Real Madrid snatch draw to qualify for Champions League quarter-finals

Real Madrid withstood an onslaught from RB Leipzig to secure a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.

The result meant that they scaled through to the quarter-finals with a slim 2-1 aggregate victory at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

RB Leipzig were arguably the better side and missed several gilt-edged chances.

But Real Madrid increased the tempo in the second half and ultimately did enough to seal their place in the last eight.

Bidding for a record-extending 15th Champions League title, Real took the lead thanks to a Vinicius Jr strike from a counter attack in the 65th minute.

But Leipzig’s Willi Orban levelled the score three minutes later with a header to set up a tense final few minutes that included a strike that hit the crossbar by Dani Olmo.

Even though Real Madrid have a formidable record in Europe, having been knocked out in the round of 16 only twice in the past 14 years while winning the title five times during that period, Carlo Ancelotti’s team began rather cagily.

Leipzig kept threatening to score, with Orban missing twice in the second half after shooting wide.

In the second half, Rodrygo replaced Eduardo Camavinga and suddenly Real were playing with more purpose.

Real appeared to have put the tie to bed when Toni Kroos stole the ball and fed Jude Bellingham at the halfway line, who took the ball up the Leipzig box.

He slipped a pass to Vinicius, who had cut in from the left into the centre circle before rifling a shot into the left-hand corner.

That goal only seemed to fire up Leipzig, who equalised within three minutes when Orban got in front of Nacho to score with a stooping header from a cross by David Raum.

In a final 20 minutes in which several yellow cards were handed out, Real Madrid were playing with fire and were under repeated pressure in their own box.

Goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, who had already saved the hosts in the first leg, was forced to make several crucial saves.

Leipzig almost took the game to extra time when Dani Olmo saw his shot ricochet off the bar in added time.

Ultimately, Real did just enough to qualify for yet another quarter-final.

“Obviously we know it wasn´t the best game of the season,” said Real’s captain Nacho.

“Sometimes you just have bad games and tonight was the case.

“It looks like a drama because of how we played but what really matters is we qualified for the quarters. Let that be a lesson for what’s to come.”(NAN)