Home English Premier League UCL: Five Talking Points As Liverpool, Tottenham Reach Semi-final

UCL: Five Talking Points As Liverpool, Tottenham Reach Semi-final

It was another exhilarating night of football on Wednesday at the Estadio De Dragao and Etihad Stadium for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals second leg that produced lots of dramatic moments.

At Estadio De Dragao, Liverpool completed what they started at Anfield ‘killing off’ the Portuguese giants 4-1 to reach the semi-final for a second consecutive time on 6-1 aggregate.

The drama were more at the Etihad Stadium where lightning struck twice for Manchester City’s at home after their Champions League dream and hope for a quadruple title were shattered by Tottenham in a pulsating game that produced seven goals.

Both teams scored five goals under 30 minutes in what became a record in England since March 2005 when Chelsea led Barcelona 3-2 before the break at Stamford Bridge.

Here are five talking points from both games.

LIVERPOOL, TOTTENHAM THE PERFECT TWO
Tottenham qualification to the semi-final means they become the seventh English club to reach the semi-final of the Champions League after Arsenal, Chelsea, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, since it was rebranded.

With Liverpool and Tottenham through to the semis, it will be the first time since the 20018-2009 season when two English teams will reach the last four.

MANCHESTER CITY AND THE TALE OF ENGLISH TEAM DEBACLES
Lightning it is said does not strike twice in the same place, but it did happen to Manchester City right on their home soil.

Last season, Champions League saw the Cityzens bowing out of the tournament to Liverpool in the quarter-final. Again, they incurred a 1-0 deficit in the first leg and with such narrow margin and their high flying form, it was expected that they will brush aside Spurs.

However, the reverse was the case as a less fancied Spurs progressed to the semi-final despite 4-4 aggregate through the away goal rules.

It means that Manchester City have lost all their five previous meetings with English teams in European competition with all three in the Champions League.

VAR, A BLESSING OR A CURSE?
When UEFA finally succumbed to pressure from teams for the implementation of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the Champions League, it was hailed as a way forward to curtailing some mistakes and wrong decisions made by officials.

Wednesday’s games put the veracity of VAR in decision making by officials to forebear.

Sadio Mane’s opener against Porto at the Estadio De Dragao was thought to be offside, but the referee after checking VAR decided that the goal stands.

Tottenham striker, Fernando Llorente reduced the scoreline for Spurs to 4-3 but his goal was thought to have been aided with his hand, the referee ruled otherwise after conferring with the VAR and awarded it.

Manchester City knew they are in for being eliminated, they kept on pressing and finally, Christian Erikssen made a mistake, Sergio Aguero in his trademark, capitalized on it and gave it to Raheem Sterling who jabbed it inside and the whole Etihad Stadium erupted, Manchester City has finally found the winning goal.

Wait… the referee consulted VAR and Aguero was ruled offside, City could not believe it, Guardiola could not believe this and Erikssen was grateful that his error did not spoil everything the team had worked for.

EDERSON OR DE GEA WHO WINS THE HOWLER GLOVE THIS WEEK?
It was a tale of who howled it than the other for two goalkeepers from the same city on Tuesday and Wednesday.

At Camp Nou, Lionel Messi’s second goal against Manchester United could have been saved by David De Gea, but the Red Devils goalkeeper fumbled when his teammates expected him to rise to the occasion as Messi’s shot scrambled away under his arms.

Ederson joined fellow Manchester goalie to commit a blunder as he dived the wrong way and though his feet were in the right spot, his attempt to save Son Heung-Min’s shot failed.

SON KEEPS SHINING FOR SPURS
When Harry Kane picked up an injury in the first leg of the Champions League against Manchester City at the Tottenham Stadium, nobody expected Spurs to score again, but then came a moment of brilliance from their South Korean import, Son Heung-Min.

Again Pochettino deployed Son to strike in the absence of Kane, the South Korean proved to be the perfect player in such a big game as he stepped up to cancel out Raheem Sterling early goal and fired Tottenham to front.

He constantly tormented the Manchester City defence line and his second goal was a testimonial for his ability.

With Kane set to miss the rest of the season, Tottenham could be assured that Son’s presence is enough to do the damage.

He was the first player to score when Tottenham opened their new Stadium both in the Premier League and the Champions League.

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