Real Madrid out to set record winning run, Napoli aiming to avoid third Milan defeat – the Champions League in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk April 18, 2023

Frank Lampard's start to life back at Chelsea has not gone according to plan.

The Blues have lost all three of their games under Lampard, who was appointed on an interim basis earlier in April following Graham Potter's dismissal.

That run included a 2-0 defeat at Real Madrid in the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final tie, with Los Blancos heading to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday with a club record in their sights.

Tuesday's other game sees Serie A leaders Napoli go up against Milan, who lead 1-0 from the first leg of that all-Italian encounter.

With the help of Opta numbers, Stats Perform previews the first two Champions League matches of the week.

 

Chelsea v Real Madrid: Los Blancos hunting sixth straight knockout win

Madrid have won their last five Champions League knockout matches, their joint-longest winning run in knockout games in the competition.

All five wins have come against English teams, with only Barcelona (seven in a row between 2014 and 2016) having a longer winning run against English clubs.

Karim Benzema scored Madrid's opener in last week's 2-0 win at Santiago Bernabeu. The striker's last 11 Champions League goals have come against English teams, while his last 14 have all been in the knockout stages of the competition, the longest such run by a player in Champions League history. Benzema has 14 goals and two assists for Madrid in his last nine appearances in the knockout stages.

Madrid's second was teed up by Vinicius Junior, who has been involved in 20 goals in his last 20 Champions League appearances, scoring 10 goals and assisting 10 goals in this time. Since the start of last season, the Brazil winger is the only player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in the competition.

Madrid have progressed from 18 of their 19 Champions League ties after winning the first leg by two or more goals, failing only in 2003-04 against Monaco in the quarter-finals.

Chelsea do have some hope, however. They have progressed from five of their last seven Champions League ties when losing the first leg away from home, and done so in each of the last two when losing by two clear goals (vs Napoli in 2011-12 and Paris Saint-Germain in 2013-14).

The Blues have lost two of their last three European matches against Madrid (W1), both in Champions League quarter-finals across the last two campaigns. They had not lost any of their first five against them before this (W3 D2).

 

Napoli v Milan: Serie A leaders out to avoid third Rossoneri reverse

Napoli have already lost twice to Milan in April, losing 4-0 in Serie A at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium and 1-0 at San Siro in the first leg of this tie. The last side to beat them three times in one season was Lazio in the 1994-95 campaign.

The omens are good for Milan, who have won their last three away matches against Napoli, all in Serie A, their joint longest away winning run against them. 

Milan have not reached the Champions League semi-finals since the 2006-07 season, when they went on to win the competition. They have only been eliminated twice after winning the first leg of a knockout tie – in 2003-04 v Deportivo de La Coruna in the quarter-final (4-1 first leg, 0-4 second leg) and 2012-13 v Barcelona in the last 16 (2-0 first leg, 0-4 second leg).

Napoli are, however, unbeaten in their last 12 home Champions League matches (W9 D3) since a 4-2 defeat to Manchester City in November 2017. They have won their four home games this season, scoring at least three goals in each victory.

That being said, Napoli have been eliminated from their last 10 European knockout ties after losing the first leg, last progressing to the next round after suffering a first-leg deficit in the 1988-89 UEFA Cup quarter-final against Juventus.

Olivier Giroud could be crucial for Milan. The veteran campaigner has been directly involved in six goals in nine appearances in the Champions League this season (four goals and two assists) – the most by a Milan player in a single campaign since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 2011-12 campaign (nine – five goals and four assists).

Related items

  • James after reaching 40,000 NBA points: 'Records are always meant to be broken' James after reaching 40,000 NBA points: 'Records are always meant to be broken'

    LeBron James cannot discount another player going on to reach 40,000 NBA points, as he celebrated reaching the milestone despite a Los Angeles Lakers loss.

    The Lakers lost 124-114 to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, though with a haul of 26 points, James reached 40,017 points.

    When James reached nine points, he was presented with the game ball and received an ovation from the crowd at the Crypto.com arena.

    Coincidentally, James surpassed the 40,000 mark on the 62nd anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks.

    While teammate Anthony Davis believes no other player will come close to matching James' points haul, James himself warned records are there to be broken, even though no other active player has yet reached 30,000 career points.

