6 Times An English Side Lost The UCL Final 2008 - 2021
How have Premier League sides in the past responded to the ultimate disappointment in the UCL final?
1. Manchester City (2021)
Pep Guardiola’s side already had wrapped up the Premier League title and League Cup when they faced Chelsea at the Estadio do Dragao.
Chelsea themselves waited nine years to first win the Champions League following Roman Abramovich’s game-changing takeover. In that time there were several heartbreaking semi-finals exits, and of course, that runner-up finished with the John Terry slip in 2008.
And another nine years later, they won their second at City’s expense.
Thirteen years after Sheikh Mansour's takeover turned them into contenders, and five years into Guardiola’s reign, City finally reached the final.
But they couldn’t quite make it over the line, left frustrated by Thomas Tuchel’s well-drilled Blues and caught out by a well-worked Kai Havertz goal on the counter – much in the same manner Liverpool just to Madrid.
Despite losing their record goalscorer Sergio Aguero and failing to land Harry Kane – or any striker at all – City brushed themselves off and bounced back, retaining their Premier League crown after pipping Liverpool by just a point in 2021-22.
Having knocked out the champions of Portugal, Sporting, and the champions of Spain, Atletico Madrid, they came five minutes away from booking a second successive Champions League final – but they couldn’t stop Rodrygo or stand in the way of Real Madrid’s destiny in a few madcap injury-time at the Bernabeu.
2. Tottenham (2019)
Mauricio Pochettino cried tears of joy and praised the glory of football after Spurs’ unforgettable comeback victory over Ajax in the 2018-19 semi-finals, but they were unable to make it that one step further.
An early Mohamed Salah penalty gave Liverpool control in 2019 final. With Virgil van Dijk at his very best in the Reds’ backline and Harry Kane looking off-colour after rushing back from injury, Klopp’s men were never going to let it slip. A late Divock Origi strike sealed a 2-0 victory for Liverpool against their Premier League rivals.
That was unfortunately as close as Pochettino’s Spurs would come to glory. The Argentinian was sacked five months later and replaced by Jose Mourinho – who could only lead them to sixth in 2019-20 and was sacked after their top-four charge fell away the following year.
They’re back in the competition again next season. Can Antonio Conte make them contenders again?
3. Liverpool (2018)
After heartbreak in Kyiv – best-remembered for that Sergio Ramos challenge on Salah and those Loris Karius mistakes – Liverpool gave a masterclass in how to rebound.
Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri arrived to bolster Klopp’s squad further. The goalkeeper in particular proved a vital addition as Liverpool went one better and lifted Ol’ Big Ears in 2019.
That year they also reached a tally of 97 Premier League points – a total only ever bettered three times; once themselves when they’d finally win it the following year, and once the same season by champions City, who finished a point ahead at the top of the table.
4. Man Utd (2011)
“They’re the best in Europe, no question about that. In my time as a manager, I would say they’re the best team we’ve faced,” Sir Alex Ferguson said after their 3-1 defeat at Wembley to Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona.
“Everyone acknowledges that and I accept that. It’s not easy when you’ve been well beaten like that to think another way. No one has given us a hiding like that.”
Ferguson would stay two more years. In 2011-12 they suffered a shock elimination at the group stage before being defeated by Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League Round of 16, while Sergio Aguero’s last-minute winner against QPR denied them the league title.
The legendary manager waved goodbye after emphatically delivering a 13th Premier League title, but his last European campaign ended in controversy and disappointment – with Luis Nani sent off against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16.
5. Man Utd (2009)
Having won it the year before, Manchester United became the last member of the old ‘Sky Four’ to suffer a defeat in the Champions League final in as many years.
Ferguson’s men had an opportunity to become the first side in the Champions League era to retain the trophy but they came up against a special treble-winning Barcelona side, losing 2-0 in Rome.
The 2009-10 campaign would be a disappointment for the Red Devils. They did win the League Cup but finished runners-up in the league – after winning three in a row – to Chelsea and went out on away goals to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.
6. Chelsea (2008)
One spot-kick away from beating Manchester United on penalties, Chelsea fans could be forgiven for thinking it was never going to happen after Terry’s foot gave way.
They did, of course, eventually get their hands on the trophy four years later. But there was more frustration to come, not least in their 2008-09 semi-final elimination to eventual winners Barcelona.
Don’t mention the name Tom Henning Ovrebo around certain parts of west London…
Source: Planet Football