UCL Recap: Real Madrid, Villarreal clinch semis seats as Atleti miss out

The semifinals cast of the UEFA Champions League are set after the quarterfinal ties were wrapped up last April 13-14. 

Both Real Madrid and Villarreal progressed to the penultimate phase as it was slated to be a clash between La Liga and the Premier League in the semifinals, with Atletico Madrid missing out. 

Real Madrid, Manchester City meet again after six years 

Manchester City prevented a Madrid Derby in the penultimate phase after a nervy encounter at the Wanda Metropolitano finished goalless, with Pep Guardiola’s men go through 1-0 on aggregate. 

The waning moments of the tie were marred by a scrap between City’s Phil Foden and Atleti’s Felipe Monteiro and Stefan Savic that spilled over into the tunnel after the final whistle. 

City will face Real Madrid in a rematch of their 2016 clash, with the latter coming through after they dethrone Chelsea, 5-4 on aggregate. 

Thomas Tuchel’s side thought they’d got the match in the bag when they lead 3-0 at the Bernabeu thanks to goals by Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner. 

But Rodrygo sent the tie into extra time with an 80th minute volley, with Madrid skipper Karim Benzema headed home a Vinicius cross in the 96th minute as Los Blancos weathered the big blue storm to progress. 

Villarreal left it late to return to the semifinal 

On the other side of the draw, Villarreal face six-time winners Liverpool after they nabbed a workmanlike 1-1 draw away to Bayern Munich. 

Unai Emery’s Yellow Submarine were pegged back by Robert Lewandowski’s 52nd minute strike, but the current Europa League holders picked the perfect moment to return to the last four for the first time since 2006, where they fell to Arsenal by the slimmest of margins. 

Nigerian striker Samuel Chukwueze fired the pivotal strike in the 88th minute, four minutes after he came on for Francis Coquelin to send them through, 2-1 on aggregate. 

Villarreal will next face Liverpool, who went through at Benfica’s expense with a 6-4 aggregate win despite a 3-3 draw at Anfield. 

In the champions league semifinals 2022, the La Liga sides will host the second leg on May 4-5, a week after both City and Liverpool host the first legs. The 2022 Final will be held in Stade de France on May 29.