How Real Madrid signing Eder Militao fared against Mohamed Salah as Liverpool beat FC Porto 2-0

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Liverpool put one foot in the Champions League semi-finals as they dispatched FC Porto 2-0 during the first leg of their quarter-final tie on Tuesday night.

Naby Keita’s strike took a big deflection to spark celebrations at Anfield as early as the fifth minute before Trent Alexander-Arnold set up Roberto Firmino to make it 2-0 to the hosts less than 20 minutes later.

Eder Militao, the highly-rated young centre-back who signed for Real Madrid in January for a reported €50m, was in action against the Reds before he begins his career in Spain from next season.

He had a tough test against Mohamed Salah and here, we analyse his performance.

STATS

Passes – 23

Pass accuracy – 78.3%

Tackles – 6

Interceptions – 2

Clearances – 4

Blocks – 2

Fouls – 0

Dispossessed – 1

30-SECOND REPORT

Militao had his hands full right from the start with a lively Salah to contend with. Porto as a unit were a bit erratic, looking to attack Liverpool with quick forward passes. However, that usually meant the hosts were allowed opportunities to win possession back swiftly and were usually successful.

The front three of Salah, Sadio Mane and Firmino were able to come to life during numerous transitions. Militao had to be on his toes and largely coped well with Salah’s threat though he did seem to suffer from lapses in concentration when there were runs made off the ball.

Eder Militao (l)

GOT RIGHT

One-on-ones

Playing on the left of a central defensive three for Porto, Militao had the unenviable task of going toe-to-toe with Salah but held his own in what was arguably the most captivating battle on the pitch.

Whenever the Egyptian ran at him, he positioned his body well and was equal to the attacker’s dribbling, thwarting him time and again. It’s no surprise that he won a six tackles, more than any other team-mate.

GOT WRONG

Tracking movement

While he came out on top when facing Salah head on, it was his awareness that was lacking when the Liverpool forward ran off his shoulder or drifted inside. While Militao can’t be expected to shadow Salah all over the field, he failed to hand him off to a team-mate and when he allowed the forward to roam unmarked, he often failed to pick up Trent Alexander-Arnold’s run on the outside.

There was one moment when Salah gave him the slip with a little feint, allowing a pass to run across him and then chase after it in behind which really exposed the Portuguese.

VERDICT

There’s some good for Madrid to work with but unfortunately, Militao seems to exhibit the same shortcomings that so many Los Blancos defenders have struggled with in the past. He has great attributes and is a fine athlete. He is capable of making eye-catching interventions as well but it’s the finer aspects of defending where he’s found wanting. The ability to suss out danger and be a step ahead of a striker is where he does not impress.

RATING: 6/10

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Mauricio Pochettino says Harry Kane's ankle injury 'doesn't look good'

Andy Hampson 10/04/2019
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Harry Kane received a nasty challenge from Fabian Delph.

Harry Kane suffered a potential season-ending injury as Tottenham were left to count the cost of a stunning Champions League win over Manchester City.

Son Heung-min struck late on as Spurs claimed a first-leg advantage in the all-Premier League quarter-final with a 1-0 victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But the gloss was taken off the success by fears their talisman Kane, the England captain, could face another lengthy lay-off with an ankle injury.

Kane rolled the joint as he challenged Fabian Delph for the ball just before the hour. To compound matters, Delph then caught him on the ankle.

Kane, who was out for more than a month after suffering ankle ligament damage in January, was carried straight down the tunnel and later left the stadium on crutches wearing a protective boot.

“It is so painful,” said manager Mauricio Pochettino. “We hope it is not a big issue and try to recover as soon as possible but it doesn’t look good.”

Asked if he was worried Kane’s season could be over, Pochettino said: “Yes.”

Pochettino felt Delph could have been sent off for the challenge but did absolve the City defender of blame for the injury.

He said: “I said to him, ‘You were lucky’. Checking on the VAR, maybe technically it was a red card but I think both were fighting for a ball and had no intention to damage each other.”

Spurs will now take an unexpected advantage into the second leg against quadruple-chasing City at the Etihad Stadium next week.

“I am happy with the performance and the way we approached the game,” said Pochettino.

“We still have a lot of work to do. Manchester City are still the favourites to win the Champions League and it is going to be tough.”

