Jun 1, 2013

Similarities between the Champions League and Europa League finals

With Bayern Munich being third time lucky in the last four years, I draw up the striking similarities between their Champions League win and Chelsea’s Europa League win ten days ago.

Underdog domination:
Both the teams started the games with the favourite tags. However, in the first half, it was a different story altogether. Benfica and Dortmund were the favourites to score in their respective first halves. However, as the game progressed, Bayern and Chelsea gradually came into their rhythms and took the lead.

No 9 opening the scoring:
Torres, in spite of having a torrid season, opened the scoring for Chelsea, whereas his no 9 counterpart in Bayern, Mandžukić did the honours.

Penalty equalizer:
The equalizer came through a penalty, with both goalkeepers going the wrong way, and the penalties struck with perfection. In fact, the way the penalties were conceded in the first place could also have been avoided easily with Azpilicueta’s outstretched hand, and Dante’s “this is Sparta” kick inside the penalty box.

Last moment winner:
Both matches were set to go into the extra time and they were won due to goals near the 90th minute. Ivanovic headed home deep in extra time whereas Robben put a soft touch past Weidenfeller just before extra time.

Good performances from the unexpected:
Fernando Torres got a chance in the second half, dribbled past the keeper and slotted it home coolly. This was highly unexpected considering the number of misses he has had to go through since his big money move to Chelsea. Robben, on the other hand, who was considered a choker in big games (the World Cup 2013 final, 2012 Euro, UCL finals ’10, ’12), silenced critics with his man of the match performance providing the assist for the first goal and scoring the second.

Although the opposition teams had their fare share of chances, football, unfortunately, only rewards great finishing. With clinical finishing, Chelsea and Bayern Munich deserved their wins.

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