The UEFA Champions League,the most popular football club competition in the world,delights us from time to time with some truly dramatic clashes whose outcome is often decided at the very last moment.A special place among such thrilling games is represented by the very rare cases in which a team manages to come from behind and score twice in the added time of a match,winning it against all odds.
The most famous example of such an incredible reversal is represented by the final,played in Barcelona between Manchester United and Bayern Munich.After taking an early lead the Germans were incontrol of the game until the very last minute;basically,only 3 minutes of added time stood between them and the moment of glory,when their nightmare began.Sheringham amnd Solskjaer did the unthinkable in those three minutes by scoring the goals which sent the English to heaven and the Germans to the opposite direction.That match with its hallucinating end still remains one of the most memorable in the history of the game.
Fourteen years later,the 2012/2013 edition of the world’s most prestigious club tournament offered us another incredible match.After a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the
quarter finals in Malaga,Borussia Dortmund was favorite to go through to the last four,but I was sure that the visitors would give the Germans a lot of headaches,and so they did.While Borussia failed to deliver the fantastic and extremely efficient play which stunned many people during this season and which helped them take 4 points out of 6 from the mighty Real Madrid in the group stages,Malaga showed an incredible determination.The German football machine,usually very effective,was basically annihilated by a resolute defense and the deadly counter attacks,also helped by a less inspired linesman,who failed to notice the off side position in the second goal,allowed them to have a 2-1 advantage in the 90th minute.
Who would have thought,when 4 minutes of added time were shown,that Borussia,who seemed to be resigned to its fate,would find the strength for a final assault and score twice in such a short time?I supposeeven the most enthusiastic German fans didn’t believe in a come back,and unfortunately for the Spaniards,they didn’t believe it either and,deceived by the inability of the Germans to threaten their goal, let their guard down instead of remaining focused until the end.It was a fatal mistake for Malaga,cause the unimaginable happened again,fourteen years after that incredible final;first Reus equalized after a mistake committed by a Spanish defender,but Malaga still had the advantage of the away goals.Only a minute later Santana scored the goal which took the home fans fro agony to ecsasy in just a few minutes,while Malaga players remained bewildered and unable to understand how their beautiful dream could turn into a nightmare in just a few minutes.
The suspense of such a game,besides showing us how exciting the Champions League,teaches us a few lessons that go beyond the boundaries of sports and can be applied in life as general.The most important lesson in my opinion is the fact,no matter how difficult the path we follow is,we mustn’t give up hope,but keep on following our dream and believe that the reward for our efforts will finally come.On the other hand,just like a football team shouldn’t relax even if it has quite a significant advantage over its opponent until the referee blows his final whistle,we must remain concentrated on our goals until we reach them,and only afterwards we can celebrate our success.After all,the winner is the one who laughs at the end.