Sports Desk, Feb 21 (EFE).- Real Madrid rallied from an early deficit to hand host Liverpool a humiliating 5-2 defeat and Napoli went on the road to defeat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 Tuesday in the first legs of their respective Champions League round-of-16 ties.
Liverpool stormed in front with a pair of goals in the first 15 minutes at Anfield Stadium, but Real Madrid drew level before halftime on a couple of scores by Vinicius Junior and then completely dominated the contest after the intermission.
The Reds opened the scoring with a slick back-heeled goal by Darwin Nuñez in the fourth minute before Mohamed Salah doubled the Reds’ lead 10 minutes later when he took advantage of a blunder by visiting keeper Thibaut Courtois and slotted the ball home.
But the rest of the contest belonged to Real Madrid, who began their comeback with a curling strike by Vinicius Junior into the far corner of the goal in the 21st minute.
Fortune then smiled on the visitors 15 minutes later, when an attempted clear by Liverpool goalie Alisson shockingly ricocheted off of Vinicius’ leg, soared into the air and landed inside the goal.
After the break, Real Madrid got their nose in front for the first time when Karim Benzema sent a free kick into the area and found an unmarked Eder Militao, who headed the ball past Alisson in the 47th minute.
More luck came the Blancos’ way in the 55th minute when a shot by Benzema that was headed toward the far post bounced off of defender Joe Gomez and into the middle of the net past a wrong-footed Alisson.
Benzema then capped off the 5-2 win with a goal that was as stylish as his first was fortunate, dribbling past an oncoming Alisson at the top of the area and then coolly finding the left side of the goal as three defenders looked on helplessly.
In other Champions League action Tuesday night, Napoli scored a pair of goals on either side of halftime to take a commanding lead in their round-of-16 tie against Eintracht.
The Bundesliga side were the aggressors in the first few minutes at Waldstadion, with Jesper Lindstrom applying pressure down the right side and forcing Napoli net minder Alex Meret into action.
But after weathering that early storm, Napoli took full control of the match and then went a man up when Randal Kolo Muani was sent off for a red card in the 58th minute.
Hirving Lozano nearly scored for the Serie A leaders when he hit the post and then Khvicha Kvaratskhelia squandered a penalty chance after a foul had been committed against Victor Osimhen.
But Napoli finally opened the scoring in the 40th minute when a perfectly placed cross by Lozano found Osimhen for a close-range goal.
After the intermission, Napoli’s domination only increased.
Eintracht goalie Kevin Trapp made a remarkable save in a one-on-one situation to keep his side within one, but Napoli got a second goal in the 65th minute after Kolo Muani was sent off for a challenge on Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
On that strike, Giovanni Di Lorenzo found the left side of the goal off a heeled pass by Kvaratskhelia.
The second leg of these two round-of-16 ties will be played on March 15, with Real Madrid and Napoli serving as hosts. EFE