After a riveting encounter between Manchester City and Real Madrid in the first Semifinal, everyone expected the second one to be a belter as well. But the match between Liverpool and Villarreal was not even a match, as Liverpool dominated most of the game.
Having beaten Juventus and Bayern Munich in the tournament, Villarreal was considered a fierce competitor. Liverpool was expected to walk on eggshells against the Spanish opposition.
The match, however, turned out to be the opposite.
It all started with a quick attack by Liverpool on Villarreal’s goal. Although they missed the target, it was a prequel of things to come in this match. And so, it turned out to be.
Liverpool dominated most of the possession in the first half. They clubbed together with some great passes to find pockets of space. Only they couldn’t manage to put the ball in the back of the net.
Their finishing was palpably awful as players like Salah and Mane missed easy chances.
At the end of the first half, it felt like Villarreal would be successful with their tactic. With the score at 0-0, their park the bus tactic seemed to be working alright.
The second half had other ideas, though.
Liverpool shines in second half
In the 49th minute of the game, Liverpool netted the game’s first goal. It was later deemed offside, but it was an uplifting moment for the team and the fans. This canceled goal gave them the boost of finding the net more often.
As a result, they took the lead 4 minutes later, albeit by an own goal.
It was Jordan Henderson’s cross from the right-hand side that got deflected by the legs of Estupinan. And beat Rulli on the far post, who couldn’t keep it out.
This goal broke the deadlock finally, and since one goal brings another, Mane scored the second goal just 2 minutes later.
Some great display of passing by Mohammed Salah found Villarreal caught off-guard. And Mane did the rest to put the game to bed.
The rest of the game was also played in Villarreal’s half, but the Spanish side managed to control the damage. The game ended at 2-0.
Although there was no fizz in this competition, it will be interesting to see if Villarreal will be able to bounce back from this situation in the next leg.
It will be played in the Estadio de la Ceramica in Villarreal on the 4th of May.