Champions League Final 2017
We're here today for the biggest event in European football - the 2017 Champions League Final, contested between two English clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool. Both have been playing at the top of their game, finishing 1st and 2nd in their domestic league respectively, but things are very much even between the two sides and this is definitely going to be an interesting clash of the titans.
Drawn into Group G, Chelsea started their Champions League campaign rather poorly with a loss to Valencia, but moved on soon enough, not losing any more of their group games against BATE and Basel. Despite their best efforts, they finished 2nd, going on to face Atletico Madrid in the First Knockout Round.
Atletico were expected to pose as a big challenge, but Chelsea took them down easily. Next came Juventus, who failed to get past the in-form Blues. Bayern were their last victims, with Pep Guardiola's side failing to score a single goal in both legs and eventually succumbing to a 3-0 loss.
Starting 11: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Pepe, Terry, Bertrand; Khedira, Rakitic, Willian; Oscar, Hazard; Costa
Subs: Cech, Musacchio, Cahill, Fabregas, Musonda, Schurrle, Remy
Prior to the game, Chelsea were dealt a huge blow, with Juan Cuadrado, one of their best players alongside Eden Hazard this season, not being able to play because of a broken foot. As a result, Oscar has been moved to his place in the starting lineup on the right wing. There are no real surprises with the lineup that Jose Mourinho has chosen to go for - the recent Premier League Manager of the Year winner reasonably opts to not change a title-winning starting eleven. Hazard is going to cause some big problems for Liverpool, but Oscar and Diego Costa cannot be overlooked either.
Drawn into a fairly troublesome Group B containing the likes of Real Madrid and Napoli, Liverpool showed they meant business by not losing a single game, drawing twice against Real before crushing Vitesse 7-0 and Napoli 3-0. Topping their group saw them face Inter Milan in the First Knockout Round.
Liverpool easily brushed their Italian opponents aside with a 6-2 scoreline before running Porto into the ground, putting another 6 goals past the Portuguese champions. Longtime rivals Manchester United awaited in the Semi Final and gave Liverpool one of their toughest Champions League games yet, but a 3-0 win in the second leg at Anfield sent the Reds cruising to a comeback.
Starting 11: Mignolet; Clyne, Umtiti, Balanta, Alaba; Gerrard, Ward-Prowse, Garcia; Ibe, Sterling, Zivkovic
Subs: Steele, Joseph, Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel, Romero, Balotelli
Liverpool are in somewhat of a crisis - Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, and Lazar Markovic will be missing out on the Champions League Final because of injury, while vice-captain Jordan Henderson cannot play either after his dismissal against United in the previous round. Mario Balotelli, who has just recovered from his torn calf muscle, is also not fit enough to start and has to settle for a place on the bench, although the forward is expected to play a part in the later stages of the match. Instead, Brendan Rodgers has chosen to play young winger Jordon Ibe. Without Sturridge, Richairo Zivkovic has to fill in, and the Dutchman will be supported by Raheem Sterling, who has been pushed out to an attacking midfield role, a position usually occupied by the absent Coutinho.
9' - GOAL! Chelsea certainly didn't take too long to make an impression! Ivan Rakitic swings a free kick into the Liverpool box for Diego Costa to get to it, and the striker powers an unstoppable header into goal! Chelsea take the lead!
Diego Costa celebrates wildly as he gets Chelsea off to a flyer
21' - Liverpool want an equaliser, but they are simply not getting it as Zivkovic's shot is brilliantly turned around the post by Thibaut Courtois.
25' - GOAL! Liverpool find the goal that they want! Nathaniel Clyne plays Jordon Ibe into a dangerous area, and the winger surges forward to smash it into the top left corner of the net.
30' - GOAL! Simply amazing! Zivkovic meets the cross of Ruben Garcia with a ferocious left-footed volley to give his side the lead! No goalkeeper in the world could have saved that one! Magical stuff from Zivkovic!
Richairo Zivkovic is delighted at his wonder goal
43' - Eden Hazard makes a superb pass to Costa, and the Spaniard jinks past Balanta and Umtiti to try for a second goal, but the lightning fast reflexes of Simon Mignolet keeps the score in Liverpool's favor.
45' - HT: Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool. After Chelsea's quick 9th-minute goal, Liverpool turned things around with two quickfire goals in five minutes from Jordon Ibe and Richairo Zivkovic. Can Chelsea turn things around?
45' - Liverpool kick off the second half of the Champions League Final here at Estádio da Luz.
50' - It's a penalty! Willian brings down Clyne in the Chelsea box and the referee instantly points to the spot!
51' - GOAL! Steven Gerrard makes no mistake, and the Liverpool captain beats Courtois to make it 1-3! Is there any way back for Chelsea?
Steven Gerrard tucks his penalty in confidently to put Liverpool ahead by two goals
65' - Ibe, eager to complete a brace, snatches the ball away from Ryan Bertrand and fires toward goal at a tight angle, but it goes straight into the hands of Courtois.
78' - Chelsea are having to send their men behind regularly as Liverpool press the attack, and it's almost 1-4 as Zivkovic has an effort punched to the right by Courtois. Substitute Balotelli comes for the ball and slams it against the woodwork, and the danger is eventually cleared by Cesar Azpilicueta.
90' - FT: Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool. And with that, it's all over! Liverpool will be taking home the Champions League title! Magnificent football on display here!