Other Champions League Game for the ages, but this one is so heavily influenced by the weight of the story.
real Madrid believed they could do the impossible. Manchester City feared the inevitable. That’s the only way to explain another incredible night in this competition. This is the only way to read another spectacular Madrid comeback and another disaster pep Guardiola Collapse.
Everything built up to the climax of this amazing tie, filling it with even more emotions. The faces at the end said so much and more than the details.
Those details are that Carlo AncelottiThe Barcelona side came back from a 1-0 deficit in the 90th minute to win 3-1 and 6-5 on aggregate to reach the club’s 17th Champions League final. They will now try to ensure that a record 13 becomes a remarkable 14 and prevent Liverpool from winning a seventh.
It also prevents a fourth all-English final, prolonging Guardiola’s torment in the competition.
That was the thing with those details, though. The reality was different.
To paraphrase a line from great literary fiction, because this was the greatest sporting drama, all Champions League comebacks in Madrid are the same, but each is amazing in its own way.
The same could be said of Guardiola’s collapse. It’s all going to be incredibly predictable, yet extraordinarily compelling for that very reason. It is only enriched by what has gone before.
This is where the weight of the story comes into play. She doesn’t repeat what we’ve seen before. It contributes to the legend, to the lore.
This really is the Champions League.
Again and again this competition only delivers drama. It only deepens the question as to why some of the people involved in this game – notably Madrid President Florentino Perez – want to change or even replace this competition.
There is nothing like it. It has everything.
Even a game like this, which had been mostly a classically tense European tie of the more classical kind, was just turning into another modern epic; another explosion of color.
So many of the intricate details from before – Guardiola’s gamble with an unfit Kyle Walker to subdue Vinicius Junior, the very timed shifts – were all but a long prelude, mere sets for the real drama to come. Most of it was also almost separate from everything that came before it, aside from doing the job of building the emotion and letting it all simmer.
Ironically, it wasn’t Riyad Mahrez’s explosive finish that defined the game. That was actually another step in the build-up.
Moments followed when it felt like they were becoming part of something bigger. Two were substitute Jack Grealish’s big misses.
It wasn’t just missed opportunities. It was moments that spurred Madrid’s faith, fueling that sense of doom at a time when they seemed to have run out of ideas and imagination.
However, apart from Benzema and Luka Modric, this Madrid wasn’t really about creativity. It was about will.
This is the only way to describe what happened in those hectic last few minutes. However, there was an inspiration. That was Ancelotti’s bold introduction of Rodrygo for the likes of Toni Kroos. One must not forget that in all this. It was calculation amidst the chaos. As against Chelsea, the Brazilian changed everything. His energy helped a team push their limits while pushing City back. That pretty much sums up the goal for the tie.
It was so simple and yet there was so much in it. Eduardo Camavinga crossed, Benzema headed back and Rodrygo ran in. Walker wasn’t around this time, nor was any other City defender.
It again showed the difference between these teams and these clubs, similar to Paris Saint-Germain.
It played out again, so it’s worth repeating: while one side only believed it could do the impossible, the other seemed to fear the inevitable.
And that’s the difference real history makes. Abu Dhabi cannot buy it. You can only experience it. One wonders what that will do to City?
Was part of that the effect of what happened in last year’s finals?
Or was it just the sport’s whirlwind, the unique energy that envelops this floor?
Some will no doubt point to known ailments. There was the six minutes of stoppage time announced right after Rodrygo’s first. There was referee Daniele Orsato’s instant point as Benzema appeared to go down easily.
Both are a bit hollow. For one, Rodrygo scored another within a minute. They didn’t even need the six.
Then there was the fact that Ruben Dias apparently fouled Benzema. It was a fair decision. It didn’t look like a mistake and certainly not the ones the City players were making.
Therefore, this was another collapse in itself.
They assumed they were claiming control of the entire game’s pace, only to be left hostage to its hurricane pace, unable to hold it together, let alone hold the ball. They had lost faith and consequently lost the game.
It was everything we’ve seen before again, but in a whole new way.
It wasn’t history repeating itself, but history confirming itself.
It all means City and Guardiola reconsider what could have been and Madrid look to another final.
That’s the difference that matters the most.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/man-city-real-madrid-result-score-rodrygo-b2071579.html Real Madrid vs Man City result: final result, goals, highlights and match report as Karim Benzema scores a penalty in extra time