Spanish giants, Real Madrid are made for big nights in the Champions League and they emerged victorious for the record 14th time in Europe on May 28, as they beat Liverpool in the final in Paris, 0-1. They have never lost a European Cup final in the history of the club, so no matter the conditions, the team in white always find a way to win these big games.
Former Liverpool great Jamie Carragher made a bold statement after Real’s group stage loss to newbies Sheriff FC that Madrid have no chance of winning the Champions League this season. Not only did they go on to lift yet another European trophy, they did in style, beating the best clubs in the world. So how did they manage to string this comeback? Let’s find out here.
Real Madrid were drawn into Group D for the 2022-23 Champions League season alongside, Inter Milan, Sheriff FC and Shakhtar Donetsk. It started victoriously for Carlo Ancelotti’s side as they got a narrow win over Inter, away from home, 0-1.
What followed on the next matchday, shocked the entire continent. They went on to lose against the first-ever Moldavian club to play in the Champions League, Sheriff FC, 1-2 at home.
They immediately rubbed that defeat off and bounced back in style with back-to-back wins against Shakhtar Donetsk, 0-5 and 2-1.
To secure the top spot in the group, they won both their final games to qualify for the Round of 16 stage.
ROUND OF 16
Real Madrid were up against PSG in the Round of 16 stage and they went into the tie as second favourites. The first leg in Paris was utterly dominated by the home side but they could only manage to score a solitary goal against Los Blancos and Real were happy with going into the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu just one goal down.
It looked pretty comfortable for the French side in the second leg. They were leading 0-2 on aggregate on the night till the 60th minute when their keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a costly error to get Madrid back into the game.
After that howler, we saw some of the best counter-attacking on display in the league and it was finished off exceptionally well by Madrid’s club captain Karim Benzema who scored a hat-trick on the night and put Madrid through to the quarter-finals of the competition 3-2 on aggregate.
Next up were European champions, Chelsea for the Los Blancos with the first leg at Stamford Bridge. An evenly fought match was decided by the Frenchman in the white jersey, Karim Benzema. The Real striker completed back-to-back hat-tricks in the competition as Madrid took a 1-3 lead into the second leg.
Chelsea’s mission improbable seemed to be possible with just ten minutes left in the tie as the London based club were 0-3 ahead on the night. It took a moment of brilliance from Real’s star midfielder Luka Modric whose brilliant assist to Rodrygo took the game to extra time.
It couldn’t have been anyone else but Karim Benzema who scored the decisive goal in extra time to take Madrid to yet another semi-final of the UEFA Champions League.
A big test was in front of Los Blancos in the semi-final of the Champions League as they were up against English champions, Manchester City. The first leg at the Etihad Stadium is considered the match of the 2021-22 season in the Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens were well on top in those 90 minutes but couldn’t convert all of their chances and conceded some sloppy goals as the match ended 4-3 in the favour of the home side.
The second leg at the Bernabeu was going to plan for City as they took the lead in the 73rd minute. It seemed all but over till the 90th minute of the game as Rodrygo got one goal back for the home side. It wasn’t done and dusted yet and the next six minutes were magical for Real as Rodrygo’s header took the match to extra time.
Karim Benzema was fouled in the box early in the first half of the extra time and he slotted his penalty comfortably to give Madrid the lead for the first time in this tie. City crumbled under pressure and Madrid booked another flight to the final of the competition.
It was a strange final in Paris as the security outside the stadium clashed with the fans in the build-up to the game only for the match to be postponed for thirty minutes. A lot has been talked about what happened at the gates of the stadium and there is an inquiry going on for the same.
When the match started, it played out in a predictable manner. Liverpool tried to keep the ball while Madrid were content with being in their half compact defensively and when they got an opportunity to hurt Liverpool on the break, they made the most of it. Madrid had just one shot on target and it was enough for Vinicius Junior to make the difference.
Madrid’s goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois had an outstanding match as he made a Champions League record for most saves made by a keeper in the final of the competition.
Overall there wasn’t much between the two teams but it seemed like Madrid were destined to win their 14th European crown and it worked out beautifully for them.
Read: Season Review: Leeds United Survive to Fight For Another Premier League Campaign
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES