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Rodrygo lost his hat-trick bet in City comeback win

Real Madrid hero Rodrygo has revealed he lost a bet with his father as he believed he would score three goals against Manchester City. (Author: Gardener)

CityAlejandro Moreno explains how Real Madrid made the unthinkable comeback against Manchester City in the Champions League semifinals. Alejandro Moreno explains how Real Madrid made the unthinkable comeback against Manchester City in the Champions League semifinals. Real Madrid hero Rodrygo has revealed he lost a bet with his father as he believed he would score a hat-trick against Manchester City in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg. With Real 1-0 down and Real 5-3 on aggregate in the 90th minute of the game at the Bernabeu, second-half substitute Rodrygo scored twice in two minutes to give Madrid a wonderful comeback and win the game Extra time. - Ogden: Magic Real Madrid do it again - Dawson: City stunned by Rodrygo's double Karim Benzema scored an extra-time penalty for a 3-1 win that night and a 6-5 aggregate win to set Liverpool up in the final on May 28 in Paris. Rodrygo celebrated but joked it wasn't a perfect night for him. "I bet my father that I would score three goals and well I only scored two," he said. When asked if he meant his real dad, Eric Goes, or if he was referring to Madrid teammate Luka Modric, whom he jokingly calls 'dad', Rodrygo said: 'My real dad.' It wasn't the first time in this one Season that Madrid made a comeback in the competition. "Anything can happen with this jersey, we'll fight to the end," said Rodrygo. "Coming into the game and changing the game, scoring two goals. I'm happy. It was another magical night at the Bernabeu, as always. The crowd always helps us in some inexplicable way." Rodrygo has scored five goals and assisted two more in ten Champions League games for Madrid this season, four of them as a regular. He knows he's on the right track to make it into Tite's Brazil World Cup squad. I'm working for this [World Cup]," he said. “I'm very happy with the way things are going. At Real Madrid, the demands are high. The World Cup is coming up and I know I can help the national team.

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What excites us about the 2022 Champions League final

Benzema vs Van Dijk, Modric vs Thiago... Ancelotti's raised eyebrows - what we're looking forward to at the 2022 Champions League final (Author: Gardener)

2022After two nights of exciting Champions League semi-finals, we know that Liverpool will face Real Madrid in the 2022 final in Paris on May 28th. It's a replay of the 2018 final (Mohamed Salah's shoulder, Loris Karius' blunder, Gareth Bale's overhead kick and so on). das) and a delicious finale after a gripping few months of elite European competition. James Horncastle: I wouldn't be surprised if this was the start of a series of finals between Liverpool and Real Madrid. Obviously, Mohamed Salah already sees this as a chance to settle a score dating back to 2018, but factor in Jurgen Klopp's contract extension and the likelihood of Kylian Mbappe making Real Madrid a more explainable force than the mystical, almost paranormal they are today, And we should maybe prepare for more. Nick Miller: Luka Modric vs Thiago. It feels like this is going to be a more cerebral version of those skill battles they used to do at Soccer AM. But instead of one youngster making keepy-uppies and rainbow flicks, these two will be vying to see who can make the most delicious pass that will evoke a suspicious sound of glee from that spectator. Dermot Corrigan: Figuring out how Real Madrid got themselves into another seemingly impossible situation, and then finding an even more ridiculous way to escape and complete the boldest Champions League win ever. Mark Carey: The fight between Virgil van Dijk and Karim Benzema. Even just looking at this season's performances, it feels like an unstoppable force is meeting an immovable object, and playing it out in European football's highest-profile game is just the perfect way to end the season. Benzema tries to outsmart Van Dijk. Salah isolates a Real centre-back. Thiago and Modric make a pass-off. Endless reps of Bale's overhead kick. Michael Cox: A final between an English club and a Spanish club played in the French capital is geographically satisfying; an ideal neutral place. It hasn't worked out so perfectly since the last time Paris hosted Arsenal and Barcelona in 2006 - the original Saint Petersburg venue wouldn't have been so convenient. Stuart James: Not two English teams playing in the final is something to look forward to – and to put it bluntly, against Manchester City it's absolutely nothing. A Real Madrid team that doesn't know when they're beaten and the best Liverpool side in living memory (yes, I'm old enough to remember all those damn Hitachi-sponsored shirts at school) should offer that and more.

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How the football world reacted to Real Madrid's extraordinary Champions League semi-final win

"We have scores to settle," Liverpool star Mo Salah tweeted after Real Madrid made an exceptionally late comeback against Manchester City to meet the Reds in the Champions League final on May 28. (Author: Gardener)

Real Madrid's'God must come and explain': This is how the football world reacted to Real Madrid's exceptional Champions League semi-final win Karim Benzema scored the decisive goal in Real Madrid's Champions League semi-finals against Manchester City Salah tweeted after Real Madrid scored an exceptionally late comeback against Manchester City to face the Reds in the Champions League final on May 28. Real Madrid eventually won 3-1 to win their 13th European Cup. Now the Reds and Los Blancos meet again in Paris - after the final was moved from St Petersburg following Russia's invasion of Ukraine - as the clock ticked down to 90 minutes on Wednesday. Then two goals – one in the 90th minute and one in stoppage time – from substitute Rodrygo left the points total and dragged the game into overtime. Liverpool and Real Madrid will face off in a replay of the 2018 final where Mo Salah was injured in a game with Sergio Ramos. Fueled by the rough atmosphere that had been ignited around the Bernabéu, Real's attack continued and resulted in a penalty in the 95th minute. Like the fans in the stadium, the reaction in the Spanish newspapers was overwhelming. "God must come and explain it," declared the Spanish newspaper MARCA. "Real Madrid come from another planet," read the AS front page. Mundo Deportivo, a Barcelona-based newspaper traditionally more associated with Real's great rivals Barça, ran the headline "Groundhog Day" in reference to the Bernabéu's remarkable run of Los Merengues knockout comebacks . round of the Champions League. In the quarter-finals, Benzema defeated Paris Saint-Germain with a hat-trick in the second half of the second leg to equalize from a 2-0 deficit on aggregate. In the semi-final against Chelsea, a late Rodrygo goal forced the tie into extra time before Benzema scored the decisive goal in the 96th minute. "I can't say we're used to that kind of life, but what happened tonight happened against Chelsea and also against Paris," Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said, according to the BBC. "If you have to say why, it's the history of this club that helps us keep going when it seems we're gone. "The game was almost over and we managed to find the last energy, that we had. When we equalized we had a psychological advantage in extra time. "It was 'another crazy night,'" Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde said, according to the BBC. "When City scored, it felt like everything was falling apart -- all the effort and fighting each round felt lost. "But the fans have been a huge help for us to keep fighting until the end," he said. And true to the chants that Real fans chanted around the Bernabéu - "hasta el final, vamos Real" ("Until the end, let's go Real") and "sí, se puede" ("Yes, we can") – - Madrid's side achieved another wonderful result for the ages.

