Weekend Review In Sports

Weekend Review In Sports

This weekend of sport has been one to remember. One of triumph, of defeat, and of the archaic power structures acting in negligible ways towards people and groups who have to continually suffer at the hands of government bodies. For this weekend’s review, there will be a mix of moment-making excellence and dispiriting acts that make you question the sensibilities of sports governing structures.

 

The Champions League Final

 

Before we get caught in the maelstrom of madness that has haunted the post Champions League Final discourse, let’s focus on football. Despite long periods of sustained pressure, Liverpool were unable to break down a resilient, well-organised, and highly experienced Real Madrid side who were able to capitalise on Liverpool’s pressure with a devastating counter attack, finishing the game as 1-0 winners thanks to Vinicius Jr.

 

This is in no small part due to the excellence of former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who was quite frankly ridiculous. For some, Courtois’s performance was so good that it has been suggested that it was the stand out goalkeeping performance in a Champions League Final post-2000.

 

Liverpool’s intention was to dictate the pace of the game, generating an increasing sense of tension at the heart of Real Madrid’s midfield. However, having been unable to capitalise on a litany of early chances, Liverpool were slowly constricted by Real Madrid’s uniquely challenging game plan.

 

Trent Alexander Arnold lost Vinicius Jr for a split second and within that time he found his way in behind, finishing his chance and putting Real Madrid ahead. Their stoicism and wily acumen prevented Liverpool from creating too many chances, despite a delightful Salah chance in the 82nd minute that was scuppered by Courtois as the motif of the game continued.

 

Ultimately, Liverpool lost, failing to capitalise on their second place finish in the hopes it would spur them onto Champions League victory. Nonetheless, the events of the game have been overshadowed by the gargantuan collection of complications that have surfaced following the match.

 

The game was initially delayed by 36 minutes as it was suggested Liverpool fans were struggling to enter the ground due to a high number of fake tickets. However, as most will have seen by this point, the footage of Liverpool fans of all ages as well as the press getting sprayed with pepper spray, robbed, and generally abused harkens back to deeply sensitive and dark moments in the history of Liverpool Football Club.

 

A disparity in reports from British and French media have failed to clarify the details, rather unsurprisingly polarising Franco-English relations even more than they already are, specifically politically. Boris Johnson’s spokesperson stated:

 

“We know many Liverpool fans travelled to Paris in good time to support their team in one of the biggest matches of the season, and we’re hugely disappointed at how they were treated. Fans deserve to know what happened, so we’re urging Uefa to work closely with the French authorities on a full investigation, and to publish its findings.”

 

“We’ve seen statements from Uefa which also claim the delay to kick-off was caused by the late arrival of fans. That doesn’t chime with the experience of many of those standing outside the stadium.”

 

Didier Lallement, the Chief of Paris police, explained that the use of pepper spray and tear gas was “regrettably necessary”. Disappointingly, Real Madrid are unable to fully enjoy their victory, and Liverpool are unable to fully accept their defeat due to the shortcomings of organising bodies and French security services. For club football’s most important game, this leaves a tainted aftertaste in the mouths of many. Expect the news cycle to continually revolve around this issue throughout this week and next.

 

In terms of club rivalry, it may be fair to suggest that Liverpool and Real Madrid are now fierce on-field rivals, perhaps more so than Liverpool’s semi-forced rivalry with Manchester City.

 

Championship Play-Off Final

 

Well, they’re back. After 23 years away from the Premier League, Nottingham Forest will return following a scrappy 1-0 win over Huddersfield town.

 

Unfortunately for Huddersfield fans and players, the narrative was always going to be geared towards the idea that Nottingham Forest would secure promotion. Steve Cooper’s side will be looking at how best to spend their £135 million if they are to stay in the Premier League after what was far from a dominant display, relying on an unfortunate own goal from Levi Colwill to put them ahead and ultimately decide the fixture.

 

This is not to say that things were smooth sailing for Forest. Huddersfield should have been awarded at least one penalty, if not two. Their finishing failed to surpass the level required to get them over the line in such a huge game, but The Terriers did themselves proud and will be looking at maintaining their pressure on the top of the Championship next season.

 

Johnson, Spence, and Davis were all relatively quiet for Nottingham Forest despite being a raucous trio throughout this season for the club. Despite this, Forest did what they needed to do, win the game. Their fans were truly exceptional. The inevitability of the day was further enhanced by the conviction in their cheers, jeers, and songs.

 

Ten years of turbulence later, Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League. The goal now is to remain, whether they can or not, time will tell. For now, it is celebration season for The Reds. Will this sleeping giant reawaken for real this time? We shall wait and see.

 

Formula 1

 

Red Bull outsmart Ferrari to claim top spot in Monaco as Sergio Perez claims his first victory of the season whilst Mick Schumacher’s crash was unpleasant viewing for all.

 

It is almost too easy to turn any Formula 1 news into a debate between Verstappen and Hamilton despite Hamilton’s dower season so far. It is worthwhile giving some much needed attention to Carlos Perez who competed excellently in qualifying, placing ahead of teammate Verstappen, and putting him within six points of LeClerc.

 

Monaco lived up to its increasing reputation of being imperceptibly difficult to overtake throughout the course. This in turn allowed Perez to maintain his lead despite a barrage of sustained pressure in the closing stages.

 

With the football season over, all attention will turn to Formula 1 as the season begins to heat up. A two week break is next on the cards before a double header of races in Baku then Montreal. Keep your eyes on the road as the season begins to move at full force.

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