Well, that was ludicrous. And brilliant.
Liverpool overcame a 0-3 first-leg deficit against Barcelona to win 4-0 in front of a boisterous Anfield crowd, while Tottenham rallied from 0-2 down in the first half of the second leg (0-3 on aggregate) to score three second-half goals and stun a packed Amsterdam Arena.
As we look forward to a final few saw coming, here are the best numbers from the madness of the last two days.
Ajax picked the worst possible time for an unlikely collapse – the defeat was their first ever Champions League loss in 56 games when scoring first (won 45, drew 10).
This is also the first time that Barcelona have been eliminated in the knockouts stage of the Champions League when Lionel Messi has scored in at least one of the two legs.
Tottenham and Liverpool were both runners-up in their respective groups, clinching safe passage to the knockouts only after the final round of group matches. This will make the 2019 final just the second time that the Champions League’s showpiece event will be contested between teams that finished second in the group stage (the other was Bayern Munich v Inter Milan in 2010).
Tottenham are the second team to make the final after losing the first leg of their semifinal at home. Ironically, the only other team to achieve this was Ajax, against Panathinaikos in 1996. Also, Tottenham are the first team to come from two goals behind in the same match and win a Champions League semi-final since Manchester United beat Juventus 3-2 at Turin in 1999.
The 2019 Champions League final will be only the third major European final in history to feature two English teams, after the 1972 UEFA Cup final (Spurs v Wolves) and the 2008 Champions League final (Manchester United v Chelsea).
Liverpool’s win was the third time a team has won a European Cup semi-final after losing the first leg by three goals, after Panathinaikos (1971) and Barcelona themselves (1986).
Lucas Moura is the fifth player to score a hat trick in a Champions League semi-final following the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Ivica Olic, and Alessandro del Piero. Before his exploits on Wednesday night, Moura hadn’t scored a single goal in 19 Champions League knockout games.
No player has surprisingly ever scored a hat-trick in the Champions League final.
This season has witnessed six different instances of a team progressing to the next round after losing their first leg, the most in the competition’s history. Manchester United (3-3 aggregate against Parist Saint Germain), Ajax (5-3 against Real Madrid), Juventus (3-2 against Atletico Madrid) and Porto (4-3 against AS Roma) all overturned first-leg deficits in the Round of 16, before Liverpool and Tottenham pulled off their miraculous comebacks this week.
Tottenham are the eighth different English club to reach the European Cup Final. No country has had more different clubs reach the final.
Liverpool will be preparing for their ninth European Cup final appearance, the tied fourth highest among all clubs. Real Madrid with 16 final appearances lead the pack, followed by AC Milan with 11 and Bayern Munich with 10. Juventus also have nine final appearances.
One might say Mauricio Pochettino Mourinho-ed that semi-final. Except, instead of a tall, gangly, awkward Belgian dominating Ajax in the air, Pochettino had a tall, gangly, awkward Basque doing it. Fernando Llorente won 13 aerial duels in the second half, tied for the fourth-most in a single Champions League game since 2010-11. Llorente only came on in the second half.
Lucas Moura’s game-winning goal is tied for the latest game-winner in regulation time in Champions League history, along with Anderson Talisca for Benfica against Zenit st Petersburg in 2016, and Giampaolo Pazzini for Inter Milan against Marseille in 2012.