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Real Madrid expect a "hard-fought" Champions League soccer final against Liverpool

Spanish LaLiga winners Real Madrid expect a "hard-fought" game when they meet soccer powerhouse Liverpool in the Premier League in the 2021-22 Champions League final, manager Carlo Ancelotti told reporters on Thursday. (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueForward Karim Benzema (L) and Real Madrid will face Liverpool and Fabinho in the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League final on May 28 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris. MAY 5 (UPI) - Spanish La Liga winners Real Madrid expect a "hard-fought" game when they meet Premier League soccer powerhouse Liverpool in the 2021-22 Champions League final, manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Thursday to reporters. Liverpool are favored to win the final which starts at 3pm. EDT May 28 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will look to lead the Reds to a seventh crown in the annual European tournament. Real Madrid own a record 13 Champions League titles. "I know Klopp very well," said Ancelotti at a press conference. "It will be a fantastic final between two teams with different characteristics. It will be a very close final." The Reds and Madrid meet for the third time in the Champions League final. Madrid won their last meeting of 2018 in Kyiv 3-1. "It's a great achievement to reach a Champions League final because it's one of the most difficult competitions of all," Reds goalie Alisson Becker told LiverpoolFC.com on Wednesday. "You play against the biggest teams in the world, but we want more now. The Reds advanced to the semi-finals with knockout round victories over Inter Milan and Benfica. They reached the final by beating Villarreal 5-2 in the Total points, including 2-0 and 3-2 victories Madrid lost Lionel Messi and PSG in their first knockout round match Madrid then defeated defending champions Chelsea in the quarter-finals and Manchester City in the semi-finals to secure a ticket to Saint -Denis to secure Madrid striker Karim Benzema leads the tournament with 15 goals, Liverpool striker Mohamed Saleh has scored eight goals in 12 games, fourth most of the tournament. Madrid striker Vinicius Jr. has six assists with midfielder Leroy Sane tied by Bayern Munich, second-highest in the tournament The Reds host Tottenham Hotspur in a Premier League game on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. EDT at Anfield in Liverpool, England, a point behind behind first-placed Manchester City in the league standings. Madrid meets Atletico Madrid id in La Liga play at 3pm. EDT Sunday at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid. Midfielder Rodrygo, who scored twice in Real Madrid's comeback win over Manchester City in the semi-finals, said his side will use the league game to prepare for the Reds. "It was my best version of myself in the Champions League and I hope to score many more times," Rodrygo told RealMadrid.com on Wednesday. We have two more LaLiga games to prepare for the final." Real Madrid have lost just three times in 16 Champions League finals. The Reds are playing their tenth title game. They also lost three of their previous Champions League Finals "We can't wait to play the final," Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made the best 52 saves of the tournament, told the team's website. "If Madrid make it to the final, we'll go there to win it." Real Madrid have beaten Liverpool in three of their last four meetings. The teams played in a goalless draw in their last encounter on April 14, 2021 in the Champions League. MAY 5 (UPI) -- Following Pope Francis' announcement of minor knee surgery The 85-year-old pope was seen in a wheelchair in public for the first time on Thursday, May 5 (UPI) -- The WHO said on Thursday that in About 15 million people have died worldwide in the last two years as a result of COVID-19 and its impact on healthcare systems, more than double the current nt death toll of 6 million Cats don't roam far from home When Let Outside, Study Finds Ever wondered where your cat wanders to when you let him outside?New research suggests your cat's h most likely staying close to home. Table tennis player breaks world record with 117 opponents in a rally May 5 (UPI) - The founder of a table tennis club in Britain unofficially broke a Guinness World Record when he faced 117 consecutive opponents in a single rally. London-NYC flight turns around after finding pilot's final performance test missing May 5 (UPI) - A Virgin Atlantic flight from London to New York City was forced to turn around mid-flight this week after it was revealed that one of the pilots was missing a final evaluation required by the airline. MAY 5 (UPI) - President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration for New Mexico due to a wildfire that has been burning in the northern part of the state for weeks.

