Champions League: Decoding the four semi-finalists in numbers
The UEFA Champions League 2021-22 season finally has its four semi-finalists. The likes of Real Madrid, Villarreal, Liverpool, and Manchester City have reached the semis. Real sealed a 5-4 aggregate score over holders Chelsea to progress. Villarreal edged past Bayern Munich 2-1 on aggregate. Liverpool were involved in a 6-4 contest across two legs. City showed their defensive prowess to beat Atletico Madrid 1-0.
Man City, who reached the final last season, take on Real Madrid. They host Real at home on April 27 (12:30 AM IST). Liverpool host Europa League holders Villarreal the following day (12:30 AM IST). The return legs are scheduled for May 4 and 5 respectively. Villarreal welcome Liverpool to Spain on May 4. Real will host English champions City on May 5.
- Real are aiming for a 14th European honor after dishing out two dazzling performances over Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the knockout stages.
- Man City have been stupendous at the back, keeping the necessary clean sheets and moving on.
- Liverpool have been fun to watch, promising goals.
- Villarreal were the biggest gainers defeating Juventus and Bayern respectively to reach the last four.
Real claimed top position in Group D, finishing on 15 points (W5 L1). They forwarded 14 goals and allowed three. In the round of 16, Los Blancos beat PSG 3-2 on aggregate. They lost the first leg 1-0 and were trailing 1-0 in the second before Karim Benzema netted a hat-trick. Against Chelsea, Benzema scored four goals across two legs as Real prevailed.
Man City topped Group A, collecting 12 points (W4 L2). They scored 18 goals and allowed 10. In the round of 16, City demolished Sporting 5-0 in the first leg before keeping a 0-0 scoreline next. In the quarter-finals, City beat Atletico 1-0 at home before scraping past with a 0-0 affair. This is their second successive semi-final show under Pep Guardiola.
Liverpool maintained a 100% record in the group stage. They topped Group B in style, scoring 17 times and conceding six. In the round of 16, the Reds beat Italian champions Inter Milan 2-0 away before losing the second leg 1-0. Against Benfica, Jurgen Klopp's men won the first leg 3-1 before being held 3-3 at Anfield. Klopp is aiming a second UCL honor.
Spanish side Villarreal finished second in Group F behind Manchester United. They collected 10 points (W3 D1 L2). The UEL winners scored nine goals and conceded three. In the round of 16, Unai Emery's men drew the first leg versus Juventus 1-1. They overwhelmed Juve 3-0 in Turin to progress. Against Bayern, Villarreal won the first leg 1-0 before drawing the second 1-1.
For Real, Karim Benzema has been in top form, scoring 12 goals and making one assist. He has two hat-tricks under his belt. Vinicius Junior has contributed with six assists. For Man City, Joao Cancelo has three assists and two goals so far. Riyad Mahrez has been superb, scoring six goals, besides assisting one. Raheem Sterling has three goals and two assists as well.
For the Reds, Mohamed Salah has hammered in eight goals so far this season. Roberto Firmino has five goals as well. Left-back Andrew Robertson has made his presence felt with three assists. For Villarreal, Arnaut Danjuma has six goals and an assist so far. Gerard Moreno has two goals and four assists. Daniel Parejo has three goals and an assist.
Liverpool will line up in the Champions League semi-finals for the third time in five seasons. Liverpool also went level with Man United for most European Cup semi-final appearances by English clubs. Villarreal have reached the semi-finals of the UCL for just the second time in their history. Carlo Ancelotti has managed Real Madrid in three UCL campaigns, reaching the semis each time.