The 2021-22 Champions League Final Is Set: Liverpool vs Real Madrid

Champions League 2022

Real Madrid was once again on the brink of being eliminated from the Champions League. Trailing 1-0 (5-3 on aggregate) after 90 minutes in the second leg, Real Madrid scored twice in a span of fewer than two minutes in stoppage time to send the game to extra time. Los Blancos would go on to find the net once more to give them a 6-5 aggregate lead and Manchester City would fail to respond, thus allowing Real Madrid to secure a spot in the final.

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On Wednesday, Liverpool punched their ticket to the final after beating Villarreal. A rematch from the 2018 Champions League final is set to take place on the 28th of this month. Liverpool is looking to win their seventh title, while Real Madrid is aiming for their 14th. Four years ago, it was Real Madrid that came out on top. Liverpool went on to win the title the following season. In Real Madrid’s case, this is their first final appearance since 2018.

What Does This Mean for Manchester City?

The Citizens have chased the Champions League title for well over five years. Despite all the money spent on talent to strengthen the team, Manchester City has proven time and time again that they just can’t get it done. At this point, what hurts the team more than anything is that they are now (more than ever) regarded as a team rich in finance, but without a single Champions League title. They share that reputation with Paris Saint-Germain.

Manager Pep Guardiola‘s decision to substitute Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez out of the game might have been a fatal error. While Guardiola will have to take responsibility for this collapsing loss, it’s not entirely on him. Manchester City lost the game as a team. Perhaps the biggest mistake they made was taking their foot off the gas pedal and allowing Real Madrid to come from behind with two goals in the closing minutes of regulation.

Praise for Villarreal

Villarreal made quite a statement in this tournament. Eliminating Juventus and Bayern Munich to advance to the final four tells the story. After losing the first leg against Liverpool 2-0, Villarreal was in quite the predicament as they fell into a 2-0 aggregate deficit. That predicament was briefly solved when Villarreal jumped to a 2-0 lead at the second leg’s halftime. By then, the aggregate score was tied 2-2. Liverpool would then score three unanswered goals in the second half to end Villarreal’s magical run.

Maybe Villarreal made the same mistake as Manchester City; taking their foot off the gas pedal. Liverpool always spots a weakness, and then they take advantage. Liverpool turned a 2-2 aggregate tie in a span of five minutes. Less than ten minutes later, they added a third.

Unfortunately, Villarreal will not be competing in next season’s tournament due to their finishing position in this season’s LaLiga. Regardless, they deserve respect for a brilliant run in this season’s tournament.

The Strength and Brilliance of Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s most powerful and important quality has been the team’s resiliency. Just when it looks like it’s all said and done and they have no chance, the club finds a way to get it done. Aside from resiliency, it’s a winning mentality and brilliant team chemistry that has been the reason for Real Madrid’s magical comebacks.

Carlo Ancelotti‘s managing of the team is a positive difference-maker, as well. Last week, after Real Madrid won their 35th LaLiga title, Ancelotti became the first manager in history to win a title in Europe’s top-five leagues; The English Premier League, French Ligue 1, Spanish LaLiga, Italian Serie A, and German Bundesliga. Furthermore, he’s the first manager to reach the Champions League final five times.

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