By Alistair Nyamuda
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 4 of VARSITY News.
The champions league has largely been dominated by the Spanish over the past four campaigns. Barcelona won during the 2014/2015 campaign, but it is Real Madrid who have succeeded the most, winning the cup for the last three titles. It has been Messi’s wish to return the league trophy to the Camp Nou. A Real Madrid upset, thanks to an exciting and quick Ajax outfit gave Barca hope, and a brilliant 3:0 first leg semi-final win against Liverpool, made another Spanish champion’s league final look inevitable.
A resilient Liverpool side overturned this three-goal deficit in sublime fashion. A Divock Origi hat-trick, and a goal by Georginio Wijnaldum was enough for Liverpool to edge Barcelona out of the competition. What was most impressive about their performance, was the fight that the team displayed. The odds were against them, with Barcelona winning the first leg in Spain. The desire and passion shown by the Liverpool team has become a regular showcasing, with the team having a near flawless league campaign this season (had Manchester City not beaten them to the Barclays Premier League title). Deserving of their Champions League final spot, the reds booked their place in an all English final for the first time since 2008.
It could be argued that their opposition in the final, Tottenham Hotspur, are just as deserving. Since his arrival in 2014, manager Mauricio Pochettino has done his best to create a competitive Tottenham side which can challenge the Premier League top four. They have done well this season, coming third in the Barclays Premier League and securing a Champions League spot for next season, but hope to win this years imminent final. Tottenham faced a strong Manchester City, managing to clinch their spot through a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win. They then played against an Ajax side who basically snuck their way into the final, having unexpectedly beaten reigning champions Real Madrid, and even Juventus. Tottenham had to give their utmost against a confident Ajax team. A hat-trick by winger, Lucas Moura, clinched the last goal at stoppage time, which was enough to bring the game into extra time. A penalty shoot-out allowed Tottenham Hotspur into the final.
Tottenhman have won two very competitive champions league matches against Ajax and Manchester City. They have gotten through both matches through penalty shoot -outs, and there is much need for them to go to Madrid with the desire to score goals. Liverpool, having done all the right things this season will be looking to add a trophy to their season. Both teams have performed well this season, but regardless of who wins, this Champions League final should be very exciting.