The UEFA had two of the most exciting and anticipated games of the season in the past week: The Champions League final and the Europa League final. The Europa league final started out as a boring game, that eventually wrapped up with a 1-1 draw between the English favorites, Manchester United, and the underdogs, Villarreal. But considering it was a final, the game couldn’t end as a stalemate, and another unflattering extra time without either team scoring was pulled out of the bag.
Hence, the final headed towards the classic highly debated penalty shootout. While many fans believe that penalties don’t actively reflect which team is better, which hence, makes it highly debated, all fans can agree that they are incredibly tense and interesting to watch. The Europa league final’s shootout was no different and was one of the most tense shootouts in a large-scale tournament since a long time.
The first five penalties were taken by each teams’ players respectively but all of them managed to score in. Then sets of penalties were taken but neither team gave in and before the fans knew it, the game was in its eleventh shootout set, the set in which the goalkeepers shoot and defend- the Battle of the Goalkeepers. Rulli from Villarreal went in first and scored right in but unfortunately for Manchester United, De Gea looked unconfident and reportedly didn’t listen to his given penalty instructions. Consequently, he missed the penalty and cost Man United their trophy.
Nevertheless, the shootout was a very interesting one to watch and had ever fan at the edge of their seats the entire time. Both the teams played extremely well in the last part of the game and their hard work and dedication to win the game really showed.
Next, on Saturday, was the most awaited games of the season, the UCL final between two English giants- Chelsea, that completely turned tables under Thomas Tuchel and Manchester City, the current Premier League Champions. Chelsea were considered the underdogs of the match since they weren’t expected to beat clubs like Real Madrid to advance to the finals in the first place, but they did. However, Chelsea surely was the more experienced team when it comes to big games. City, on the other hand, managed to beat PSG and Dortmund and seemed like they completely had the trophy under their bag, and could prove their place as a big club of soccer.
The game took everyone by surprise before it even began; Pep Guardiola hadn’t put Fernandinho and Rodri, two of City’s best defending midfielders, as starters in the line-up. Even Sergio Aguero, who was in his top form for the season was bought in too late in the game, despite this being his last game for City before leaving for Barcelona.
With these two massive mistakes in the line-up, along with Rüdiger fouling against De Bruyne, City wasn’t in any shape to win the match. Chelsea won the game due to Kai Havertz’s goal and were truly the better team for the ninety something minutes of the game. Overall, this week was an unsuccessful week for the city of Manchester and their teams but a huge success for the underdogs.