    "Obviously we have a lot of great guys in our league that can score the ball, and if they were to stay healthy and they would play a long time, then they can eclipse it," James said.

    "And then, records are always meant to be broken. You can never say never for any record. At one point we said that Big O's [Oscar Robertson's] triple-double record would never be broken and Russ [Westbrook] did it, and now looks like Joker [Nikola Jokic] and Luka [Doncic], they're doing it every night.

    "I feel like I'm still that threat out on the floor and I am still able to do the things that I was doing 10 years ago. And some things I was doing 20 years ago, which is weird to say."

    Davis did joke, though, that James' record-setting games usually come in defeats for the Lakers.

    "I was just telling him in the locker room he might have to stop breaking records because we always lose any time he breaks a record," Davis said. "And he said the same thing."

    Indeed, that streak is quite something. James was on the losing side when he reached his 30,000th and 35,000th career points. When he became the all-time leading NBA points scorer last year, the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    "For me, the main thing is always the main thing, and that's the win," James said.

    "I hated that it had to happen in the defeat, especially versus the team that plays extremely well. We played some good basketball tonight, but weren't able to close it out. So, bittersweet but enjoyed every moment tonight on the floor."

  • Jude Bellingham sent off after final whistle as Real Madrid draw with Valencia Jude Bellingham sent off after final whistle as Real Madrid draw with Valencia

    Jude Bellingham was sent off after the final whistle after being denied a late winner in Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw at Valencia.

    The England midfielder, making his return from injury, thought he had headed home a cross deep into stoppage time at the Mestalla but the referee had already blown for full time.

    Real players surrounded the official in a chaotic aftermath and Bellingham was shown the red card before the players left the field.

    It made for a dramatic ending to a compelling LaLiga clash in which the leaders had fought back from 2-0 down with two Vinicius Junior goals.

    Valencia had stunned Carlo Ancelotti’s side by pouncing on two mistakes to score twice in quick succession through Hugo Duro and Roman Yaremchuk.

    The result meant Real missed the chance to move nine points clear at the top and second-placed Girona will have the chance to cut the gap when they play Mallorca on Sunday.

    It was an emotional night for Valencia, who were returning to action for the first time since a deadly fire in their city, with tributes paid to victims and other people affected before kick-off.

    The game got off to a slow start as the visitors struggled to create any meaningful opportunities despite dominating possession.

    It was not until the 23rd minute that Real caused any alarm in the Valencia box as Vinicius, returning to a ground where he was racially abused last season, went down under a challenge from Dimitri Foulquier. No penalty was given.

    Valencia took the lead against the run of play in the 27th minute after Real lost possession.

    There was an element of fortune about it as Foulquier crossed to the far post and Fran Perez miskicked his attempt to clip back across goal. Duro, who had not been expecting the ball, reacted quickly to head home.

    Dani Carvajal then compounded the setback moments later with an underhit backpass that Yaremchuk seized upon to round Andriy Lunin and slot in.

    Real recovered and Bellingham, back in the side after three weeks out, created a chance for Federico Valverde but Giorgi Mamardashvili was equal to his effort.

    The pressure paid off in first-half stoppage time as a Carvajal cross took deflections off a defender and Mamardashvili and found its way to Vinicius for a simple tap-in.

    Real upped the tempo after the break and Vinicius lashed a shot wide before Bellingham, who has enjoyed a stunning first season at the Spanish giants, wrong-footed the defence and forced Mamardashvili to save with his legs.

    Diego Lopez brought a good save from Lunin at the other end but further Real pressure paid off when Vinicius rose to head in a Brahim Diaz cross.

    There was a long delay late on after Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby suffered a serious-looking injury and was carried off on a stretcher.

    Real had a scare in stoppage time when Valencia were awarded a penalty for a foul on Duro by Nacho but the decision was overturned by VAR.

    It was not the end of the drama but Bellingham’s effort came too late to count.

  • Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points as he became the player with the most wins in the Milwaukee Bucks' history on Friday, with the Chicago Bulls beaten 113-97 at United Center.

    For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

    Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

    The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

    "Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like the last couple of games, we're doing that and that's why our defense has taken a step," Antetokounmpo said after the win. 

    "Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

    For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

    "We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

    "We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

    Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

    They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.