Champions League semi-final second leg, Estadio de la Ceramica – Villarreal CF 2 (Dia 3’, Coquelin 40’) Liverpool 3 (Fabinho 61’, Diaz 67’, Mane 74’) Liverpool win 5-2 on aggregate.
By Eagle Eye News24
Senegalese born attacker Sadio Mane grabbed the winner as Liverpool hit back from two goals down to book their place in the 2022 Champions League final following a rollercoaster 3-2 victory at 10-man Villarreal.
The Senegalese forward notched his 21st goal of the season on 74 minutes to cap a remarkable turnaround after Unai Emery’s men had threatened a stunning comeback from the 2-0 first-leg defeat at Anfield.
The home team’s belief was ignited within three minutes of kick off as Boulaye Dia tucked in his first ever Champions League goal from close range after Etienne Capoue fired a left-wing cross back into his path.
Liverpool’s defence was continually opened up in a disjointed first 45 and Villarreal deservedly levelled the tie four minutes before the interval when former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin powered a superb header into the top corner.
The Merseysiders desperately needed to steady the ship and moved 3-2 up on aggregate when they pulled one back through Fabinho just past the hour.
Substitute Luis Diaz then made it 2-2 on the night with a fine header before Mane completed a 5-2 triumph on aggregate with the 139th goal of Liverpool’s season – their highest ever in a single campaign.
Villarreal’s misery was compounded when Capoue was sent off for a second bookable offence and Liverpool eased through the final five minutes to book a final showdown with either Manchester City or Real Madrid in Paris on May 28.
Liverpool’s quadruple quest now turns back to the Premier League title race on Saturday night when they entertain Tottenham. Villarreal host third-placed Sevilla in the Spanish La Liga on Sunday.