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Real Madrid's latest wonder is a story of 88 seconds and an Ancelotti video

The most ridiculous resurrection of all Madrid carried into the Champions League final after the manager's pre-game feat (Author: Gardener)

Real Madrid'sThings happened that no one can imagine,” said Carlo Ancelotti, but you may have heard that before. You may have seen something similar before: last time, for starters. And the time before that. Real Madrid players certainly had that this morning. At the end of another night so ridiculous that Marcelo, in the midst of madness while the game was still going on and the tie hadn't been won yet, grabbed his manager and actually started laughing, Ancelotti admitted showing the team a video had that showed Madrid's Eight-Eight! And that's just this season. With 39 seconds left and Real Madrid had to score two goals or they were eliminated, stopped at the gates of the final and their luck finally ran out. Eighty-eight seconds later they had made it, the collective madness taking everyone away. Somehow they had forced the extension; soon they had the victor they hitherto knew they would. It had shown 89:20 RMA 0-1 MCI (3-5). Check again and it showed: 94.13 RMA 3 - 1 MCI (6-5). And it had taken a few seconds to update the score. That's a word for it, yes. And one word was all Thibaut Courtois had, or as he put it: "Madrid," he replied when asked if he could explain. Ancelotti shrugged and smiled. "The size of this club," he said. Kroos called the team a "joke". Rodrygo said, "We were dead ... and then what happened happened." What happened was the most ridiculous resurrection of all: even more incredible, the edges finer, the race against the clock more frantic, like they were just fast-forwarding this video look back again, everything rushed by. And when it came, there was something about that idea: the impact of that, even the beginnings, affected not just what had happened on Wednesday, but what had happened on those other nights. The culmination of the most incredible run to a European Cup final ever, layer by layer. "One day my heart will stop," said Emilio Butragueño afterwards. Marca's front demanded that God come down from heaven to explain this. Faced with the idea, Ancelotti conceded, "Something strange happened." Something familiar, too. Groundhog Day, the neverending story. And now they had a crush on Manchester City. The champions of France, Europe and England were all eliminated at the Bernabéu. They had also beaten the Italian champions. This season, Madrid's Champions League season began with an 89th-minute win over Internazionale. Shot down, but up again and now in the finals, like that. This is the club that saved the European Cup against Atlético with a 93rd-minute equaliser, that built a legend, an identity around comebacks, a history that invited play. The team that made the impossible feel inevitable and chaos embraced. But sometimes it's better for everyone else to embrace the chaos too. Don't try to understand or explain it. There will be time for analysis, to break it all down and try to make sense of it. This was a time to live it, marvel at the madness, fucking football hell. Against PSG, they had come back from a 0-1 deficit, a 2-0 aggregate win and a 3-2 win, showing a comeback and scoring two goals in a minute and three goals in a quarter of an hour. Against Chelsea they were down from 0-3 on aggregate that night, 4-3 on aggregate, down to 5-4 on aggregate with 10 minutes left. It was extraordinary that they stood at all, but that's the team to kill a hundred times. If not, know they're coming for you. It could be said that of the 12 regular-time halves against PSG, Chelsea and City, Madrid were only the better team in one – the first half in London – but they are the only ones left. In Paris, PSG fired 23 shots, Madrid three. It was 8:0 for shots on goal, but only 1:0 on the scoreboard. At Madrid, Kylian Mbappé had the ball in the net three times, being ruled out twice and the pitch had been resigned to defeat when the first whistles sounded, before David Alaba and Éder Militão plunged into a duel that included a bugle and Gianluigi's Donnarumma was a terrible mistake that ignited everything. They had fired 28 shots against Chelsea at the Bernabéu. Even at Stamford Bridge they had 20 shots, clear chances wasted by Chelsea. A mistake by Édouard Mendy had given them the third goal. In Manchester, Real Madrid faced 16 shots. They were beaten 4-3 but celebrated almost like a win considering how they had been overrun, knowing the difference could have been much bigger; Rarely can City have felt more like they lost a game they won. But then City scored at the Bernabéu. "We were so close," Pep Guardiola said, and they really were. Until the last minute, Madrid needed two. At this point, a second goal for City felt closer than a first for Madrid. A Madrid fan who decided to leave earlier heard the roar from inside as he spoke. He wasn't alone, some fans turned around and tried to get back in. Don't you know this team you support? Of course you came back, you fool. City had led from 1:32 in the first leg to 90:50 in the second. Except that it had reached the point where even believers had trouble believing. That was even beyond Madrid. That was even beyond Madrid. When Jack Grealish's shot went just wide of the post, it didn't really feel like it mattered that much. No shoe: a cleat, a measure of how good the lead was, another incredible save that kept them alive. Not only did he get there, but Phil Foden, just inches from the line, actually touched the ball, didn't. It was the 87th minute and it was a miracle, but now a bigger one was coming. "This feeling that sometimes happens in football, that happened in history when you lead but are dominated: that didn't happen to us," said the city manager. "We didn't feel like we were being besieged. Then, a minute later, they found another. They've done it many times in their history, so it could happen to us too.” When the first one walked in, 70,000 people reached out and touched faith. That could actually happen. It happens. It happens. All those other times, all those stories, made it more likely: It's something in its own right, an identity made to be lived, a story to emulate, and it's felt by both teams. "You know anything can happen here," Courtois said. There wasn't much City had obviously done wrong - although restarting quickly and handing the ball back to Madrid so they could score a second goal 88 seconds after the first was a terrible mistake - but they hadn't been able to resist. There was something mystical about it; some fate, some violence, that is, the more you fight it, the more inevitable it becomes. Or maybe it's simpler than that: things happen. "Magic doesn't start to cover it up," said Jorge Valdano. "Another crazy night," Valverde called it. "I think God looked at me and said, 'Today is your day,'" Rodrygo suggested. "Nobody, nobody thought we were going to play the final and we're in," said Ancelotti. Butragueno said: "In the directors' box, people said, it's incredible, and you say: 'Yes, but we are Real Madrid and it happened a lot.'" The players knew it: they had seen the video that it proves.

