Malta Independent

Man City in er to reach semis ge to set up Barcelona blockbuste­r


for the home side, but Lloris was on hand to make a very smart save as opportunit­ies started to arrive.

Lloris made an even better stop in the 54th minute to keep out a powerful strike from De Bruyne, but the pressure was relentless as Tottenham struggled to keep hold of the ball.

Liverpool beats Porto to return to Champions League semis

Liverpool returned to the semifinals of the Champions League after comfortabl­y beating Porto 41 on Wednesday, with the attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino grabbing a goal each.

Virgil van Dijk also scored for Liverpool, which advanced 6-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-0 at home.

Porto started well and showed signs it might be able to reverse the first-leg deficit, but Liverpool took control after Mane scored a goal in the 26th minute that was confirmed by video review after being initially disallowed for offside.

Salah added to the lead in the 65th and Eder Militao scored for Porto in the 69th, but Firmino ended any doubts in the 77th and Van Dijk closed the scoring in the 84th at the Estadio do Dragao.

Liverpool, which lost in the final last season, will now face Barcelona, which eliminated Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate on Tuesday.

Liverpool had barely gotten close to Iker Casillas's goal when Salah picked up a pass inside the area and sent a low pass to Mane, who came sliding in behind the defenders near the far post to open the scoring.

Mane looked offside at first, and few Liverpool players complained when the flag went up, but video review showed he was in legal position before making his run to the ball to score his 14th goal in 21 Champions League appearance­s.

The goal hurt Porto's morale and the team struggled to keep pushing forward. The pace slowed significan­tly and Liverpool took advantage, with Salah finding the net from inside the area after a pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold on a quick counteratt­ack.

Firmino, who came off the bench after halftime, and Van Dijk added to the lead with late headers. Porto's lone goal also came through a header by Militao, the defender who is joining Real Madrid at the end of the season.

Mane could have scored his second goal of the game in the 73rd but he missed an open net after dribbling past Casillas on a breakaway.

Porto, which eliminated Roma in the round of 16, had won all of its four home games in the Champions League this season, outscoring opponents 11-3.

It was the second consecutiv­e eliminatio­n for the Portuguese champions against Liverpool.

The English side routed Porto 50 at the Estadio do Dragao in the first leg of the round of 16 last season, with Salah, Firmino and Mane scoring all goals.

Liverpool advanced after a scoreless draw at home, and eventually made it to the final where it lost to Real Madrid.

Porto, in the quarterfin­als for the first time since 2014-15, was trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since it won the tournament in 2004 under Jose Mourinho for its biggest triumph.

Porto was boosted by the return of two key players who missed the first leg because of yellow-card suspension­s: captain Hector Herrera and defender Pepe, a threetime Champions League winner with Real Madrid.

Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp made a series of changes to the lineup from the first leg, revamping the midfield and using Firmino as a second-half substitute.

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