Decoding the five best Champions League matches in 2021
The year 2021 is coming to an end and over the period we witnessed several top matches in the UEFA Champions League. The knockout stages of the 2020-21 season and the group stage of this campaign saw top-notch performances in Europe's biggest competition. Ahead of the UCL 2021-22 knockout stages starting in February 2022, we look at the best matches in 2021.
The Champions League is a marquee tournament having the best European teams qualify every year. From Chelsea winning the 2020-21 UCL final to Manchester United striking late to overcome Villarreal and Atalanta this season, there were some terrific performances we witnessed in the UCL.
Chelsea won their second Champions League trophy and a first since 2012-13 after beating Manchester City 1-0 in the final. The game started at a frantic pace as Chelsea dominated in terms of chances as Timo Werner spurned the same. City almost went ahead but Antonio Rudiger's last-gasp challenge prevented a goal. Ahead of half-time, Kai Havertz netted the opener for Chelsea.
Cristiano Ronaldo helped Manchester United beat Villarreal 2-1 on matchday two of the UCL 2021-22 campaign. His goal in the 95th minute helped United seal the deal. Ronaldo scored from Jesse Lingard's lay-off to spark celebration scenes at Old Trafford. United were under the mat in the first half as Villarreal dominated the show. They netted the opener before United scored two stunning goals.
Matchday six of the Champions League 2021-22 season saw Zenit spoil Chelsea's top-place ambitions in Group H. Timo Werner scored an early goal before Zenit fought back to take a 2-1 lead into half-time. Werner set up Romelu Lukaku for the equalizer before netting his second in the 85th minute. Substitute Magomed Ozdoev scored in the 94th minute as Chelsea finished behind Juventus.
Defending champions Bayern Munich were knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of the Champions League 2021-22 season in April. The first leg saw PSG prevail in a five-goal thriller. Kylian Mbappe scored the opener before Marquinhos doubled PSG's lead. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting pulled one back for Bayern as Thomas Muller equalized after half-time. Mbappe clinched the winner for PSG eventually (68th minute).
Manchester United rallied from 2-0 down to turn things around against Atalanta in the UCL 2021-22 season on matchday three. United were 2-0 down at half-time before going on to win 3-2. Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral scored for Atalanta as Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire's goals saw United level at 2-2. Ronaldo scored a superb winner in the 81st minute.