It is the biggest soccer game contested each season in Europe and this year, two familiar foes will go toe to toe in the Champions League Final in Paris on May 28.
On Tuesday Night, Premier League chasing Liverpool produced a stellar second half comeback after going 2-0 down in their second leg during the first half against Spanish outfit Villarreal.
Those two Villarreal goals made it 2-2 on aggregate after the first leg at Anfield a week earlier had finished 2-0 to the Reds.
However, those first half strikes from Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin were undone
VILLARREAL, SPAIN – MAY 03: Luis Diaz of Liverpool celebrates scoring his side’s 2nd goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Villarreal and Liverpool at Estadio de la Ceramica on May 03, 2022 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
as Liverpool dominated the second half and scored three goals in reply to win 3-2 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate.
Brazilian star Fabinho scored the crucial first goal with Colombian winger Luis Diaz adding the second and Sadio Mane of Senegal slotting home the third.
Certainly, Liverpool’s extensive fan base across the United States will have been delighted to have seen the Reds come through the tie.
The question last night, was which team would join them in Paris at the end of the month?
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537).
Real Produce Stunning Late Comeback
The warning for Manchester City was there. In the previous two rounds, Real Madrid
MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 04: Real Madrid celebrate their side’s victory and progression to the UEFA Champions League Final after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 04, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
had come back from seemingly dead and buried to win the tie against the odds.
Against Paris St Germain, trailing 2-0 on aggregate after an hour of the second leg, Karim Benzema netted a hat-trick inside 20 minutes to send Real Madrid through 3-2 on aggregate.
Then after winning the first leg against Chelsea 3-1 in London, Real found themselves 3-0 down in the second leg at the Bernebeu with 10 minutes remaining before Rodrygo levelled the game and Benzema netted the goal in extra time to send Real through 5-4 on aggregate.
Last night, after a cagey first half, the game opened up more in the second and with around 20 minutes to go, City seemingly struck a critical blow. Leading 4-3 from the first leg, Riyad Mahrez fired past Thibaut Courtois to put City 1-0 up on the night and 5-3 on aggregate.
With the clock hitting 89 minutes, the score remained 1-0 and Real looked dead and buried, but what followed was arguably the craziest five minutes of football in the Champions League in many a year.
In the final minute Karim Benzema turned back a deep cross for Rodrygo to prod past Ederson and then less than 60 seconds later, Real pressed again, and this time a cross from Carvajal was headed home, once again by Rodrygo.
Incredibly, Real led 2-1 on the night and extra time loomed. They may not have needed it had Ederson not saved from Rodrygo just a minute or so after the second Real goal went in.
A shell-shocked City hung on to extra time, but just a few minutes into the first period, Ruben Dias clumsily tackled Karim Benzema in the box to give Real a penalty, which Benzema coolly converted.
Somehow, in the space of five minutes game time, Real had gone from losing 5-3, to winning 6-5.
They saw off City in the second period of extra time and celebrated their win wildly on the final whistle.
An Incredible Final In Prospect?
With two teams that enjoy massive global support, this will be the third time that Real Madrid and Liverpool have met in the Champions League Final.
In 1981, Liverpool were 1-0 winners when the two teams met in Paris but in 2018, it was Real that landed the win when they defeated Liverpool 3-1.
No team has been more successful than Real in the Champions League (13 wins, 3 runners up), but Liverpool are joint third on that list with six wins (3 runners up). Milan have seven and Bayern Munich have also landed six wins.
This should be a final for the ages and US fans can enjoy it from 3pm ET on Saturday May 28.
FEATURED IMAGE – MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid scores their side’s third goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 04, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)