Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Barcelona's unexpected elimination

I took time out for lunch to watch the Champions League semifinal in a restaurant in San Salvador. Manchester City-Liverpool was the match of choice. In San Salvador, few people watch English football, and most people prefer Barcelona or Real Madrid. So as everyone took for granted that Barcelona was through, there was nobody else watching football in the restaurant.
As expected Manchester City-Liverpool was a great match: City played a great first half, which they were unlucky not to be leading by more than a goal by halftime. But the second half saw a different Liverpool side emerge, as first Mohammed Salah and then Roberto Firmino gave the Reds a well-deserved victory and a place in the semifinal.
When Salah equalized for Liverpool it had become obvious that the match to watch was Roma-Barcelona, as the Italians were leading 2-0, and would sensationally go through with a third strike that all of a sudden did not look so impossible. Thus, many people in the Salvadorean restaurant turned their eyes towards the match, and were chocked to see Kostas Manolas score a third goal that in the end brought Roma through, and made them only the third team in the Champions League to overcome a three goal loss in the first match (the second one being Barcelona themselves when they defeated Paris St. Germain last season).
One cannot help but be happy for Roma, who did what everyone considered impossible, namely to defeat FC Barcelona's arrogance. Roma have done this throughout this season: Atletico Madrid and Chelsea underestimated them, but came behind them in the group stages. I do not think that Roma will win the Champions League, but any team that underestimates them will suffer the consequences.
I had a great lunch break, thank you.

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