Valerie, Spain – In the corner of the Estadio de la Céramica, which was left entirely at the mercy of the elements, fans began to take off their scarves. On the scoreboard behind him, the clock was ticking 90 minutes. On the field in front of him, Villarreal was on loan time in the Champions League.
That’s when he started singing. As Liverpool enjoyed a rare moment of calm after an evening storm, and finalized their 3-2 victory, the rest of the stadium watched what was happening in the corner, and raised the tune. He also held up his scarf, a sign of deviation, loyalty, and gratitude.
And then, when the whistle blew and it was all over, as the Valerian players mourned around the stadium, their heads bowed and their eyes watering, the tempo quickened. The scarf began to spin and spin, the mood was changing from the remorse that had been taken away to what was left. In pain He was proud.
In fact, how painful it was, perhaps, was the best measure of how close the Emerald Valerian of Unai Emery came. This team should not have been in the semi-finals of the Champions League, not really. European football’s elite competition is designed so that it is unlikely that any team of its stature will be able to travel that far in the tournament.
Villarreal certainly did not get a chance to advance to the second round. It was sent to Anfield last week, by mutual consent, in the light of the depth of Liverpool’s resources and the scope of its power, and the sheer gravity of Jurgen Klopp’s team. The return leg, more than anything, was an administrative hurdle that had to be cleared, a form had to be completed.
The town of Villarreal, is an interesting place to stage a game of this magnitude: a satellite of nearby Castéllon, quieter and better than anything, and, after a day spent in torrential rain, almost completely deserted. The streets were filled with songs in both English and Spanish.
If the sense of opportunity that usually accompanies the most seismic games in the European calendar is missing outside, it is clear from the inside. For the first time, Villarreal arranged a mosaic: a blue submarine against a yellow background, the club’s slogan, Endavant, raised in capital letters. The announcer of the public speech spoke of believing in the return.
Any suspects would be replaced within three minutes, as Bole Dia did not intentionally tap the house with Etienne Capo’s cross, and the ceramica began to melt. Suddenly, everything seemed possible. Liverpool, so smooth and smooth in a 2-0 victory six days ago, were struggling to complete a pass.
Halfway through, he lost his temper and lost confidence, and then, when he thought he could do it, his advantage was gone. Capoue deliberately crossed this time. Francis Cocklin left for home. Villarreal’s bench was empty on the field, the coaches and substitutes and numerous assistants could not believe what they were seeing.
At the moment, 2-2 at half-time of the second half, Valerie’s players were standing at a touch. The final was there, right there, and they could occupy a place inside it. Villarreal will be the smallest town in a short distance to send a team to the biggest game of football.
In the era set and designed by Goliath, this would be the team that was built on a shoe that did what Ajax and Monaco and RB Leipzig couldn’t do and accomplished. And he can do so by pulling his entry into the ever-expanding book of tears in the eyes of the Champions League, which, like Barcelona (2017), Roma (2018), Liverpool (2019) and Real Madrid, has made a name for itself. There is a miracle to give. (Passim)
Hope and belief are on the same axis in different places. Villarreal, in the space of 45 minutes, had traveled all the way along with it.
And then, while he was there, in their grip, he was snatched away. Klopp introduced a $ 45 million forward, Diego Jotta, and another, Louis Diaz. The switch changed the speed irresistibly. Trent Alexander Arnold hit the bar. Diaz tried a great overhead kick. And then Mohammad Salah slammed Fabinho and his shot went into Geronimo Roli’s legs. At that moment, it was all over.
Five minutes later, Diaz scored to head the cross under the roulette. Five minutes later, Sadio Mané put Liverpool ahead at night, leaching near Alexander-Arnold, passing through Rowley, he went out of his goal and into midfield, and then quietly took the ball. Put in the net
Perhaps, in hindsight, this would have been easier if Valerie hadn’t heard the siren call of possibility. Maybe it’s easier to go quietly, to fall prey to the inevitable. It may have hurt less. But then the journey is not determined by the destination.
Villarreal beat Juventus in Turin in the Round of 16. He silenced Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals. And it produced 45 minutes to see Liverpool – a team that is now reaching the final of the third Champions League in five years – a team pursuing an unprecedented and rarely possible clean sweep of trophies. – So much so that when Klopp asked his assistant Peter Kravitz, to point out a “single example” of a good game from the first half and to show it to the players for encouragement, he returned and told him that there Nothing found.
And he did it all on a budget that is part of his rivals, in an ecosystem where the big beasts eat most of the oxygen, and with a team that has been wasted and dismissed. There was a common root of pride and pain: sometimes, a painful wound feels like a seed of honor.
“Soccer is beautiful,” said Raul Albiol, captain of Villarreal. As time goes on, he knows what difference it will make if Valeriel falls 45 minutes away from the Champions League final, but he is in a position to fall 45 minutes short of the Champions League final.
“It was a defeat,” he said, “but we will always remember that run.”