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UEFA Youth League: Rodrigo Ribeiro sends Sporting Lisbon through

[Credit: Carlos Rodrigues

Rodrigo Ribeiro scored the only goal of the game as Sporting Lisbon knocked Liverpool out of the UEFA Youth League at the quarter-finals stage.

The Portuguese side reached the semi-finals for the first time in their history courtesy of Ribeiro’s sixth goal of the competition in the second half.

Sporting Lisbon reached the quarter-finals by thrashing Ajax 5-1 in the last 16 after an unbeaten group stage run, finishing top of Group D.

Liverpool take on Portuguese opposition for the second successive round after they beat FC Porto on penalties in the last 16. The Reds also topped their group to progress to the knockouts.

The first half was a closely fought affair with both teams defending strong and limiting space for each other. Reds starlet Ben Doak was withdrawn under concussion protocols after just seven minutes following a nasty clash of heads.

The best chance of the half fell for the home side in the 43rd minute when Afonso Moreira got a shot away from a tight angle in the box which forced a good save from Harvey Davies.

Liverpool went close to an opener in the 60th minute when Melkamu Frauendorf found space inside the box in a similar area to Moreira in the first half but his shot was well saved.

Sporting took the lead five minutes later when Rodrigo Ribeiro was played in behind from a long ball forward by David Monteiro. The striker touched the ball down and fired it in at the near post.

Despite late pressure, the Reds couldn’t grab an equaliser and were eliminated in the quarter-finals for the second year in a row.

The victory means Sporting Lisbon will face the winner of AZ Alkmaar and Real Madrid in the semi-finals in Nyon, Switzerland at the end of April.

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