On six different occasions this UCL season a team that was ahead in the first leg was knocked out in the second leg. Two of those occasions were this week as the Champions League has reached peak excitement with both teams that were disadvantaged in the first leg performing miracles to advance into the finals.
Football fans were treated with two days of spectacular football (and heartbreak for a few). It is now confirmed than an English team will be crowned the European Champions after a long drought. Chelsea FC was the last English team to win the Champions League in the 2011/2012 season. Here's what you missed:
Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3 on aggregate)
Alisson Becker once again has helped to see FC Barcelona out of the Champions League, once as Roma's goalie in 2018, and now as a Liverpool goalie. Barcelona's treble aspirations were smashed as Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum both netted two goals. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, Barcelona's key scorers, couldn't even manage to get a goal in as Liverpool ran rampant at Anfield. Bear in mind that Liverpool accomplished this without Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.
They were playing against a pretty strong Barcelona team, who had the clear advantage.
So where did FC Barcelona go wrong?
Football fans were hinting from the first leg that Ousmane Dembélé's miss that would have taken Barcelona 4-0 would come back to haunt him, and it seems it has. Barcelona's defense has been known to fail them at times. (See Barcelona vs Roma 2018). However, interestingly, Barcelona had the majority of the possession but failed to use it to produce goals. On top of that Barcelona had rested Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique on the weekend versus Celta Vigo since they had already sealed the league title. That tactic proved ineffective. Liverpool was hungrier and had simply outplayed them. Liverpool is now in their second consecutive Champions League finals. Good job!
Operation Treble? Cancelled.
Ajax 2-3 Tottenham Hotspurs (3-3 on aggregate)
The competition's most beloved dark horses were ushered out by Spurs, more specifically a Lucus Moura hattrick. By half time, Ajax were pretty much already in the finals as far as everyone was concerned with a goal each by Matthjis de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech. However, I'm not sure what Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino told his team, but they emerged from the dressing rooms after half time and were ready to play ball. Lucas Moura netted two goals within four minutes of each other (55' & 59'), and Ajax was stunned, but still had the advantage.
Ajax's manager, Erik ten Hag, adapted to the pressure by being on top of his substitutions. You'd see defensive changes being made as they tried to maintain their slim advantage. However, Lucas Moura, with the crucial away goal in the 90+6' minute completely ended the dreams of the brave Dutch team, and sent Spurs through for what promises to be an exciting finals.
I'm not quite sure where Ajax went wrong here. They made the appropriate changes and still pushed up for the attack. There were instances where Ajax didn't capitalize on goal scoring opportunities and that ended up costing them. They also never had a tight defense and clean sheets were rare for them in this competition. The inexperienced and youthful players of Ajax will be back to the competition soon if their team isn't raided by big clubs this summer and who knows, maybe they'll learn from their mistakes and be European champions one day.