City were below par and spurned an early chance to take the initiative when Sergio Aguero had a penalty saved by Hugo Lloris. The spot-kick had also been awarded controversially by VAR for handball against Danny Rose.

Yet manager Pep Guardiola was still able to review the performance in a positive light.

Guardiola said: “Except for a few chances we conceded on set-pieces and counter-attacks we controlled the game. When we don’t play good I am the guy who says we didn’t play good, but I don’t have that feeling.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Son Heung-min rises to Harry Kane's level as Tottenham pick up crucial Champions League victory over Man City

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Son Heung-min came through with a clutch goal for Tottenham.

Tottenham got a crucial home victory in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City, with Son Heung-min’s second-half goal giving Spurs a 1-0 lead to take into next week’s second leg in Manchester.

Though they still face an uphill task to reach the semi-final given City’s prowess, Son’s goal must have given Spurs real belief that they can progress past the quarter-final in this competition for the first time in the club’s history.

Here’s a look at the talking points from the game.

SON SHOWS HIS WORTH AGAIN

Harry Kane is Tottenham’s best player, most important player, hero, talisman, golden boy, future captain, future legend (if he’s not one already) – the list could go on. Yet, this season, there is a strong claim from one of his team-mates for one or two of those mantles.

Spurs’ squad is sprinkled with talent. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are among the best centre-backs in the Premier League, Christian Eriksen will be worth every bit of the reported £120million transfer fee Tottenham will try to squeeze out of Real Madrid if he does indeed leave, and Dele Alli could, like Kane, end up being an England and Spurs great. But where would Tottenham be this season without Son?

The Korean has 18 goals this season, along with six assists; he has the second-highest tally in both categories for Tottenham this campaign. And so many of his interventions have been crucial, with this the latest example.

Tottenham’s first-half promise had slowly fizzled out; City were choking them out of the game, and Kane had just gone off injured. The win that looked possible in the first half had become increasingly unlikely. Then, up popped Son.

GUARDIOLA GETS IT WRONG IN EUROPE AGAIN

Pep Guardiola’s team selection raised eyebrows. Riyad Mahrez ahead of Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne on the bench – it seemed yet again that the Spaniard was over-complicating things in Europe. His explanation for De Bruyne’s absence was that the Belgian isn’t in the best form and could have struggled against Tottenham’s physicality. Barely a year ago, Guardiola was calling the midfielder the best player in the world after Lionel Messi.

Remember last season, when Guardiola played all four of Ilkay Gundogan, Fernandinho, David Silva, and De Bruyne in midfield against Liverpool in order to give his team greater control, only for City to get ripped apart 3-0?

This wasn’t that bad, and Sergio Aguero’s missed penalty that would have given City the lead could have rendered this entire discussion moot. Equally, though, Kane missed a golden opportunity in the first half and Son’s touch let him down a few times; it could have been worse than 1-0. City have now been outscored 7-1 in their last three Champions League knockout ties away from home, all losses.

This tie is far from over, of course. City will back themselves to get a two-goal win at home, even considering Tottenham’s excellent away record in the Premier League – second only to Liverpool, though that does include six losses.

But why does Guardiola insist on having his team do things the hard way?

WINKS THE CARRICK OF HIS GENERATION

Harry Winks won 100% of his duels on Tuesday night. For a 23-year-old in a Champions League quarter-final for the first time, that’s impressive. For a midfielder playing against Man City, with their trio of Silva, Fernandinho, and Gundogan, that’s an accomplishment to be proud of.

Mauricio Pochettino deserves immense credit for the way he’s turned the Winks-Moussa Sissoko partnership into such an effective one, on both counts – for Winks’ development and for the revival of Sissoko’s career, after he was looking like one of their worst transfers in recent memory. The latter is probably the more remarkable achievement from the manager, but the former probably gives him slightly more pride and joy, given Pochettino’s love of youth.

Winks has a long way to go, and there are sure to be ups and downs along the way. However, without going too overboard with the superlatives, he looks poised to be the Michael Carrick of the new generation – in an era when a player like that is appreciated and needed, unlike, unfortunately, during Carrick’s time.

The young midfielder will need to deliver performances like Tuesday’s on a more consistent basis, starting with next week’s return leg. But, judging by the signs, Spurs have found themselves a special player.

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