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How the footballing world reacted to Los Blancos' extraordinary semi-final win in the Champions League

"We have scores to settle," Liverpool star Mo Salah tweeted after Real Madrid made an exceptionally late comeback against Manchester City to meet the Reds in the Champions League final on May 28. (Author: Gardener)

Los Blancos'Karim Benzema scored the winning goal in Real Madrid's Champions League semifinals against Manchester City. "We still have scores to settle," Liverpool star Mo Salah tweeted after Real Madrid made an exceptionally late comeback to set up a clash with the Reds in the Champions League final against Manchester City on May 28. The last time the two sides faced each other was in Kyiv 2018, when Salah left the field in tears after being injured in a tackle by Sergio Ramos. Real Madrid eventually won 3-1 to win their 13th European Cup. Now, in Paris - after the final was moved from St Petersburg following Russia's invasion of Ukraine - the Reds and Los Blancos meet again. Real Madrid, who hadn't scored a single goal all evening, were 5-3 down on aggregate on Wednesday as the clock ticked down to 90 minutes. Then two goals – one in the 90th minute and one in stoppage time – from substitute Rodrygo left the points total and dragged the game into overtime. Fueled by the rough atmosphere that had been ignited around the Bernabéu, Real's attack continued and resulted in a penalty in the 95th minute. Karim Benzema came on, converted and propelled his side into the Champions League final. Like the fans in the stadium, the reaction in the Spanish newspapers was overwhelming. Mundo Deportivo, a Barcelona-based newspaper traditionally more associated with Real's great rivals Barça, ran the headline 'Groundhog Day' in reference to Los Merengues' remarkable run of Bernabéu comebacks in the knockout stages. -round of the Champions League. In the semi-final against Chelsea, a late Rodrygo goal forced the tie into extra time before Benzema scored the decisive goal in the 96th minute. "I can't say we're used to that kind of life, but what happened tonight happened against Chelsea and also against Paris," said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, according to the BBC. It was "another crazy night," said Real midfielder Federico Valverde, according to the BBC. "When City scored, it felt like everything was falling apart - all the effort and fighting each round felt lost. “But the fans have been a great help for us to keep fighting to the end. When the goals come, you think 'we're going to win today,'" he said. And true to the chants that Real fans sang at the Bernabéu - "hasta el final, vamos Real" ("Until the end, let's go Real") and "sí, se puede" ("Yes, we can") - Madrid's side achieved another wonderful result for the ages. Liverpool and Real Madrid will face off in a re-run of the 2018 final where Mo Salah was injured in a game with Sergio Ramos.

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Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City 'will step up' after Real Madrid shock

City missed the Champions League final after an impressive late show from the hosts. (Author: Gardener)

Pep GuardiolaPep Guardiola promised Manchester City will recover from their Champions League heartbreak at the Bernabeu. City were close to returning to the final on Wednesday night when they held a 1-0 lead - and a 5-3 aggregate advantage - over Real Madrid in a gripping semi-final second leg. But the Premier League leaders collapsed in dramatic fashion when Rodrygo scored twice after 90 minutes to send the tie into extra time. With City still reeling, Karim Benzema gave Real the first two-leg lead from the penalty spot. The Spanish giants held on to a memorable 3-1 win that night and a 6-5 aggregate win to progress to a final with Liverpool in Paris. City will now need to recover quickly from that harrowing defeat if the Premier League title race resumes at the weekend. Guardiola's side, who host Newcastle on Sunday, have no room for error as Liverpool are just a point behind them with four games remaining. The city manager said: "We need time now, a day or two, but we will get up. Real, 4-3 down from the first leg, brought City into the game early and created a number of chances, with Benzema missing twice. But City appeared to have weathered the storm and set up an all-English final against Liverpool when Riyad Mahrez put them ahead after a superb 73rd-minute counterattack. But everything changed in the 90th minute when Rodrygo pulled one back from close range with Real's first shot on target. Remarkably, he equalized with a header just moments later. Meanwhile, the Bernabeu crowd believed that Real, after showing impressive comebacks against Paris St Germain and Chelsea in the last two rounds, could do so again. The hosts had all the momentum going into extra time and it seemed inevitable that they would score again. It proved as Benzema scored his third goal of the clash after being brought down by Ruben Dias in the penalty area. Guardiola felt Real's dramatic late recovery came out of nowhere. He said: "There is a long history in sport of this type of situation where you get in at the end, 10 or 15 minutes before the end and you're absolutely dominated when the opponent creates a lot of problems. “Then they found it, and a minute later another. It was difficult with the support of their people and after the penalty made the difference.”

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Ranking Pep's worst UCL exits since he last lifted the trophy after City's shock defeat by Madrid

Pep Guardiola has endured over a decade of near misses and non-starters in the Champions League since he last lifted the trophy. Here they are... in order! (Author: Gardener)

