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Two "Remontadas" make Liverpool epic. Villarreal attacks arbitration

Two “Remontadas” make Liverpool epic. Villarreal attacks arbitration

Liverpool scored three goals in the second half to make up for its two-goal delay to win 3-2 at its host Villarreal in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final and reach the final, in a match that saw “Remontada” at the beginning for Villarreal, and another similar to Liverpool.
The Reds trailed 2-0 after a lackluster performance in the first half before rebounding and scoring three goals within 12 minutes after the break to reach the third Champions League final in five seasons.
The English team won 2-0 in England, but appeared in danger of falling on a wet floor in Spain, where the visitors led with two goals through Boulay Dea and Francis Coquelin.
But Liverpool started the second half differently, and goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane gave them victory and qualification, after Villarreal finished the match with ten men after Etienne Capo was sent off in the 85th minute for a second warning.
German coach Jurgen Klopp’s team will meet the qualifiers from Real Madrid or Manchester City in the second leg of the semi-final match.
The final will be held in Paris on May 28. City beat Real Madrid 4-3 at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester in the first leg last week.
Villarreal used its loyal fans who crowded its modest stadium, as it opened the goals three minutes after the start with a shot from Dia, to chant the fans, “Yes, we can!”
Villarreal did not do well in the first leg at Anfield, but it looked like a completely different team as they attacked Liverpool with the same ferocity that knocked out Juventus in the last 16 and Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
The constant pressure of the owners of the land forced Liverpool to make mistakes that it does not usually commit, as the accuracy of the visitors’ passes reached 66 percent, which is the lowest percentage for the team in the first half in all its matches in all competitions this season.
Villarreal equalized in both games with a close-range header from Coquelin and looked on the verge of a miraculous comeback.
Klopp pushed Diaz after the break to change the shape of the match, to find the space between Villarreal’s defenses, whose players seemed to lose their physical fitness.
With Liverpool’s pressure mounting, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before he netted the hosts, and indeed the goal came at the end after a wonderful exchange of the ball between Fabinho and Mohamed Salah on the right side.
The Brazilian midfielder grabbed the ball near Villarreal’s penalty area and bypassed two defenders before exchanging the ball with the Egyptian Salah.
Salah sent the ball to his colleague between three defenders to put him in a solitary position and hit the floor in the net from a difficult angle between the legs of Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli, who had a difficult match.
Liverpool continued the pressure, led by Diaz, who entered the penalty area and converted a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold with a header to put the ball into the goal easily in the 67th minute.
Seven minutes later, Rowley tried to clear a long pass before it reached Mane outside the penalty area, but he failed to shoot it, leaving the Senegalese striker alone to put the ball into the empty net.
Villarreal played with ten men five minutes from the end after Capoy, who had a superb performance in the first half and assisted both goals, got his second yellow card after a strong interference with Curtis Jones.
Liverpool central defender Virgil van Dijk said: “The early goal didn’t help us, it helped them a lot so we had to play hard and be very mature. It is clear that in the second half we did a great performance.”
Villarreal club president Fernando Roig criticized the referee’s performance for not awarding a penalty “blatantly”.
Roig referred to the game in which Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson went out against Lo Celso and dropped him to the ground, but the referee considered that he had touched the ball first, and then the result indicated that Villarreal had progressed 1-0.
He explained that the potential error would have also led to the Reds goalkeeper being sent off.
In televised comments after the match, Roig said: “Honestly, it was a scandal. I don’t want it to be an excuse because the opponent is a great team that we could have lost with more goals in the first leg, but that doesn’t mean that the refereeing today doesn’t have the right level for this type of match. His performance had an impact on the result.”
He continued, “We were very good in the first half, we were very superior, and we managed to equalize, but after an effort in the first 45 minutes, the team lost its strength. And Liverpool’s first and second goals exhausted us quickly.”

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