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Man City players celebrate a goal by Erling Haaland. Alamy Stock Photo

Real Madrid sweat for Champions League quarter-final spot as Man City progress with ease

Man City defeated FC Copenhagen while Real Madrid held on for victory against RB Leipzig.

HOLDERS MANCHESTER CITY cruised into a seventh consecutive Champions League quarter-final as a much-changed side still put FC Copenhagen to the sword 3-1 on Wednesday to progress 6-2 on aggregate.

Goals from Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez killed the tie as a contest inside 10 minutes before Erling Haaland drilled in his 29th goal of the season.

Mohamed Elyounoussi briefly reduced the Danish champions deficit to 2-1 on the night, but Copenhagen were outclassed over two legs as the European champions remain on course for another treble.

Akanji made a sweet connection with Alvarez’s outswinging corner but was given far too much room in the centre of the box to find the top corner.

Worse was to come for the visitors as former Liverpool goalkeeper Kamil Grabara let a simple shot from Alvarez slip through his grasp.

Former Southampton and Celtic winger Elyounoussi drove forward with purpose and exchanged a slick one-two with Orri Oskarsson before firing into the far corner for Copenhagen.

Haaland had been having a quiet night until he sprang into action in first-half stoppage time. The Norwegian was picked out by Rodri before chopping onto his favoured left foot and firing in at Grabara’s near post.

Real Madrid scraped through into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 1-1 second-leg draw against RB Leipzig on Wednesday, progressing 2-1 on aggregate.

The record 14-time champions were far below their best but did just enough over the two legs of the last-16 clash to edge out their Bundesliga opponents.

Despite Leipzig shading the game, Vinicius Junior opened the scoring in the 65th minute after being set up well by Jude Bellingham. Willi Orban quickly levelled for the visitors but they could not find a second goal to force extra-time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Vinicius’ frustration quickly turned to joy though when Bellingham burst forward, showing superb timing to release the forward, who fired into the top corner at the end of a smart counter-attack.

Toni Kroos started the break and despite being outnumbered, Bellingham and Vinicius showed their decisive quality to send the hosts ahead.

Madrid’s delight was short-lived though, with Orban levelling just three minutes later. The Hungarian defender’s excellent diving header from David Raum’s cross set up a gripping denouement.

Madrid striker Joselu, on as a substitute, sent a tame effort at Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi before Dani Olmo hit the woodwork. The former Barcelona youth player’s lob dropped on to the crossbar and out of play as thousands of Madrid fans held their breath.

Europe’s most crowned side were taken to the wire on a nervy night by Marco Rose’s side, only founded in 2009, but steeled themselves and held on to progress.

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