The 2021-22 UEFA Champions League has produced several memorable nights, including many great personal performances.
The first leg of the quarter-finals was no exception, with Alfonso Davis of Canada returning to Bayern Munich after being left out in December and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema proving why he is the deadliest striker in the world right now. .
Here’s what stands out from this week’s games.
Alfonso Davis returns to Bayern Munich’s road rate
Alfonso Davis returned from a month-long absence from the Bayern Munich line-up on Wednesday, and the Germans survived a 1-0 defeat to Villarreal but survived a two-game series with a small part of the Canadian fullback.
Davis has not played a competitive game for the club or country since December 17, due to symptoms of myocarditis, a mild heart condition, COVID-19. He recently returned to full training, but Bayern coach Julian Nagelsman was confident enough to get him started in this crucial road game.
Villarreal saw the sharp side and took a deserved lead at halftime after a pretty calm performance from the audience. But both Bayern and Davis looked much more purposeful in the second half and limited the damage the Spaniards were able to do, giving them a chance to reverse next week’s second leg deficit in Germany.
It could have been worse for the Bavarians if not for Davis, who made a great comeback to squander a clear scoring chance by Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno. With a timely block. That sequence was similar to the Canadian International form at night, as he completed 88 percent of his passes and tackled three, showing slight signs of rust.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema is batting for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
French striker Karim Benzema has scored a hat-trick to continue his glittering season on the eve of the departure of current Champions League holder Chelsea after a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday. The Blonde.
It was Benzema’s second consecutive hat-trick in the competition, having previously scored three goals in the second leg of a 16-round win over Paris Saint-Germain. Benzema, 34, has now scored 37 goals in all competitions for the Spanish club in 2021-22. , And he joined an elite team – along with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski – as the only man to score more than 80 goals in his Champions League career.
On a rainy night at Stamford Bridge, Benzema was a one-sided destroyer, with great passes from teammates Vinicius Jr. and Luka Modric and two great runs from deep position to head Chelsea goalkeeper Edward Mendy in the first 45 minutes. He completed his hat-trick in just 50 seconds in the second half, jumping on an error by Mendy to stunt any chances of Chelsea’s return.
How well has this experienced striker done for Real Madrid in the Champions League this season? Consider this: He was the first French player to score 10 or more goals in a single Champions League campaign and the first since Just Fontaine scored 10 goals in 1958-59 when the competition had a different format and was known as the European Cup.
Great Phil Foden has come for Manchester City
Manchester City set up the first leg against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, setting the pace in front of home fans and the pace of the match from the start kickoff. But for all their dominance, the Blues could not find a way to unlock the Spaniard’s defense – at times, it seemed manager Diego Simeone set up his team in a 5-5-0 formation only to disappoint the current Premier League champions.
To give some life to his team’s attack, Man City boss Pep Guardiola removed experienced German midfielder Ilke Gundogan and brought in young Englishman Phil Foden 68 minutes later as part of a triple replacement. It turned out to be a stroke of talent from the Spaniards. Just 79 seconds after setting foot on the pitch, Foden led the game with a horn as he advanced to attack on a probing run. When he got close to the penalty area, a trio of Atletico players rushed to stop him, but he played great with the ball in the box to slot goalkeeper Jan Oblak in the far post for teammate Kevin de Bruyne.
The Blues won 1-0, giving them the advantage before their return match in Spain next week. Based on what Foden did in the beginning – he created another goal for De Bruyne – you have to think that Guardiola will reward him starting in Madrid. Foden’s live play had a huge impact on Man City as he secured the seventh Champions League support of his career. Only former Arsenal great Cesc Fabregas (with 10 assists) has scored more goals for the Premier League club at the age of 21 or younger.
Liverpool’s Luis Diaz has returned to Portugal after drowning Benfica
Liverpool advanced to the semi-finals after a comfortable 3-1 win over Benfica in the first leg at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Tuesday. It was a record-breaking result for the Reds, who have now won eight consecutive road matches in all competitions for the first time in their colorful history.
Ibrahima Konate, 22, made a rare start for Liverpool and reciprocated manager Jurgen Klopp’s confidence just 17 minutes later when he scored the club’s first goal from Andrew Robertson’s in-swing corner kick. As such, the French center-back has become the 20th different goal scorer for Liverpool in all competitions this season, more than any other Premier League club.
But teammate Luis Diaz played for Liverpool that night. Diaz, 25, signed with the Reds in January after spending the previous two-and-a-half seasons with Benfica’s biggest domestic rivals at FC Porto. Apparently, Benfica fans remember Diaz because he was a loud fool at every touch of the ball he made – once a Porto player, always a Porto player in the eyes of Benfica fans.
But the Colombian winger ended the last laugh – he collected an assist and scored in the 87th minute to give the hosts a chance to come back. Overall, it was a great performance by Diaz, whose outrage left the left-wing Benfica defenders unbalanced and forced them to make multiple mistakes.
John Molinaro has covered the game for over 20 years for a number of media outlets, including one of Canada’s leading football journalists, Sportsnet, CBC Sports and Sun Media. He is currently the editor-in-chief of TFC Republic, a website dedicated to deep coverage of Toronto FC and Canadian Soccer. TFC Republic can be found Here.