Liverpool, Manchester City reach Champions League semi-finals

Liverpool’s second-leg draw ensured an aggregate win over Benfica while Manchester City edge out Atletico Madrid after deadlock.

Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring their third goal with Mohamed Salah
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, left, celebrates scoring their third goal with teammate Mohamed Salah [Phil Noble/Reuters]

Liverpool set up a Champions League semi-final with Spain’s Villarreal after Roberto Firmino scored twice in a 3-3 second-leg draw with Benfica to ensure a 6-4 aggregate win.

Juergen Klopp’s side had been 3-1 up on the night before Benfica struck twice late in the game on Wednesday to create a jittery finale to what had appeared to be a comfortable passage.

Liverpool manager Klopp made seven changes to the team, which drew with Manchester City at the weekend, but his squad showed their improved strength in depth with Luis Diaz and Kostas Tsimikas particularly impressing.

Benfica forward Darwin Nunez had seen an effort ruled out for offside before Liverpool took the lead with a powerful header from a corner by defender Ibrahima Konate in the 21st minute.

The lead on the night lasted just 11 minutes though before Benfica pulled level through Goncalo Ramos, who beat Alisson Becker after a tackle from James Milner had fallen to him on the edge of the box.

Brazilian Firmino scored twice after the break as Liverpool looked to make sure of a place in the semi-finals for the third time in five seasons.

But Benfica stuck to the task well and pulled two goals back in the latter stages to return a degree of tension to Anfield.

Madrid's Luis Suarez looks dejected after the match
Atletico Madrid’s Luis Suarez looks dejected after the match [Susana Vera/Reuters]

Elsewhere, there were scuffles on and off the pitch as Manchester City played out a nerve-racking goalless draw at Atletico Madrid that earned the English side a place in the Champions League semi-finals.

Tempers flared in the closing stages as Atletico desperately tried to level the tie and force extra time following their 1-0 defeat in the first leg in England.

Atletico defender Felipe was sent off after receiving a second yellow card before the teams played out 12 minutes of added time.

Scuffles broke out among the players following Felipe’s dismissal – for kicking out at Phil Foden – and continued after the final whistle as the teams went down the tunnel, with the police having to intervene to restore calm.

City, bidding to win European club football’s most prestigious trophy for the first time, will play record 13-times champions Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

Source: News Agencies