Champions League matches of the season: which do you prefer?
As the UEFA Champions League season heads towards its final in Paris, UEFA.com picks out ten matches that stood out to us the most. Vote for your favorite.
Male. City 6-3 Leipzig (Day 1)
On any other day, Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku would have received the plaudits for a successful hat-trick at the City of Manchester Stadium, but even that achievement was overshadowed by City’s flexing of their attacking muscles. It was a first statement of intent from Pep Guardiola in what remains the competition’s highest-scoring game this season.
Inescapable moment: Jack Grealish made his Champions League debut after his headline-grabbing summer transfer to City, and scored the occasion with a sensational goal to make it 4-2.
Real Madrid 1-2 Sheriff (Day 2)
As the David vs. Goliath moments go by, they don’t get much bigger than a Champions League debutant taking on the winners of the record-breaking competition – and in their own backyard at that. Sheriff sent shockwaves through European football with a sensational win to top Group D with a perfect record after two games. “I’m so moved and grateful to my boys for what they’ve done,” coach Yuriy Vernydub said afterwards. “They went there as a team, and we deserved it.”
Inescapable moment: Sébastien Thill’s superb half-volley in the 90th minute which gave Sheriff the most unlikely of victories at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Male. United 3-2 Atalanta (Day 3)
With three points from their opening two games and in a tough group that also included Young Boys and eventual semi-finalists Villarreal, Manchester United could not afford another mistake. Going 2-0 in 29 minutes at home wasn’t ideal then, but the Red Devils staged an emotional second-half fightback, culminating in a spectacular late winner from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Inescapable moment: Ronaldo entered the box in the 81st minute to launch a trademark header into the net and spark wild celebrations.
Ajax 4-2 Sporting CP (Day 6)
Ajax were already assured top spot in Group C heading into Matchday 6, but neither he nor star striker Sebastien Haller were in any mood to calm down. Haller opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the eighth minute, becoming the second player in Champions League history to find the net in all six group matches and taking his tally to ten by that time. The fact that he did so in his debut season made him all the more remarkable, helping Ajax to a big win that completed a perfect group campaign.
Inescapable moment: Sporting may have ended up on the losing side, but there was still a silver lining – apart from moving to second place, Dário Essugo made his Champions League debut at the age of 16.
Porto 1-3 Atletico (Day 6)
With Liverpool already certain of winning Group B, Porto and Atlético battled it out for second place in the final round of group stage fixtures. Atlético were even bottom of the section at kick-off, and losing Luis Suárez to injury in the 13th minute did little to help their cause. Still, Antoine Griezmann put the Spanish side on the right track in the second half, and three more goals in the closing stages summed up the drama of the occasion.
Inescapable momentÁngel Correa’s goal in the 90th minute to give Atlético a 2-0 lead; celebrations and relief as Diego Simeone’s side achieved the impossible.
Real Madrid 3-1 Paris (8th final return)
Kylian Mbappé had scored a 94th-minute winner in the first leg to give Paris a slim advantage heading into the second leg, and when the French forward scored 2-0 on aggregate at the Bernabéu just before half-time, the draw appeared. be finished. Or at least that’s what they might have thought. Karim Benzema had other ideas, however, and scored a hat-trick in 18 minutes to turn things around and send the Spaniards through to the quarter-finals.
Inescapable moment: Benzema’s masterful strike from the edge of the box to complete his hat-trick, just two minutes after scoring his second.
Juventus 0-3 Villarreal (8th final return)
Long renowned as a master in the art of defending, Juventus tasted their own medicine by Villarreal in Turin. After drawing 1-1 in the first leg, the Yellow Submarine needed Gerónimo Rulli to make a string of fine saves to keep the home side at bay, before clinically unleashing a superb three-counter goals in the last 12 minutes to reach the quarter-finals. finals.
Inescapable moment: Gerard Moreno had only been on the pitch for four minutes when Villarreal were awarded a penalty, but the veteran striker kept his composure to flick his kick past Wojciech Szczęsny and clear the way for his side to progress .
Male. City 4-3 Real Madrid (semi-final first leg)
Kevin De Bruyne scored the first ever goal in a Champions League semi-final when his diving header tickled the net within two minutes, and when Gabriel Jesus doubled City’s lead shortly after. , the writing seemed to be on the wall. Yet Real Madrid refused to back down as the teams traded blows in a seven-goal thriller that instantly became an all-time classic.
Panenka’s audacious 82nd-minute penalty from Benzema was as vital as it was sublime, keeping Madrid level heading into the second leg at home.
Villarreal 2-3 Liverpool (return semi-final)
Rarely have Liverpool, 2-0 since the first leg, looked so nervous as they did in the first half, although credit goes to the hosts for such an energetic and tactically shrewd performance – Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin scoring the goals for even out the tie. The real Reds got up after the break and put on a superb display to emerge victorious on the night and on aggregate, thanks in large part to half-time substitute and player of the match Luis Díaz.
Luis Díaz may not have scored on his no-look bicycle kick just before the hour mark – indeed, it went horribly wrong – but it was symbolic of the nerve he injected in the game ; an in-form performer training his team in style when they could so easily have folded.
Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City, ap (return semi-final)
Carrying a one-goal advantage on that flashing first leg and you’ll miss it, Man. City had one foot in the final after Riyad Mahrez gave his side a breather with the opener in the 73rd minute. Yet Carlo Ancelotti’s men, who had been out of target the whole game, struck Rodrygo twice in the 90th and 91st minutes to send the equalizer into extra time, where Benzema completed the most unlikely comeback with a penalty.
Rodrygo’s opening goal, a poacher’s arrival at the near post, sparked a tangible change in atmosphere and momentum at the Santiago Bernabéu, sparking Madrid’s fightback that eventually led to a place in the final.