Will there be another ‘Miracle in Istanbul’ at the Kamal Ataturk Stadium today?
The first ‘miracle’ happened in the 2005 Champions League final. It was an incredible match that went against every prediction.
In that match, AC Milan took a 3-0 lead against Liverpool in just 44 minutes. AC Milan could already sense the champions league trophy heading their way when they returned to the field after half-time break. But what happened next, is now part of Champions League folklore.
Liverpool scored thrice in between 54-61 minutes, which took the match into extra time and then a tie-breaker, where Liverpool done what seemed impossible and won the Champions League!
18 years after that fateful night in Istanbul, the same venue is hosting the final of the Champions League. This time too, an English and an Italian club –Manchester City and Inter Milan – are playing in the final.
The parallels don’t end just here. This is the first time Man City and Inter are facing off in a competitive match. Meaning, before tonight’s match, which will begin at 1:00am Bangladesh Standard Time, these two clubs have never faced off in any competition.
Coincidentally, 18 years ago, Liverpool and AC Milan also faced off for the first time in the Champions League final.
Once again, two heavyweight European clubs from the same two countries are clashing for the first time at the same venue in the final of the biggest club football competition in Europe. The similarities are evoking a feeling in football romantics that another miracle might be in the offing.
But on paper, the chances of that happening is next to none. According to the analysts, the odds are overwhelmingly in Manchester City’s favour.
Man City are in red hot form. They have already won the English Premier League and the FA Cup and are counting down the days before winning the illusive ‘treble’.
Pep Guardiola’s side are yet to lose a match in this year’s Champions League. They have won seven out of 12 matches on their way to the final of the Champions League. They have knocked out teams like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Manchester City have the chance to become the 15th team to be crowned as the undefeated champion in the Champions League and European Cup combined.
Inter Milan have their work cut out if they want to defeat the English club. Liverpool faced a similar hurdle when they were trailing AC Milan 0-3 at the halfway point before pulling off a miracle. Now, it’s Inter’s turn to follow suit.
Can Simone Inzaghi’s team do it? We will find out in a few hours.