5 of the Most Memorable UCL Matches During the 2021/22 Season

Jordan Edmonds

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Man City 6-3 RB Leipzig

One of the most entertaining ties of the tournament saw Manchester City and RB Leipzig kick off their UCL campaigns in some style. It was a goal-fest at the Etihad with nine goals, a hat-trick, and a red card.

With PSG and Club Brugge the other teams in the group, both sides were after some big points to get their tournament off on the right foot. Two early goals, one from Nathan Ake and an own goal from Nordi Mukiele, put City 2-0 up inside 28 minutes and the game looked as though it was going to be one-way traffic.

Leipzig did respond, with Christopher Nkunku grabbing his first of the game just before half time. There was even still time for another, with Riyad Mahrez’s stoppage-time penalty seeing the sides go in with a 3-1 the scoreline.

Leipzig struck first in the second half, Nkunku finding the net again, before Jack Grealish marked his Champions League debut with a goal. Nkunku completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute and you might have thought that the German outfit were on course to snatch something from the game.

However, those plans were scuppered when a red card for former City defender Angelino left Leipzig a man down with just over ten minutes left to play. Pep Guardiola’s side took full advantage, with Joao Cancelo and Gabriel Jesus sealing City’s emphatic win late on.

It's not often that a player scores a hat-trick and still ends up on the losing team. That emphasised just how wild this game was.

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Real Madrid 1-2 Sheriff

It’s crazy to think that the eventual winners of the competition lost their first home game in the group stages to FC Sheriff – the lowest-ranked team in the competition. It really was a David vs Goliath situation, with the small team from Moldova shocking everyone to claim a huge win at the Bernabeu.

Jasurbek Yakhshiboev opened the scoring for the visitors in the 25th minute with a free header at the back post. Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard and Fede Valverde all went close with chances, but it wasn’t until the 65th minute when Madrid finally found a way through, with Benzema converting a penalty to draw level.

From then, Los Blancos were the favourites to go on and spare their blushes and brush the visitors aside. However, an incredible half-volley from Sébastien Thill in the 89th minute curled past Thibaut Courtois and sent Sheriff fans, coaches, and players into jubilation with a strike worthy of winning any game.

The game will go down as one of the biggest upsets in UCL history, especially after Madrid went on to win the competition.

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Manchester United 3-2 Atalanta

After already falling to a disappointing defeat against Young Boys in Matchday one, Manchester United knew they had to get some points on the board in their next group games to keep in with a chance of progressing from a tough group that also featured Villareal and Atalanta. The Italian outfit were the visitors to Old Trafford in October, with United in search of points.

Things did not start well at all for United, with Atalanta 2-0 up before the half-hour mark. The Red Devils missed plenty of chances, with Marcus Rashford squandering his fair share, which made it look as though it just wasn’t going to be his, and United’s night.

The English attacker finally prevailed and managed to get his name on the scoresheet in the 53rd minute. It wasn’t just a consolation goal though and was the catalyst for another Old Trafford comeback, with an unlikely strike from Harry Maguire drawing the hosts level in the 75th. Six minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a towering header to complete the comeback and send the Theatre of Dreams wild.

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Real Madrid 3-1 PSG

It shows just how amazing and dramatic Real Madrid’s run to their final was, when you see how many times they feature on this list. After topping their group and advancing to the knockouts, Madrid were faced with PSG in the Round of 16, and the clash between two heavyweights didn’t disappoint.

Following a slender one-goal advantage courtesy of a late Kylian Mbappe goal in the first leg, Madrid needed to overcome the odds to progress to the quarter-finals. Those odds looked even bigger when Mbappe was on hand again, to send the Parisians 2-0 up on aggregate in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

It looked like PSG were on the way to the next round, but Karim Benzema slotted home in the 61st to give Madrid some optimism. Then, 15 minutes later, the Frenchman struck again to level the aggregate score line and fire the Spanish giants up. Just two minutes later, Benzema was ice-cold again to bend an outside of the foot shot past Gianluigi Donnarumma and send Madrid into elation.

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Real Madrid 3-1 Man City

Carlo Ancelotti’s men booked their place in the final by knocking out Manchester City in the semi-finals after producing yet another sensational comeback. Both legs were blockbuster matches with plenty of drama, but the second leg in Madrid has to go down as one of the best games of the season.

The seven-goal thriller from the first leg meant that City went to the Bernabeu with a one-goal advantage. As Los Blancos had shown in the Round of 16 and in the first leg though, they never knew when to give up.

Riyad Mahrez’s 73rd-minute strike looked like it had killed the tie and sent the Sky Blues through to the final.

Yet, despite not having a single shot on target all game, Madrid staged the most incredible of comebacks, which got off the mark when substitute Rodrygo flicked it past Ederson to give Ancelotti’s side some hope. The Brazilian added a second late goal, a header in the added time, to remarkably dash City’s two-goal advantage and send the game to extra time.

Karim Benzema completed the astonishing turnaround with a penalty in extra time, which capped off a truly unforgettable two legs of action and sent Madrid to Paris.