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2023-24 Champions League review

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Image courtesy of Champions League via Twitter
This list shows all thirty-two teams partaking in this year’s Champions League tournament.

The Champions League soccer tournament is back in full swing after the end of the first week of the group stages. As this tournament runs for the year, many fans are excited to watch the competition battle it out to see who will be crowned the best soccer team across Europe. This prestigious tournament has just begun its 2023-2024 season, with its outcomes leaving fans awestruck.

This European soccer tournament consists of thirty-two teams that compete in five rounds to see who will win the glorious trophy. How these teams qualify to play in the tournament is based on how well they played in their domestic soccer league.

The first stage is the group stage in which the teams are divided into eight groups of four teams. These teams play six game matchdays to see who will proceed to the next round. The two teams with the most points in a group will enter the knockout stage. Points are awarded based on performance with a win being three points, a draw being one point, and a loss resulting in no points gained. From the knockout stage, teams go from the sixteenth round to the Quarterfinals, to the Semifinals, and eventually to the Finals.  These knockout rounds are two “legs,” meaning the team plays one match at their home stadium and one match at the opponent’s stadium. The winner moves on to the next round, hoping to make it to the Finals and become that year’s winner.

“Manchester United played below the level that was expected from them and had multiple instances of individual mistakes that made Bayern [Munich] more dominant,” said Franklin Navarro (12).

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Group A’s highlight game was FC Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United F.C. The game was held at the Allianz Arena where Manchester United F.C. put on a lackluster performance that led to defeat with a scoreline of 4-3. Manchester United F.C.’s goalkeeper Andre Onana made a horrendous mistake that cost his team a goal and eventually defeat. The new FC, Bayern Munich, and blockbuster striker Harry Kane put on an excellent display, both scoring and assisting that led his team to victory.

“I was excited to see Arsenal play again after all those years and having that performance against a tough opponent will only benefit their [morale,]” said Eric Hong (12).

Group B’s climatic game Arsenal vs. PSV Eindhoven was played at the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal made its return to the Champions League after six years. In an eventful night, the players of Arsenal had that extra morale boost from the home fans. Twenty-two-year-old right winger Bukayo Saka opened the scoresheet with a goal in the eighth minute that rejuvenated the spirits of Arsenal to later win the game 4-0.

“Before the game started I knew [Jude] Bellingham was going to perform at a world-class level as he has already proven he is amongst the best midfielders in the world at the current moment,” said Eric Hong (12).

The giants of soccer, Real Madrid, took on Union Berlin at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, which is a part of Group C. The fourteen-time Champions League winner had to rely on midfielder Bellingham to secure the three points in the ninety-fourth minute of the game. Bellingham just signed with Real Madrid at around $111,000,000. The twenty-year-old sensation made an instant impact, helping his team win the game during the dying minutes of the match.

“Seeing that goal live when the goalkeeper ran into the cross and headed the ball into the net to level the game in the ninety-fifth minute was surreal,” said Franklin Navarro (12).

Lazio vs. Athletico Madrid played at the Stadio Olimpico,  a part of Group E that had a historic finish to the game. As Lazio trailed the game a late cross into the box saw Ivan Provedel, Lazio’s goalkeeper, rush and head the ball to score the equalizer. This is only the fourth time in which a goalkeeper has scored a goal in the Champions League. The game concluded as a 1-1 draw.

“My prediction of who will win the Champions League this season has to be Manchester City after they not only have just won last year’s tournament but they look more dominant than ever,” said Franklin Navarro (12).

Since Manchester City is in Group G, it had to play against Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad Stadium. After just winning the 2022-2023 Champions League season, Manchester City will be looking to complete the back-to-back tournament wins. An unexpected goal from Red Star Belgrade prompted the defending champions to step up a gear and so they did. Striker Julian Alvarez would score 2 goals and Rodrigo, a midfielder, would score the other. This led Manchester City to a 3-1 victory and strengthened their hopes of winning once again.

As of September 20th, the first matchday of the Champions League has concluded and fans will have to wait until October 3rd to watch the second matchday.

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Jacob Sandoval, Sports Editor

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  • J

    Joshua VuDec 20, 2023 at 11:36 am

    For international sports, it’s perfect that we have an article on soccer. To have students respond to teams in the league is perfect to connect this story to the school. Along with a simple clarification of the league helps me understand the story.

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  • C

    Celeste CarmonaDec 20, 2023 at 11:27 am

    Entertaining article! I like how you put it in chronological order

    Reply