Road to Kiev: How Liverpool and Real Madrid reached the UCL Final
Nick Murphy | 24 May 2018
Coral chart the teams’ progression this season
The Champions League Final is fast approaching for Liverpool and Real Madrid.
The two sides will meet in a major European final for the first time since 1981 when they convene in Kiev on Saturday night. But how did they make it this far?
Ahead of the final, the Coral News Team chart the duo’s respective UCL campaigns…
Liverpool’s route to Kiev
UCL Proper this season: P12, W7, D4, L1, GF40, GA13.
Liverpool’s journey to the final began all the way back in August. Paired with Champions League first-timers Hoffenheim, the Reds breezed through 6-3 on aggregate, thanks largely to a 4-2 home win at Anfield in the second-leg.
A group containing Sevilla, Spartak Moscow and Maribor provided similarly little fuss for Jurgen Klopp’s men. A pair of 7-0 wins set them well on their way, even if a 3-3 draw in Spain from 3-0 up highlighted their defensive deficiencies. Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah finished the Group Stages with a combined 16 goals.
Porto were tasked with shackling the rampant Reds forward line at the last-16 stage. But they failed miserably. A Sadio Mane hat-trick alongside strikes from Salah and Firmino saw the Merseysiders on their way to a 5-0 rout in the first-leg in Portugal. A 0-0 draw at Anfield secured their progression.
Next up? Manchester City. A tie which looked decidedly tricky on paper was more or less put to bed inside the half-hour. Goals from Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mane left City on the canvas and Liverpool heading through to the semi-finals. A 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in the second-leg set up a semi-final tie with AS Roma.
The Serie A side had reached this stage thanks to their incredible comeback victory over Barcelona. But once again it was Liverpool’s performance in the first-leg that wrapped up the tie. A first-half brace from Salah set the Reds on their way to a 5-2 victory ahead of the second-leg at the Stadio Olimpico.
Klopp’s charges lost 4-2 in the Italian capital but never looked in any real danger of exiting the competition, eventually winning through 7-6 on aggregate.
Real Madrid’s route to Kiev
UCL Proper this season: P12, W8, D2, L2, GF30, GA15.
Real Madrid had little trouble traversing Group H – save matches against Tottenham Hotspur. Los Blancos were held 1-1 by the North Londoners at the Santiago Bernabeu before suffering a humbling 3-1 defeat at Wembley in the return fixture.
Four wins from four against Borussia Dortmund and APOEL ensured them of second spot in the group, with Cristiano Ronaldo bagging nine goals in Real’s six games.
That set up a colossal last-16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain, where Zinedine Zidane’s men showed their class and experience to climb through 5-2 on aggregate. Ronaldo scored three times across the tie to keep up his incredible record in front of goal during this year’s tournament.
Their quarter-final match-up with Juventus proved far more taxing. Ronaldo’s incredible bicycle-kick sent them on their way to a seemingly unassailable 3-0 first-leg success in Italy.
But a tremendous fightback from the Old Lady in Spain left Real on their knees. Only a controversial 90th minute penalty guaranteed their spot in the semi-finals after Juve had pulled the tie back to 3-3 on aggregate.
Their semi-final clash with Bayern Munich proved just as tight, although lacking in genuine quality. Goals from Marcelo and Marco Asensio gave the Galacticos a 2-1 first-leg advantage. A 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu, courtesy of a brace from Karim Benzema, sent Zidane’s men through to a third consecutive Champions League Final.
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