Manchester City and Inter Milan took solid strides towards making the Champions League semifinal after comfortable wins over Bayern Munich and Benfica respectively in their first leg matches.

In tennis, world No 1 Novak Djokovic made a winning return to the tour as he aims to win a third Monte Carlo Masters title.

Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 12 April, 2023:

Man City, Inter win first leg

Erling Haaland scored his 45th goal of the season as Manchester City took a commanding 3-0 lead over Bayern Munich from their Champions League quarter-final, first leg on Tuesday.

Rodri and Bernardo Silva were also on target for the English champions, who took a giant stride towards finally conquering Europe for the first time.

Victory was sweet for City boss Pep Guardiola as he came up against his former club for the first time since leaving Bayern for Manchester in 2016, but he warned that the job is not yet done.

“I’ve been three years there and I know in Europe this team is special. To knockout these type of teams you have to make two good games not just one,” said Guardiola.

“I know exactly what we have to do there, They are capable to score one, two, three goals. We have to do our game with huge personality.”

Inter beat Benfica

Inter Milan put one foot into the Champions League semi-finals with a comfortable 2-0 win at Benfica on Tuesday, with Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku netting in Lisbon.

The Italians, three-time winners, took a commanding quarter-final first leg lead at the Estadio da Luz, inflicting Benfica’s first defeat in the competition.

After an even first half, Barella headed home from Alessandro Bastoni’s cross and substitute Romelu Lukaku netted the second from the penalty spot late on.

Roger Schmidt’s Benfica, aiming to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1990, were not able to put a glove on the visitors, who controlled the pace of the game.

Despite Inter’s poor form, they conjured a patient, professional display when they needed it most.

Having scored two goals in their previous five games across all competitions, they managed the same tally in Lisbon with clinical finishing.

“It’s been one of our best games this season,” Inter midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan told British broadcaster BT Sport.

“We were dominating all over the pitch. We were doubling up and were everywhere, helping each other and we got (rewarded) for it. We’ve done a great job.”

Djokovic returns with a win

Novak Djokovic made a winning return to competition in the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday but was made to work by his 198th-ranked Russian opponent as two-time defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced when his rival retired injured.

Djokovic is back on court after failing to get a waiver to enter the United States for last month’s Indian Wells tournament and Miami Open due to his anti-Covid vaccination stance.

The world number one was in danger of losing the opening set against Russian qualifier Ivan Gakhov before easing through 7-6 (5), 6-2 in 1hr 47min.

“I had never seen him play before today, and it’s always difficult to face an opponent you don’t know,” said the Serbian, a winner on clay in Monte Carlo in 2013 and 2015.

Favourite for a third crown in the Principality in the absence of Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, Djokovic will face 21st-ranked Lorenzo Musetti for a place in the quarterfinals.

Tsitsipas advanced to the third round after Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi retired with a left wrist issue after just 22 minutes, trailing the Greek 4-1 in the first set.

World number three Tsitsipas next meets either Chilean Nicolas Jarry, ranked 58, or Australian Alexei Popyrin, 94th, for a place in the quarter-finals.

Earlier Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev both survived dropping a set, but last year’s runner-up Alejandro Davidovich Fokina fell at the first hurdle.

Fifth-seeded Rublev, recipient of a first-round bye, rallied to beat Spaniard Jaume Munar 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in their second-round tie.

German Zverev made a hesitant start to his clay-court season before seeing off Kazakh Alexander Bublik 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round.

Results from the ATP Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday (x denotes seeding; players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):

First round

Luca Nardi (ITA) bt Valentin Vacherot (MON) 7-5, 7-5

Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x16) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 (7/1), 6-0

Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) bt Ugo Humbert (FRA) 3-6, 7-5, 7-5

Alexander Zverev (GER x13) bt Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4

Karen Khachanov ( x9) bt Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 6-2, 6-2

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) bt Ben Shelton (USA) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3

Jiri Lehecka (CZE) bt Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-1, 7-5

Second round

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Ivan Gakhov 7-6 (7/5), 6-2

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x2) bt Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 4-1 retired

Andrey Rublev ( x5) bt Jaume Munar (ESP) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2

Stokes calls for fast pitches for Ashes

England captain Ben Stokes has warned Australia that he has asked for “fast, flat wickets” to take the attack to the Ashes holders later this year.

Stokes is hoping to lead England to their first Test series victory over Australia since 2015 and he believes pitch conditions will be crucial.

The all-rounder wants grounds-staff at Edgbaston, Lord’s, Old Trafford, Headingley and The Oval – the five venues staging Ashes Tests – to produce the kind of quick pitches that will allow England to use the aggressive game-plan he has deployed with great success since taking over as captain.

“We’ve been very clear with the ground-staff around England about what type of wickets we want and they’ve been very responsive to us, which is good,” Stokes said on Sky Sports on Tuesday.

“We want fast, flat wickets. We want to go out there and score quickly. I’m smiling because I’m looking forward to it.

“There’s no point changing just because we’re coming into an Ashes series. Every player knows the Ashes is where everything ramps up a bit – pressure, exposure, all kinds of stuff – but we’ll just keep sticking to what we do.”

Stokes has spoken frequently of his willingness to lose in pursuit of victory.

He pushed that philosophy to the brink against New Zealand in February when England lost the series decider in Wellington by one run having declared their first innings and enforced the follow-on.

A draw would have settled the series in England’s favour but Stokes said he would not settle for stalemate, even with the Ashes on the line.

With text inputs from AFP

Updated through the day