Wolfsburg pulled off the biggest upset of the Champions League quarter-finals so far, defeating Real Madrid 2-0 in the first leg of their tie at the Volkswagen Arena on Wednesday. First-half goals from Ricardo Rodriguez, who converted the penalty earned by Andre Schurrle and Maximilian Arnold, were enough for the German side to stun Real.
Real Madrid had the ball in the back of the net as early as the second minute, as Cristiano Ronaldo scored after being put through on goal. However, the goal was rightly disallowed for offside, as the Portuguese captain made his move a little too early.
Wolfsburg started off strong against Madrid, and were on the attack from the get go. Julian Draxxer was at the epicentre of all of Dieter Hecking’s side going forward, as his purposeful running and penetrative passing helped the Germans keep the Spaniards on the backfoot.
The first attempt fell to Wolfsburg as Draxler’s floated cross found Henrique on the right flank, but his header was very straight-forward and didn’t trouble Keylor Navas. Real then had a very good chance as Karim Benzema worked his way through the defence, but saw his shot saved by Diego Benaglio, and the rebound was put wide by Gareth Bale.
Wolfsburg then opened the scoring, as Andre Schurrle was fouled by Casemiro just as he was about to pull the trigger. The resulting penalty was converted calmly by Ricardo Rodriguez, who sent Navas the other way.
The Wolves continued to press for a second goal, and they got their just rewards. Julian Draxler’s mazy run saw him get the ball out to Henrique on the right, who then passed to Arnold, who finished calmly.
In what was a big blow for Real, Karim Benzema had to go off injured to be replaced by Jese, right after he put an easy header off target from Bale’s cross. The second half didn’t see many chances for both teams as Wolfsburg were content to hit Real on the break.
Real Madrid had multiple half-chances, but couldn’t really create many actual goalscoring chances. The closest they came to scoring in the second half was when substitute Isco put Ronaldo through with a lovely pass, but the Los Blancos’ talisman couldn’t provide the finish, as his attempt was saved by Diego Benaglio.
The final chance of the game fell to Wolfsburg’s Max Kruse, who cut in from the left side of the box to take a shot on goal from a very narrow angle. However, his shot was saved by Navas.
Real Madrid go into the second leg on April 12 trailing 2-0, and will look to make use of home advantage to go through to the semi-finals.
Manchester City pull off great 2-2 draw against PSG
The other game on the night saw Paris Saint-Germain host Manchester City in the first leg of their quarter-final. The home side had a chance to take the lead early in the first half, after they won a penalty thanks to Bacary Sagna’s foul on David Luiz. Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped up to take the spot-kick, but saw his effort saved by Joe Hart.
Soon after, the Swede was put through on goal but could only sky his effort over the bar with Hart advancing and the goal gaping. With a little under 10 minutes to go, City took a shock lead, scoring on the break through Kevin De Bruyne, who converted past Trapp after being put through by Fernandinho.
A bad mistake by Fernando, who was too slow on the ball and saw his pass diverted into the goal by Ibrahimovic, saw PSG level matter just before the break.
The second half saw both teams going for the win. It was Le Parisiens who got the crucial goal, scoring through Adrien Rabiot after Cavani’s initial header had been saved by Hart. There was a suspicion of offside as well, as Zlatan was looking as though he was interfering with play, when the ball came through to Cavani, but the linesman didn’t raise his flag.
However, City came back to equalise and score their second goal through Fernandinho, whose effort deflected off both Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Silva to squirm past Kevin Trapp in goal. Both Thiago Silva and Serge Aurier were at fault, as they failed to clear the danger quickly enough.
City go into the second leg of their clash with two away goals, and are in pole position to go through to the semi-finals.Published 07 Apr 2016, 02:00 IST