UCLPep Guardiola's long wait to regain the Champions League must last at least another year after his Manchester City side were spectacularly knocked out of the semi-finals by Real Madrid on Wednesday. After winning the first leg 4-3 at the Etihad, another goal from Riyad Mahrez at the Bernabeu gave City a two-goal lead on aggregate and the return simmered into the final minute. But somehow City then conspired to concede two goals after 90 minutes and another in extra time to lose 3-1 and succumb to one of the Champions League's most humiliating late collapses. City's advantage was wiped out when Rodrygo scored twice in the opening two minutes of added time before a resurgent Real ended their comeback with a 95th-minute penalty from Karim Benzema - the prolific striker's 15th goal in Europe this season. Los Blancos now meet Liverpool in the 2021/22 Champions League final in Paris later this month, while Guardiola will no doubt spend the weeks in between desperately analyzing how his side managed to swallow defeat from the jaws of victory steal crazy fashion. It is now 11 long years since Guardiola last enjoyed Champions League success with his all-conquering Barcelona side in 2010-11, easily beating Manchester United in the final to lift the trophy. Guardiola's fearsome line-up controlled almost every aspect of the game from start to finish and sauntered to a 3-1 win at Wembley that saw Sir Alex Ferguson openly marvel at the majesty of his opponents afterwards. 🔵🔴 Messi masterclass in 2011 final at Wembley...#UCL | @FCBarcelona pic.twitter.com/mvLApdjcjg— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 19, 2021 No coach has suffered more eliminations in the semi-finals of the tournament over the course of his career than the Spaniard, who has been eliminated six times after reaching the last four. Here we rank all the instances where Guardiola has come up short in the UEFA elite club competition in the decade of near misses and non-starters that have elapsed since he last lifted the trophy. Guardiola took on a mass conversion job at Etihad and unfortunately the knockout stages of the Champions League seemed to come too soon in his first season in charge of Man City, who were eliminated by Monaco in the Round of 16 on away goals City came twice from behind, to win the first leg 5-3 at home, but their defensive weaknesses were exposed when their manager displayed agitated behavior on the touchlines. Indeed, the same mistakes were repeatedly exploited in the second leg, which Monaco - led by prodigy Kylian Mbappe - won 3-1 to progress on away goals, propelling Guardiola to the earliest Champions League exit of his managerial career. Just to rub salt in the wound, 2016/17 was also the first season of Pep's coaching career to end without a trophy. In the 2019-20 season, all Champions League games from the quarter-finals onwards were reduced to single-leg knockout games to minimize travel and risk during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, that didn't play into City's hands as Guardiola's side suffered a bitter 3-1 defeat by French club Lyon behind closed doors at a neutral venue in Lisbon. The game was 1-1 in the 79th minute but a couple of crucial defensive errors allowed substitute Moussa Dembele to score twice in the final 10 minutes of the game to turn things in Lyon's favour. Guardiola was subsequently criticized for his over-the-top system, particularly his decision to opt for a back three while leaving attacking players like David Silva, Bernardo Silva and Mahrez on the bench. Having left Barcelona at the end of the 2012/13 season, a burned-out Guardiola returned to the Bayern coaching bench after his sabbatical, suitably refreshed and invigorated. Guardiola took over from Jupp Heynckes, who guided Bayern to Champions League victory the previous year, but he was unable to defend the crown as Bayern were unceremoniously knocked out by Real Madrid in the semi-finals. Bayern lost 5-0 on aggregate, a disappointing result made worse by a 4-0 win at home in the second leg as the attacking German giants struggled to adapt to their new coach's patient, possession-based tactics get used to. In his second season as Bayern coach, Guardiola suffered the double humiliation of not only being eliminated in back-to-back Champions League semi-finals, but also having been well-trained by his former team. Still practicing their ex-coach's tactical blueprint, the Catalans scored three late goals to take a 3-0 lead after the first leg at the Camp Nou - a game Messi remembered best and which led to that Jerome Boateng collapsed into a heap in the build - until his second goal. Bayern then salvaged some pride by beating Allianz 3-2 in the second leg, but it wasn't enough to defeat their opponents and prevent them from reaching their first final and another trophy since Pep's side im win in 2011. Guardiola's third and final season at Bayern - a club where he won seven trophies, including three Bundesliga titles - ended similarly at European level as Bayern again suffered the annoyance of falling at the penultimate hurdle. Atletico Madrid went down 1-0 in the first leg in Spain and then edged out an ambivalent second leg, losing 2-1 to Bayern but progressing on away goals on a night when both sides missed penalties. City's late capitulation in the Spanish capital will be remembered but the real damage was done in the first leg when they scored four goals but also missed a number of other chances that could have ended the clash at the Etihad Stadium. However, Madrid somehow managed to stay in the draw and made their opponent pay in the end. While this exit will be galling for City fans, Madrid had already made impressive comebacks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in this season's knockout stages, and the air of inevitability that surrounded Carlo Ancelotti's side , was not completely dissipated even when Mahrez scored at the Bernabeu. Hailed as one of the greatest teams of all time, Barca were considered the first team to win consecutive European Cups in more than two decades, but the holders were defeated by Chelsea in the semi-finals. With a 1-0 lead in protection before the first leg, the Blues spent much of the return sitting deep while defending for their lives at the Camp Nou after John Terry was sent off late in the first half. Cheered on by the 95,000 spectators, the Catalans held a 2-1 lead as the game entered the final stages and continued to besiege the Chelsea goal in search of a crucial third that would wipe out the visitors' advantage on away goals. Spurs won the first leg at their brand new stadium via a lone goal from Son Heung-Min which ultimately proved decisive after City came back 4-3 in a thrilling game at the Etihad. All of the old weaknesses combined again to undermine City's efforts as a disappointing first-leg result and repeated inconsistencies in defense meant they were unable to progress. Even then, Guardiola's side thought they had made the most frenzied comeback in added time when Raheem Sterling's 'winner' sent the whole stadium into a frenzy in the 94th minute, only to be denied by VAR's narrowest offside decision. With their first trophy at City - the Carabao Cup - now in their pockets and the Premier League ahead, City looked well-armed to embark on a deep European run in 2017-18 only to fall to eventual finalists Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's side delivered an electrifying start to a 3-0 first-leg win amid a hostile atmosphere at Anfield, with all three goals coming within the first half-hour. An unorthodox 3-3-1-3 formation seemed to deliver results immediately as City took the lead in the opening two minutes of the second leg at the Etihad. All momentum was lost just before half-time, however, when Guardiola was shown a red card for his allegations over a controversial decision not to allow an offside goal from Leroy Sane, while he stormed onto the pitch and wagged his finger at the referees. With their head coach looking on sadly from the stands, City lost their zeal and Liverpool scored twice in the second half to earn a hefty 5-1 aggregate win over their league rivals. 🏆 Kai Havertz scored the only goal in Porto as Chelsea became European champions for the second time! 🥇#UCL | #SuperCup pic.twitter.com/eliYEbHoGI— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 9, 2021 The city that came closest to ever winning the Champions League saw Guardiola reach his first final in a decade, where he played against Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea in Porto. Eyebrows were raised when the teams were dismissed an hour before kick-off and Guardiola had named what appeared to be an extremely attacking line-up: Sterling, Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva were all in the XI, while even the presence of Ilkay Gundogan was by no means the most defensive option in the squad on match day. The winner came as Mason Mount's pass split midfield and defence, allowing Kai Havertz to sprint on goal with virtually all of City's half, shuffling the ball around the onrushing Ederson and clinching Chelsea's second European title just four months after Tuchel had been set.

