Real Madrid did what Villarreal tried to do
thanks to the greatest soccer tricksters from Madrid, who turned every playoff confrontation into drama, dragging their opponent into chaotic territory and dealing with it there with their own methods. PSG, Chelsea, and now Manchester City have all seen Real Madrid’s campaigns from the best of spectators’ seats.
We will talk about Ancelotti’s team for another month, but we have to thank Villarreal for trying here and now. Emery’s team initially had less chance of turning the duel with Liverpool after 0-2 at Anfield, but Villarreal did not give up and did not let the semi-final battle descend into everyday boredom. The tie with Liverpool after three halves was worth a lot of money; they forced the Reds to step up and fight for the result in all seriousness; and had it not been for Roulli’s mistakes, they could have played on the nerves of the favourite for longer. Emery remained in his usual role in all phases of the encounter.
The outcome of the Champions League semi-finals was decided by coach’s decisions and coach’s indecision
In terms of ideas, depth of understanding of soccer and practical skills in creating soccer structures Unai Emery is one of the top three or five strongest coaches on the planet, but he does not always make the right decisions at crucial moments. The Spaniard loves soccer puzzles, knows how to find a way out of difficult situations, and he gets results when nothing is expected of his teams.
At the same time, the Spaniard throughout his career begins to twitch when he gets an advantage – he does not know how to develop or retain it. “Villarreal were great when they had to chase Liverpool, but were unprepared to catch up with the favorite. It was under Emery that PSG had fallen to Barcelona after a 4-0 home win. At the Camp Nou, even though the Catalans had Aitekin in twelfth, Emery’s team’s knees were shaking long before the referee’s controversial decisions.
The great thing about Klopp and coaches of his rank is their ability to keep their composure and make the right decisions at critical moments for the team. Jurgen calmed his lads down at half-time, made a spot-kick substitution in the attacking line, letting in Diaz instead of Jota, and took his due ticket to the final. Meanwhile, the circumstances of City’s relegation once again reminded us that Guardiola is more like Emery than Klopp in the quality of his actions at critical moments.
Pep is good at the distance, where he has good ideas and a long bench, but in the confines of important relegation matches he is a regular oddball. Remember last year’s final with Chelsea and the strange choice of squad, and at the Santiago Bernabeu the Manchester City bench shut down after two shocking goals from Rodrigo, although all was not lost then. Ancelotti was just going over his brow, making the right substitutions and staying calm. Carlo didn’t look like a loser, even when Real Madrid were walking on the brink of relegation.
Man City left the bloodthirsty beast alive twice
Madrid’s cambique was late, desperate and unorthodox, but in some ways it was perfectly legitimate. Even after Manchester City, many noted that, despite their advantage in the game, City did not finish off Real Madrid before the return leg. The beast stayed alive.
At the Santiago Bernabeu, the Citizens chased the Madrid side down again, red-flagged them and wounded them with a goal by Marez, and then had to finish it off in the 80th minute when Courtois made a spiked save and Mendy knocked the ball off the goal line. Again he survived, then gathered himself for the jump and clawed at the throat of the hesitant hunter. This is what fables call “morality”: a legitimate outcome in terms of character archetypes, behavior, and events.
Ancelotti will face Liverpool in the Champions League final for the third time
Perhaps before the Champions League final, Liverpool players will sincerely thank their rivals Real Madrid for the APL title. The Madrid side ruthlessly broke City’s mental backbone with their supercampaign, and that could reflect on the league games, where Liverpool are expecting a misfire from the Citizens. The chances of changing the leader in the Premier League are growing, it will not be easy for Guardiola’s team to recover immediately after such a blow, the risk of making a mistake in one of the remaining championship matches and ending the season without titles is increasing.
It would be great if in the final of the Champions League will meet the newly crowned champions of Spain and England, the two strongest European championships. Especially since Real Madrid and Liverpool have old scores to settle in 2018, when the “Slivos” were stronger in Kiev and Sergio Ramos took Salah out of the game. But it is even more interesting to recall that Carlo Ancelotti will face Liverpool in the Champions League final for the third time in his coaching career. He could hardly have imagined this last year, when he beat the Reds against Everton in the Merseyside derby.
In 2005, Ancelotti’s AC Milan led 3-0 in the final match against Liverpool, the players were already celebrating their Champions League victory at half-time, and then the greatest comeback happened, and Istanbul became the site of Liverpool’s glory. Two years later, AC Milan and Carlo had a convincing, but rather routine, rematch in Athens, 2-1. Considering what amazing plots Real Madrid draws in this Champions League playoffs, Ancelotti’s team must bounce back from a 0-3 scoreline in the final for the Italian’s satisfaction for Istanbul to be unqualified. Oh, it looks like we’re in for a great final.