Real Madrid cruised into the Champions League quarterfinals as Karim Benzema’s second-half goal secured a comfortable 1-0 win over Liverpool in their last-16 second leg that wrapped up a 6-2 aggregate victory on Wednesday.
Having done much of the hard work in handing out a come-from-behind thrashing in the first leg at Anfield, the 14-time winners did not need to be at their best in the return fixture. But they impressed in largely managing Liverpool’s threat, ensuring the visitors did not receive unnecessary encouragement in their bid for a comeback in the form of an opening goal.
Liverpool, deeply inconsistent in this campaign, took heart from their 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United in the Premier League, but could not produce the same magic under the Bernabeu lights. Madrid have now knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League in three consecutive seasons, including beating them in last year’s final.
Napoli defeated Eintracht in the other round-of-16 match on Wednesday to join Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Manchester City in the draw for the quarterfinals on Friday.
It will be Madrid’s turn to chase a result on Sunday when they go to Barcelona for the Clasico. Liverpool do not play again before the international break, which is followed by a daunting trip to Manchester City