The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Abhishek Barui, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Last week two of the legendary clubs in Europe came back from the dead to book their places in the European club competitions. While Real Madrid, a record 10-time champions of the European premier club competition, overturned a two goal deficit from the first leg against Wolfsburg in UEFA Champions League, Liverpool, the 5 time champions, came back twice from two goals deficit to beat another German club Borussia Dortmund at Anfield to make their way to UEFA Europa League semi- finals.
Many of the pundits had written off Real Madrid after the first leg and were expecting a surprise result. But a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, who looked up for the task from minute 1, had other plans. With two goals in the first 17 minutes the tie was level much before anybody would have expected. Cristiano scored from a free-kick in the 77th minute to complete the remontada, as is called in Spanish, to take Real to a record 6th straight semi-finals.
Liverpool on the other hand made life harder for themselves after a brilliant first leg performance where they were able to get a draw scoring an all-important away goal. Conceding two quick-fire goals in the first 9 minutes, Liverpool were on the back-foot from the very beginning. Though they created numerous chances in the first half but were unable to take any of them. They scored a goal right at the start of the second half through Origi but were pegged back with another goal from Reus. What followed was a remarkable effort from Jurgen Klopp’s team to score 3 goals in the last 30 minutes with the winner coming right at the death.
Both the team’s even though faced with adversity, never let their shoulders drop and produced performances worthy of champions. These comebacks were more driven by passion and desire to win than the skills of the players. What spurred them on was the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu and Anfield which cheered them on for the whole of 90 minutes and acted as the 12th man. The football fans can hope for many more such European nights that made the competitions what they are today.