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Will Liverpool or Real Madrid lift the trophy?

Gab Marcotti, Mark Ogden and Julien Laurens discuss a thrilling ending to the Champions League semi-finals and who they think will win the final. (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridThe Champions League final will be played in Paris on May 28 between Liverpool and Real Madrid - a repeat of the 2018 final - after two thrilling semi-final second legs ended in the elimination of Manchester City and Villarreal. ESPN's Gabriele Marcotti, Mark Ogden and Julien Laurens share their thoughts on the knockout stages of this year's tournament and who they think will be lifting the trophy at the Stade de France. - Champions League: results and schedule | Stats Marcotti: Logic says that Liverpool are just a better team, top to bottom, in my opinion. But after seeing Real Madrid's comebacks, I'm not sure the logic behind it. I also wouldn't underestimate the fact that Real Madrid, having already won LaLiga, have no real competitive games until May 28, while Liverpool have a Premier League race to the finish and an FA Cup final, as well as them hunt fourfold. This can work both ways: either it drains you emotionally and physically, or it keeps you fit and fit (unlike Madrid). Ogden: I have to say Liverpool. Virgil van Dijk can watch out for Karim Benzema in the final, Thiago Alcantara can take on Luka Modric to decide the game in Paris, while the forward line has Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota ahead of the attacking options by Real. It's a close thing in all those areas but I just feel like Liverpool have the edge, a little bit more momentum in their game. But while Liverpool can usually boast of their European pedigree, which gives them an X-factor in the Champions League, that doesn't count against Real. Nobody has more X-Factor in this competition than the 13-time champions and that's why they never know they're going to be beaten, so of course they can win it. But if we take away the emotion and history and judge it purely on football, Liverpool have the edge and should win a seventh European Cup. Laurens: After everything that happened to Real Madrid in that knockout phase - the magic, the immortality, the irrational, the surreal - they will win the final. Against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, they overcame everything to go all the way. Liverpool are probably a better team overall this season but they don't have paranormal powers like Carlo Ancelotti and his team. And again, Benzema, Thibaut Courtois and Vinicius Junior will carry this team. Real have won the last seven Champions League finals (1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, against Liverpool). They last lost in Paris in 1981 in the Parc des Princes against … Ogden: That can only be Benzema. Back-to-back hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea, a stunning performance (and the Panenka penalty) against Manchester City at the Etihad and an all-around streak of performances that have propelled Real Madrid to the top of the Ballon d'Or this year. Benzema has been at Real since 2009 and you don't stay that long at the biggest club in the world unless you're a world-class player. Benzema has always been in this group but because he has played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for so many years, the fame and recognition he deserves has been a long time coming. But he has proven his class this season without a doubt. As well as Benzema, Modric, Diaz, Villarreal's Arnaut Danjuma and Benfica's Darwin Nunez should all receive honorable mentions but this category is a one-horse race and Benzema wins all day, with his crucial penalty against City at the Bernabeu topping his remarkable run in the knockout rounds. Laurens: Are you really asking the question? Benzema has been on a different planet all season but especially since the round of 16 second leg against PSG. He then scored a hat-trick and another against Chelsea in the quarter-final first leg. In total he has scored 10 goals in this knockout round! He led his team by example like a boss. And even when he wasn't at his best, as in the semi-final second leg against Manchester City, he still found a way to set up a goal and score another after a penalty won. Marcotti: Come on. Take Benzema from Real Madrid and they're playing in the Europa League because they didn't make it past the group stage. I can give a shout out to Fabinho who is still criminally underrated and maybe if Kevin De Bruyne hadn't been relegated City would have come through and we could have a chat. But no, it's Benzema. But no, it's Benzema. Laurens: 100%. Abolishing the away goals rule was one of the best decisions made in recent times. You have to make an effort and play football everywhere, whether at home or away, and try to score as many goals as possible. I can guarantee you that we would have had very different games in that knockout phase with the old rule. Instead, this was probably the best we've had in the Champions League. We've scored 82 goals in 28 games so far - almost three goals a game. We've practically seen teams play on the street the way they would play at home. That's what every football fan wants, isn't it? It would be crazy to want the return of a rule that means you can go all the way to a Champions League final without actually winning a single game. At least this season. The away goals rule made sense back when you went abroad to an exotic looking stadium, with rival fans setting off fire alarms at 3am, a hostile atmosphere, vicious home fans. Back then, home advantage was the order of the day and in return, away goals made sense to spur the visiting teams on to attack. But the times have changed. Liverpool are in the final but lost to Inter Milan at home and drew 3-3 at home to Benfica. Real Madrid lost at home to Chelsea and to Sheriff Tiraspol (!). When clubs travel in the Champions League, they always travel to the same ground and stay in the same hotels. So better scrap that altogether, go with the overall score and make it more fun and easy for everyone to understand. For one thing, we wouldn't have had any controversy as to why City were only given three minutes of stoppage time and referee Daniele Orsato blew the final whistle with eight seconds left. Ogden: No, it was a bad decision and took away one of the unique elements of European football. We can argue all day whether the away goals rule encouraged teams to attack or worked the other way and made them more defensive when they had the advantage of an away goal from the first leg, but football is supposed to be about excitement and jeopardy and the away goals rule gave us all those things. Imagine if the rule still existed in the scenes as Rodrygo scored Real's second goal to level the draw overall on Wednesday, but Real won on away goals. Scoring away from home is more difficult and, in the event of a tie, a legitimate way of deciding the outcome - much fairer than a penalty shoot-out, which ultimately places all responsibility for a loss on the player who misses their penalty. I would bring it back but to make up for that any goals scored in extra time would not count as away goals as it would be unfair for an away team to have 120 minutes to score while the home team only had 90 minutes in first leg I would put an end to the idea of ​​a 'football festival' where we would combine a one-legged semi-final and final into a mini-tournament, which is reportedly being considered by UEFA. Sticking with two legs and the return of the away goals rule. The biggest comebacks are Manchester United, who scored twice in the last 60 seconds of the 1999 final against Bayern Munich to win the treble, and Liverpool, who went 0-3 to 3-3 in Istanbul in the 2005 final triumph over AC Milan returned. But if you just compare these two comebacks, maybe Liverpool had a bigger mountain to climb in 2019 when they had to come back from a 3-0 deficit from the first leg, but after an hour they were 3-0 up with Barca nowhere, and we knew we would probably get extra time. The goals came later, Real Madrid had been overplayed and just as important as the goals that were scored were the ones that weren't: think of Jack Grealish being saved twice in quick succession by Ferland Mendy on the goal line and Courtois . Laurens: Definitely not. Liverpool's 4-0 win over Barcelona at Anfield will forever be one of the greatest European comebacks of all time. This Real Madrid vs City was epic but not as big and not even as big as the one they played against PSG earlier in the season. So Liverpool vs. So Liverpool vs. Barca is better than Real Madrid vs. City for many reasons. On the one hand, because Real Madrid went into this semi-final second leg just one goal behind. Liverpool were 3-0 down after the first leg at the Camp Nou. Then the Spanish champions had all their players available except David Alaba, while the Reds had to face Lionel Messi and Barcelona without Salah and Roberto Firmino. The two goals from Rodrygo and the penalty from Benzema are good goals but nothing exceptional like Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick corner that completed Divock Origi to make it 4-0 and made the impossible possible and made the dream a reality. Finally, Liverpool's 'Remontada' was made special (and especially worthy) by Jurgen Klopp and his players winning the final against Tottenham Hotspur. Ogden: I'm there with Gab and Juls: Real's comeback against City is probably not even in the Champions League top 5. In addition to the games already mentioned by Gab, how about PSG throwing away a 4-0 first-leg lead against Barcelona to lose 5-6 on aggregate in 2017, or United's 3-2 semi-final second-leg win over Juventus in Turin in 1999? after going 2-0 down that night against one of the best teams of the decade? And let's not forget that in the 2019 semi-final second leg, Spurs were 3-0 down on aggregate with 35 minutes to go against Ajax in Amsterdam before Lucas Moura scored a hat-trick to complete an amazing comeback. Perhaps the only thing that makes Pep Guardiola and City feel a little better is knowing they haven't committed the biggest meltdown of all time in the Champions League - but it will haunt them for a long, long time.

