 10 – Manchester (a) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 13 – Benfica (h) Champions League Qualifying second leg

April 16 – Manchester City (Wembley) FA Cup semi-finals

April 19 – Manchester United (h) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 24 – Everton (h) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 26/27 – Villarreal/Bayern Munich (h) Champions League SF first leg*

April 30 – Newcastle (a) premier league

May 3/4 – Villarreal/Bayern Munich (a) SF Champions League second leg*

May 7 – Tottenham (h) premier league

May 10 – Aston Villa Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 14 – FA Cup Final *

May 15 – Southampton Premier League, live on Sky Sports **

May 22 – Wolves (h) premier league

May 28 – Champions League Final *

* Subject to progress

** If not involved in FA Cup Final

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