Manchester City’s dream of a four-trophy haul is still up for grabs after they beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Germany to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time in six years.
But Liverpool’s hopes of joining their Premier League rivals in the last four disappeared on Wednesday night after a goalless draw in their quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid saw the Spanish champions progress 3-1 on aggregate.
Pep Guardiola’s City, who are set to win the league title and are contending in three Cup competitions, were shocked to go a goal down in the 15th minute as Jude Bellingham became the youngest-ever English goalscorer in the Champions League.
City responded well and went close to equalising before the break through Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
But a 55th-minute penalty from Mahrez, after Emre Can was adjudged to have handled, and a left-foot thunderbolt on 76 minutes from Foden, who scored City’s winner in the first-leg victory, rewarded their dominance and secured a 4-2 aggregate triumph.
City, eliminated in the quarters in the previous three years, face a mouth-watering semi-final tie with last year’s finalists Paris Saint-Germain, who knocked out the defending champions Bayern Munich on Tuesday, while 13-time winners Real
Madrid will face another English challenge against Chelsea after seeing off Liverpool.
The Reds had to apologise for a window of Real’s team bus being smashed by fans on their arrival to Anfield before starting strongly into their comeback attempt.
Liverpool, the 2019 Champions League winners, created enough chances in the opening 45 minutes to have turned the tie around but they ran out of ideas in the second half.
Mohamed Salah hit goalkepper Thibault Courtois’ outstretched left leg from 10 metres just two minutes in, and the Belgian made another big save from James Milner’s curling effort.
Real almost wrapped up the the tie when Karim Benzema’s deflected effort beat Alisson Becker but came back off the post.
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum also went close but couldn’t create a similar comeback as two years ago when they ousted Barcelona 4-0 after losing 3-0 in Spain.
Juergen Klopp’s last route to a trophy this season has now been shut off and his side’s struggling to even make the Champions League places, sitting three points outside the top four with seven games to go.
Reaching the European semis meanwhile is the latest sign of the recovery overseen by Zinedine Zidane at Madrid. Trailing Atletico Madrid by 10 points in January, Zidane’s team are now just a point behind and the La Liga title defence is back on.