Real Madrid, the most famous and successful club in the world, will not defend the Champions League trophy. In the rematch for the final, it was crushed 4-0 by Manchester City of England. In 2009, another English team, Liverpool, suffered the same humiliation.
However, there were more similarities and differences with the then defeat. The 2008/2009 Champions League semi-finals were played, and the opening match at the Santiago Bernabéu was better played by the visitors, who won 1:0 with a header by Yossi Benayoun.
But it wasn’t over yet, as the Spanish team’s legendary goalscorer Raúl brought the Madrid minnows to a sold-out Anfield Road in full determination. But Spanish coach Rafael Benítez’s charges came at their opponents like dragons.
Goalkeeper Iker Casillas, captain of the 2010 World Champions, kept the visitors at bay with his excellent saves, as did Thibault Courtois this year. But it was still impossible to resist Liverpool’s waves. After a hesitation by the stopper duo Fabio Cannavaro – Pepe, the home side conquered the Madrid wall for the first time, scoring through Spanish great Fernando Torres.
Belgian referee Franck de Bleeckere could have moved the game, but he only showed the English captain a yellow card for Steven Gerrard’s liquidation foul on Sergio Ramos. Gerrard then converted the penalty kick ordered for Heinze’s hand. Half-time ended – as it has this season – 2-0.
Real were attacking, trying to score a contact goal, but they were often off-balance and shots between the three posts were disposed of by Spanish legionnaire Pepe Reina. When Gerrard added a third goal after Babel’s centre half volley, it was all but decided, although the visitors tried to soften the cruel defeat.
They eventually netted a fourth, with three home raiders penetrating an open defence and substitute Italian midfielder Andrea Dossena finishing.
The result was identical to this year – 4: 0, plus the loss in the first leg, but coach Juande Ramos’ charges did not look as resigned and harmless as against Manchester City.
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