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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Real Madrid And Liverpool Square Off To Close Out The 2021-2022 Season

The Champions League Trophy will be lifted by either Liverpool or Real Madrid on Saturday. (Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Another exciting Champions League season is coming to a close on Saturday, May 28. After a knockout stage that saw some exhilarating games and a few huge upsets, the stage is set for the finale of the 2021-22 season. 

To raise the stakes even more, it’s a rematch of the 2018 Champions League final. Real Madrid (“Real”) and Liverpool are once again facing off in Paris, and the whole world is watching. 

Real’s knockout stage journey has been nothing short of breathtaking. “It’s been a crazy run for us,” 9th grader and avid Real fan Nicolas Del Sontro said. “I loved it. Every second of it,” he said. 

Real have trailed at least once in every knockout game that they have played. Real began with a great comeback against Paris Saint Germain, which included striker Karim Benzema scoring a hat trick in 17 minutes to overturn the score from 0-2 to 3-2. 

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The quarter-finals saw Real give up a 3-1 lead to defending champions, Chelsea. However, super-sub and winger Rodrygo scored in the 80th minute to make the aggregate score 4-4, sending the game to extra time, where Benzema once again scored to send Real to the semifinals. 

The semi-final versus Manchester City (“City”) will go down as one of the greatest Champions League ties of all time. Having lost 4-3 in Manchester, everything was on the line for Real at the Santiago Bernabeu back in Madrid. 

After a scoreless first 70 minutes, City opened the scoring with a Riyad Mahrez thunderbolt and Real needed a miracle. “I was a little nervous after they put one in the second leg and made it 5-3,” Del Sontro said. 

It was Rodrygo once again who lit the spark to ignite the comeback, scoring twice in two minutes to send the game to extra time. In the 93rd minute, a clumsy tackle by City center back Ruben Diaz led to a Benzema penalty which he calmly placed into the bottom corner. “Without Benzema, we would not be here right now,” Del Sontro said. 

Karim Benzema celebrates his third goal of a hat trick against Chelsea. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Liverpool has had a very different run to the final, having beaten Inter Milan, Benfica and Villareal to reach this stage. After previously beating Villareal 2-0 at home, Liverpool struggled in the first half at Villareal, giving up two early goals. 

“I had faith in the team because they played so badly in the first half, and I thought that couldn’t carry on,” Math teacher and long time Liverpool fan Colin Buck said. “They had to get their vibe back in the second half.” 

Liverpool would storm back in the second half, scoring three times and winning the tie 5-2 on aggregate. 

Real and Liverpool have met twice before in European finals, the most recent being in 2018 when Real beat Liverpool 3-1. Buck believes this loss was primarily due to then Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius’s errors, which led to two Real goals. “Who could’ve predicted that he’d have such a crappy game and basically lose the game for us,” Buck said. 

Karius’s dreadful mistakes, along with winger Mohamed Salah’s injury, both contributed to Liverpool’s defeat that night in Kyiv. 

Now Liverpool are loaded with talent: wingers Mohammad Salah (Right Winger), Sadio Mane (Left Winger), Luis Diaz (Left Winget), and Diogo Jota (Centre Forward) lead the attack, with Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho running the game from midfield. With the help of their solid defense and goalkeeper, Liverpool has arguably been the best team in the world this season. Having won the Carabao Cup and Football Association Cup, Liverpool are on the verge of a treble-winning season. 

As for Real, this is a chance to win their 14th European trophy, and their first since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure nearly four years ago. Whether you’re supporting Real, Liverpool, or are just hoping for some entertainment on a Saturday afternoon, this game should not disappoint.

By Francisco Gonzalez-Berrington

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