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Will Liverpool or Real Madrid lift the trophy?

Gab Marcotti, Mark Ogden and Julien Laurens discuss a thrilling ending to the Champions League semi-finals and who they think will win the final. (Author: Gardener)

Real MadridThe Champions League final will be played in Paris on May 28 between Liverpool and Real Madrid - a repeat of the 2018 final - after two thrilling semi-final second legs ended in the elimination of Manchester City and Villarreal. ESPN's Gabriele Marcotti, Mark Ogden and Julien Laurens share their thoughts on the knockout stages of this year's tournament and who they think will be lifting the trophy at the Stade de France. - Champions League: results and schedule | Stats Marcotti: Logic says that Liverpool are just a better team, top to bottom, in my opinion. But after seeing Real Madrid's comebacks, I'm not sure the logic behind it. I also wouldn't underestimate the fact that Real Madrid, having already won LaLiga, have no real competitive games until May 28, while Liverpool have a Premier League race to the finish and an FA Cup final, as well as them hunt fourfold. This can work both ways: either it drains you emotionally and physically, or it keeps you fit and fit (unlike Madrid). Ogden: I have to say Liverpool. Virgil van Dijk can watch out for Karim Benzema in the final, Thiago Alcantara can take on Luka Modric to decide the game in Paris, while the forward line has Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota ahead of the attacking options by Real. It's a close thing in all those areas but I just feel like Liverpool have the edge, a little bit more momentum in their game. But while Liverpool can usually boast of their European pedigree, which gives them an X-factor in the Champions League, that doesn't count against Real. Nobody has more X-Factor in this competition than the 13-time champions and that's why they never know they're going to be beaten, so of course they can win it. But if we take away the emotion and history and judge it purely on football, Liverpool have the edge and should win a seventh European Cup. Laurens: After everything that happened to Real Madrid in that knockout phase - the magic, the immortality, the irrational, the surreal - they will win the final. Against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City, they overcame everything to go all the way. Liverpool are probably a better team overall this season but they don't have paranormal powers like Carlo Ancelotti and his team. And again, Benzema, Thibaut Courtois and Vinicius Junior will carry this team. Real have won the last seven Champions League finals (1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018, against Liverpool). They last lost in Paris in 1981 in the Parc des Princes against … Ogden: That can only be Benzema. Back-to-back hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea, a stunning performance (and the Panenka penalty) against Manchester City at the Etihad and an all-around streak of performances that have propelled Real Madrid to the top of the Ballon d'Or this year. Benzema has been at Real since 2009 and you don't stay that long at the biggest club in the world unless you're a world-class player. Benzema has always been in this group but because he has played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for so many years, the fame and recognition he deserves has been a long time coming. But he has proven his class this season without a doubt. As well as Benzema, Modric, Diaz, Villarreal's Arnaut Danjuma and Benfica's Darwin Nunez should all receive honorable mentions but this category is a one-horse race and Benzema wins all day, with his crucial penalty against City at the Bernabeu topping his remarkable run in the knockout rounds. Laurens: Are you really asking the question? Benzema has been on a different planet all season but especially since the round of 16 second leg against PSG. He then scored a hat-trick and another against Chelsea in the quarter-final first leg. In total he has scored 10 goals in this knockout round! He led his team by example like a boss. And even when he wasn't at his best, as in the semi-final second leg against Manchester City, he still found a way to set up a goal and score another after a penalty won. Marcotti: Come on. Take Benzema from Real Madrid and they're playing in the Europa League because they didn't make it past the group stage. I can give a shout out to Fabinho who is still criminally underrated and maybe if Kevin De Bruyne hadn't been relegated City would have come through and we could have a chat. But no, it's Benzema. But no, it's Benzema. Laurens: 100%. Abolishing the away goals rule was one of the best decisions made in recent times. You have to make an effort and play football everywhere, whether at home or away, and try to score as many goals as possible. I can guarantee you that we would have had very different games in that knockout phase with the old rule. Instead, this was probably the best we've had in the Champions League. We've scored 82 goals in 28 games so far - almost three goals a game. We've practically seen teams play on the