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Champions League: Real Madrid stumble through, but see off Leipzig to reach quarters

Vinícius Jr.’s first-half goal was enough for Real Madrid to see off RB Leipzig 1-1 on aggregate and book their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. It was a far from convincing performance from the 14-time winners, who were held at bay for much of the game by a determined Leipzig side.

The absence of a natural striker continued to haunt Carlo Ancelotti’s men, with Karim Benzema still sidelined. Early on, Vinícius almost put the hosts ahead with a looping header, but the Brazilian’s effort went just over. The first half was a frustrating affair for Real Madrid, with Leipzig’s dangerman Loïs Openda squandering several chances.

The home side finally broke the deadlock two minutes into the second half thanks to a moment of brilliance from Vinícius. The young forward latched onto a through ball from Jude Bellingham and slotted the ball past Leipzig goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi. However, their joy was short-lived as Willi Orbán equalized with a powerful header just minutes later.

Despite Leipzig’s late push, Real Madrid managed to hold on and secure their passage to the next round. While their 10-game unbeaten streak remains intact, the performance will raise concerns about their ability to compete with the best of Europe without a focal point in attack.

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