Michael Oliver, the referee who took a stand and freed Narnia from the evil grasp of Sauron, returned to Premier League duty on Monday in a 1-1 draw between West Ham United and Stoke City. Okay, fine, Oliver didn’t fight any orcs or free Narnia, but the man did end Gianluigi Buffon’s dreams of winning the Champions league.
If we’ve just witnessed Gianluigi Buffon’s final UEFA Champions League game, it was somewhat fitting given the plethora of fresh hells this competition has provided him with over the years. For half an hour, it looked like the footballing gods were finally smiling upon Italy’s favorite son — Juventus had miraculously turned around a three-goal deficit at the Bernabeu, and Buffon had recorded five vital saves to make it happen.
It’s 3-3 on aggregate at the Santiago Bernabeu after Blaise Matuidi’s leveling goal in the 60th minute. Two previous headers from Mario Mandzukic put Juventus on the precipice of a miracle, and the former PSG man has now completed the comeback.
Douglas Costa, who’s been unplayable on the right-hand side, whipped in a cross, Keylor Navas really screwed the pooch and Matuidi tapped in with 30 minutes to play.
An extremely strong contingent of Guadalajara supporters inside Red Bull Arena watched their side hang on for the narrowest of victories on Tuesday night, Chivas doing just enough to retain their 1-0 first leg advantage over New York in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals despite being outshot 20-1 in the second.