Manchester City found themselves drawn into Group G alongside Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Copenhagen.
They began group play in dominant fashion, winning their first three matches: 4-0 away to Sevilla, 2-1 at home against Dortmund with Erling Haaland scoring against his former team, and 5-0 at home against Copenhagen.
City then survived a Sergio Gomez red card in the 30th minute to escape Copenhagen with a 0-0 draw. They followed that with another 0-0 draw away to Dortmund that clinched them the top spot in the group.
With nothing to play for on the final matchday, City still managed to run out 3-1 winners at home over Sevilla.
Real Madrid 4-0 Chelsea
For the fifth straight knockout round of the Champions League dating back to last season, Real Madrid were once again paired with an English side, this time facing Chelsea for a spot in the semi-finals.
Chelsea were in complete disarray heading into this match-up, with the first leg in Madrid serving as Frank Lampard’s first match back in charge of the club following the dismissal of Graham Potter. Perhaps the only person predicting success for Chelsea in this tie was owner Todd Boehly, who claimed his side were going to win the first leg 3-0.
Early on, it actually looked like his prediction might come true! Chelsea made a bright start and threatened to take the lead at the Bernabeu. But after Real weathered a brief storm, they asserted control and earned a 2-0 win, getting goals either side of half-time from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio.
In the return leg at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea managed to hold Real at bay for the first half but were unable to get on the score sheet themselves, eventually falling to a pair of Rodrygo goals in the second half to lose by a 2-0 scoreline again.
(All photos by Getty Images)
Real Madrid 6-2 Liverpool
Advancing as Group F winners, Real Madrid were drawn against a group runner-up in the round of 16: Liverpool. The pairing was a rematch of last season’s final, which saw Real triumph 1-0 in Paris.
Liverpool made a brilliant start in the first leg at Anfield, jumping out to a 2-0 lead within 14 minutes. Darwin Nunez scored the first goal before Mohamed Salah capitalised on a bad error by Thibaut Courtois to double Liverpool’s lead.
Real Madrid stormed back before half-time though, levelling the match through two goals from Vinicius Junior. It was Alisson’s turn to make a bad mistake in goal, as his clearance struck Vinicius Jr and deflected directly into the back of the net.
From there on, it was all Real. Eder Militao gave them the lead less than two minutes after half-time, before Karim Benzema scored a pair of goals to give the Spanish side a stunning 5-2 victory at Anfield.
With the tie all but wrapped up, Real returned home to beat Liverpool 1-0 in the second leg, with Benzema scoring the lone goal.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Rodri said he is determined to avenge last year’s Champions League semi-final loss to Real Madrid.
Manchester City’s so-far elusive quest for the Champions League was ended last season by a dramatic Real Madrid comeback that concluded in extra time, but Rodri insists his team-mates have learned from the experience.
“Football gives you the option to have revenge,” the Spain international said.
“We have the philosophy you can always learn from past experiences. We did a great two games but football is like this and we didn’t go through.
“We will fight again. We will try to learn from what we did bad in that moment.
“As a team we are getting (into) the best moment now. We have been brilliant the last eight months to be here. We must show the best version of ourselves.”