UEFA Champions League: Five matches that defined the 2018-19 campaign
Written by: Waseem Zaidi
The European showpiece has had some exhilarating matches which took our breath away.
The UEFA Champions League 2018-19 will go down in the history books as one of the best editions of the tournament due to the sheer amount of incredible clashes we have witnessed over the course of the season. From epic comebacks to major upsets, the competition has delivered on all fronts and gave the fans moments that they will never forget.
The current campaign has been full of moments that has made us sit on the edge of our seats and appreciate the brilliance shown on the football pitch. The level of competition has only reinstated the prestige of the UCL and the matches have perfectly defined the splendidness of this year’s tournament.
Here are the five matches that caught everyone’s eye around the globe and will ensure that the 2018-19 season of the elite European club competition will be remembered long in the posterity.
5. Juventus 3-0 Atletico Madrid
There is a saying that goes like, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. The second-leg of the Round of 16 fixture will be remembered for the antics of the legend of the game, Cristiano Ronaldo. Playing in his first season at Juventus, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner showed why the Champions League was his realm.
Watch: Juventus Vs Atletico Madrid, Goals and Highlights
The tie was heavily in the favor of their opponents, Atletico Madrid, who came to Turin with a two-goal advantage from the first leg. However, a hat-trick from the Portuguese superstar single-handedly took the Old Lady into the quarter-final stage with a 3-0 victory over the Spanish outfit. A certain celebration was also a major talking point from the fixture.
4. Juventus 1-2 AFC Ajax
The giant killers of the tournament, AFC Ajax, had just eliminated the defending champions, Real Madrid CF in the Round of 16 after humiliating them in front of their own crowd with a 1-4 away victory, overturning the 1-2 first-leg home defeat.
Watch: Juventus Vs AFC Ajax, Goals and Highlights
A similar performance away from home was required in the quarter-final clash against Juventus after the first-leg draw at the Amsterdam Arena. Despite falling behind to Ronaldo’s opener, Ajax played incredible free-flowing football and ran away 1-2 victors on the night, eliminating one of the tournament favorites in the process.
3. Manchester City 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur have been the dark horses of the competition and their quarter-final tie against another English side in Manchester City saw one of the best matches to have ever been played in the history of the UCL. The second-leg was completely opposite to the first-leg which ended in a 1-0 win for the Spurs.
Watch: Manchester City Vs Tottenham Hotspur, Goals and Highlights
The two Premier League sides played some of the most direct football and the end-to-end stuff kept everyone on their nerves. The match saw goals galore with five goals coming in the first 22 minutes of the game itself. While Pep Guardiola’s men won the match 4-3 on the night, but it was Mauricio Pochettino's men who triumphed over the two legs thanks to away goals rule (4-4 aggregate).
2. Liverpool 4-0 FC Barcelona
Owing to some Lionel Messi magic in the first-leg of their semi-final clash against Liverpool, FC Barcelona came to Anfield for the second-leg with a three-goal advantage. In order to overturn it, Jurgen Klopp had to marshall his troops to concoct an epic comeback, which they did in incredible fashion.
Watch: Liverpool Vs FC Barcelona highlights
The Reds obliterated the Spanish giants who could not cope up with the pressure, eliminating them after a 4-0 victory on the night. For the second successive year, the Blaugrana had surrendered a three-goal advantage in the Champions League, and their talismanic leader in Messi cut a dejected figure after the game.
1. AFC Ajax 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
In a clash of the underdogs, both these teams were writing a narrative for the ages. The giant-killers, Ajax, came into the second-leg with a one-goal advantage thanks to a 0-1 victory in London. Playing at home with the support of the crowd at their back, the Dutch-outfit scored a quickfire brace and had one foot in the final of the UCL after the first-half.
Relive Tottenham Hotspur's incredible comeback against Ajax
However, Spurs shocked the footballing world thanks to a second-half hattrick from Lucas Moura. The Brazilian scored his third and the all-important goal in the dying seconds of the match to break the hearts of the home crowd. Tottenham marched into the UEFA Champions League final, thanks to the away goals rule yet again after the tie overall ended 3-3 on aggregate. The outpouring emotions in the end from both sets of fans and players culminated an electric night of European football.
Published: Sat May 18, 2019 02:45 PM IST