Champions League. Villarreal exploit that eliminates Bayern, Real overthrows Chelsea at the end of the suspense

 Champions League.  Villarreal exploit that eliminates Bayern, Real overthrows Chelsea at the end of the suspense

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Heroic Villarreal

Villarreal managed the feat of eliminating Bayern in Munich on Tuesday night, snatching a 1-1 draw thanks to Samu Chukwueze two minutes from the end of regulation time, after their 1-0 victory in the first leg in Spain.

For the German champion, who dominated this return match but for a long time came up against an airtight defense, which only Robert Lewandowski was able to pierce (52nd), this elimination against an opponent presumed to be weaker will hurt a lot.

This failure confirms a well-established statistic at Bayern: since 2015, the “Rekordmeister” has lost a first leg in the Champions League six times. And each time he was eliminated.

Julian Nagelsmann, the coach, had boasted the day before the match. Villarreal largely dominated the first leg, he admitted, but “they made a mistake: they left us alive. And we have to punish them for that.”

But the Spaniards did not arrive in Munich to be “punished”. And they offered heroic resistance.

The match started without an observation round, like a fight. And Bayern took a good quarter of an hour to gain the upper hand and control of the match.

Faced with a team well grouped in its 30 meters, Bayern sought to play in long transverse and by the wings.

Coman on the right, Sané on the left, managed to overflow several times, but their crosses found neither Lewandowski nor Müller, stuck in the defensive nets of the “Yellow Submarine”.

It took until the 29th minute for Jamal Musiala to place the only shot on target in the first period, with a powerful header from ten meters, but directly into the arms of the goalkeeper.

The opener came after the break, by the double best player Fifa 2020 and 2021, Robert Lewandowski, who scored with a shot from the edge of the box his 13th goal this season in the Champions League, on his very first opportunity of the match (1-0, 52nd).

Pushed by their 70,000 supporters, the Munich residents then increased the pressure on visitors often reduced to repelling attacks from their penalty area, and trying to take advantage of a few rare counterattacks.

But the defense held firm, and neither Upamecano (50th), nor Müller (71st), nor Coman (76th) managed to frame the three best German chances.

There were two minutes to play when, on a quickly led block, the Nigerian Samu Chukwueze, entering as wild card, beat Manuel Neuer with a recovery under the bar, while Alphonso Davies had covered two players who could have been in position offside.

Real Madrid come back from hell

Heroic Karim Benzema! With a goal in extra time, the French center-forward, author of a hat-trick in the first leg (3-1), qualified Real Madrid for the semi-finals of the Champions League after an epic scenario against Chelsea, who touched his remontada with his finger before flinching (2-3).

The “dream scenario” requested by Thomas Tuchel after the first leg almost took place, but a year after eliminating Real in the semi-finals of the competition behind closed doors (1-1, 2-0), the champion of Europe in title fell in turn at the Bernabéu.

The Londoners, dominating a large part of the match, opened the scoring in the 15th minute on a ball delivered in a lucky way by Timo Werner and propelled into the back of the net by Mason Mount, who himself offered the assist of the second goal of the Blues from a corner, for a crossed header from Antonio Rüdiger, abandoned at the far post.

After a goal by Marcos Alonso canceled by decision of the VAR (one hand) in the 62nd, Werner, on a similar action, believed to bury the hopes of the “White House”, but in the 80th, the young Rodrygo, entered two minutes earlier, revived Real Madrid with a recovery of the right to send the two teams towards an extension which was going to be fatal to the English.

At the end of the night, always the same savior: Karim Benzema, favorite for the Ballon d’Or, concluded with a header in the 96th a cross from his young compatriot Eduardo Camavinga to hoist the Kings of Europe to thirteen European crowns towards the last four, and bury a Chelsea already heavily affected by extra-sporting torments.

Another legendary evening for “KB9”, acclaimed by the whole stadium after his goal. After an already incredible hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 second leg and a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge six days ago, at 34, Benzema continues to inscribe his name in gold letters in the history of Real. Madrid and the Champions League.

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