Manchester City qualified for the 2020/21 Champions League final by defeating Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium. He had won the semi-final match with the same score in Paris.
Gabriel Jesus concluded the classification in the 32nd minute of the second half, and by necessity, Pep Guardiola only replaced Zinchenko with the Brazilian striker, in the 19th minute of the second half. In the first match against the French, only one substitution was made in 90 minutes: Joao Cancelo instead of Zinchenko.
The sacrifice of the team that played for the champions in the Premier League has been compensated. After all, the advantage of the blue team from Manchester over rival United was ten points and the title will be confirmed sportingly in the 36th round.
So much so that City, in the previous round, just in the weekend after qualifying for the European final, went up the reserves and lost 2-1 by Chelsea, who would be the enforcer in the decision held in Estádio do Dragão.
The scenario in 2021/202 was just the opposite. The decision to decide a place in the final was away from home, at the Santiago Bernabeu vs. real madrid. Also to manage the target feature. Above all, the running points row is now fierce, just one point behind Liverpool.
Same scenario as the 2018/19 season. City ended up winning the title with 98 points, one point behind Liverpool in an epic feud. Except that Guardiola’s side were eliminated in the Champions League quarter-finals by Spurs and were able to devote themselves to the latter part of the English Premier League, while the Reds shared their interest in the continental tournament they won by defeating Spurs themselves.
Now it is mandatory to exchange attention. And when Mahrez opened the scoring in Madrid with a powerful shot that beat Courtois, in the 28th minute of the second half, the world thought that the semi-final was over. Including Pep Guardiola.
For this reason, he replaced Gabriel Jesus with Grealish and Mahrez with Fernandinho. He’s already made two substitutions: Zinchenko in place of the exhausted Walker, who has been the coach on the field as long as possible, and Gundogan in place of the also exhausted Kevin De Bruyne. Both of them came seconds before the citizens’ goal.
A lot of thought was exchanged on both fronts, unlike the previous season. After all, on Sunday, for the 36th round of the Premier League, the team has another “final” at home against the difficult Newcastle from Bruno Guimarães, and on Saturday, Liverpool could stumble, at Anfield, against Tottenham seeking a place in the Champions.
But against Real Madrid that seemed dead against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the previous stages and more than that at the Bernabeu, you either don’t give the slightest chance to achieve an unattainable advantage, or leave your best and last drop of sweat and concentration. until the final.
The exchanges after the goal were logical, to strengthen the midfield and gain speed in offensive transitions. So much so that Grealish missed two big chances to make it 2-0. The match was controlled and the Real Madrid squad looked tired and disorganized.
But it was Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Rodrygo’s goal at 90 awakened the dying giant and an explosion of confidence on the field left the opponent, who still “accidentally” won the main club competition on the planet, dumbfounded. Security, even a certain relaxation, turned into a panic with Rodrigo’s second goal and Bernabeu in euphoria.
The extra time was just a natural result of a scenario more than expected: two teams distorted, but Real still have the two stars Vinicius Junior and Benzema, who suffered and scored the penalty kick that guaranteed the penalty kick, and reached the fifteenth goal in this version, the tenth in the qualifiers.
Fernandinho still missed an incredible goal in the last half of the first half of extra time. Will Mahrez, Jesus or De Bruyne, who left for the full 90 minutes, be lost? Or was there extra time if Guardiola had continued at the start, as he did last season?
We will never know. The truth is that Real Madrid is the decision-maker and will take the talent of its stars, the charm and weight of his jersey and, above all, the exclusive dedication until the 28th, at the Stade de France. After all, the Spanish title was sportingly guaranteed last weekend.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are chasing City in the league and still in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, exactly two weeks before the continental decision. That could affect Jürgen Klopp and his men.
Pep Guardiola will watch the Champions League final again on TV or on mobile flow. Because he committed the sin of thinking of Newcastle at the Bernabeu before the final whistle. You paid a high price, a heavy price. Even more than 100 million euros was spent by reserve Jack Grealish.
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