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Real Madrid gets the job done; Dortmund’s still alive against Man City

Arans Tabaruka
Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior celebrates a goal against Liverpool.

Sports Dose

Real Madrid and Manchester City both put one foot into the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night with wins in the first leg of the quarterfinals.
A late goal for City from Phil Foden to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at the Etihad, while Real Madrid tore apart Liverpool’s defence to take a 3-1 win to Anfield ahead of next week’s second leg.

This is our takeaways from the action.

This Real Madrid-Liverpool tie felt like it would come down to whose thin defence steps up in the absence of superstars.
Both teams were without their usual centre back pairing, with Sergio Ramos and Raphale Varane both out for Los Blancos, with news of the latter having just tested positive for COVID-19 coming only hours before game time. Virgil van Dijk’s big knee injury sees him still on the road to recovery.

Well, the answer was clearly Real Madrid. While Liverpool’s defence was horrific overall, Real’s looked sharp by design.
That is because Zinedine Zidane provided assistance with Casemiro sitting in deeper and Ferland Mendy also staying back, as Jurgen Klopp’s team managed just one shot on goal.

Firmino was Jurgen Klopp's missing piece in Liverpool's loss to Real Madrid.

So how much help were they?

While Mendy was solid, it was Casemiro who shine brightly with eight tackles, two interceptions, 17 duels and recovering the ball a game-high 10 times.

City will be happy with the 2-1 win since they looked headed for a draw, but don’t count out Dortmund just yet.
Sure, their form has been horrific in the Bundesliga, and they showed very little until late, but the chances were there to be had.

Robbed by the referee of a goal early in the second half thanks to a blown call, they continued to sit back and try to spring the surprise going forward with Erling Haaland. They did that late, as the Norwegian striker played this delightful ball to Marco Reus:

A 2-1 defeat isn’t all that bad for Dortmund, and this tie isn’t close to being over. It sets up a tasty second leg where Dortmund have to score, and they will try to be on the front foot a bit more at home.

City will get their chances, but Dortmund will feel confident in being able to strike early and give them the type of shock Lyon provided last season.

Arans Tabaruka
Arans Tabaruka

Editor and Africa correspondent

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