street the way they would play at home. That's what every football fan wants, isn't it? It would be crazy to want the return of a rule that means you can go all the way to a Champions League final without actually winning a single game. At least this season. The away goals rule made sense back when you went abroad to an exotic looking stadium, with rival fans setting off fire alarms at 3am, a hostile atmosphere, vicious home fans. Back then, home advantage was the order of the day and in return, away goals made sense to spur the visiting teams on to attack. But the times have changed. Liverpool are in the final but lost to Inter Milan at home and drew 3-3 at home to Benfica. Real Madrid lost at home to Chelsea and to Sheriff Tiraspol (!). When clubs travel in the Champions League, they always travel to the same ground and stay in the same hotels. So better scrap that altogether, go with the overall score and make it more fun and easy for everyone to understand. For one thing, we wouldn't have had any controversy as to why City were only given three minutes of stoppage time and referee Daniele Orsato blew the final whistle with eight seconds left. Ogden: No, it was a bad decision and took away one of the unique elements of European football. We can argue all day whether the away goals rule encouraged teams to attack or worked the other way and made them more defensive when they had the advantage of an away goal from the first leg, but football is supposed to be about excitement and jeopardy and the away goals rule gave us all those things. Imagine if the rule still existed in the scenes as Rodrygo scored Real's second goal to level the draw overall on Wednesday, but Real won on away goals. Scoring away from home is more difficult and, in the event of a tie, a legitimate way of deciding the outcome - much fairer than a penalty shoot-out, which ultimately places all responsibility for a loss on the player who misses their penalty. I would bring it back but to make up for that any goals scored in extra time would not count as away goals as it would be unfair for an away team to have 120 minutes to score while the home team only had 90 minutes in first leg I would put an end to the idea of ​​a 'football festival' where we would combine a one-legged semi-final and final into a mini-tournament, which is reportedly being considered by UEFA. Sticking with two legs and the return of the away goals rule. The biggest comebacks are Manchester United, who scored twice in the last 60 seconds of the 1999 final against Bayern Munich to win the treble, and Liverpool, who went 0-3 to 3-3 in Istanbul in the 2005 final triumph over AC Milan returned. But if you just compare these two comebacks, maybe Liverpool had a bigger mountain to climb in 2019 when they had to come back from a 3-0 deficit from the first leg, but after an hour they were 3-0 up with Barca nowhere, and we knew we would probably get extra time. The goals came later, Real Madrid had been overplayed and just as important as the goals that were scored were the ones that weren't: think of Jack Grealish being saved twice in quick succession by Ferland Mendy on the goal line and Courtois . Laurens: Definitely not. Liverpool's 4-0 win over Barcelona at Anfield will forever be one of the greatest European comebacks of all time. This Real Madrid vs City was epic but not as big and not even as big as the one they played against PSG earlier in the season. So Liverpool vs. So Liverpool vs. Barca is better than Real Madrid vs. City for many reasons. On the one hand, because Real Madrid went into this semi-final second leg just one goal behind. Liverpool were 3-0 down after the first leg at the Camp Nou. Then the Spanish champions had all their players available except David Alaba, while the Reds had to face Lionel Messi and Barcelona without Salah and Roberto Firmino. The two goals from Rodrygo and the penalty from Benzema are good goals but nothing exceptional like Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick corner that completed Divock Origi to make it 4-0 and made the impossible possible and made the dream a reality. Finally, Liverpool's 'Remontada' was made special (and especially worthy) by Jurgen Klopp and his players winning the final against Tottenham Hotspur. Ogden: I'm there with Gab and Juls: Real's comeback against City is probably not even in the Champions League top 5. In addition to the games already mentioned by Gab, how about PSG throwing away a 4-0 first-leg lead against Barcelona to lose 5-6 on aggregate in 2017, or United's 3-2 semi-final second-leg win over Juventus in Turin in 1999? after going 2-0 down that night against one of the best teams of the decade? And let's not forget that in the 2019 semi-final second leg, Spurs were 3-0 down on aggregate with 35 minutes to go against Ajax in Amsterdam before Lucas Moura scored a hat-trick to complete an amazing comeback. Perhaps the only thing that makes Pep Guardiola and City feel a little better is knowing they haven't committed the biggest meltdown of all time in the Champions League - but it will haunt them for a long, long time.

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