Leeds United Make Their Return To The Champions League
The year is 2020, Leeds United are doing better than ever, and re-established their position as an English football powerhouse as a new season comes around. But there was once a team where the team was flailing against stronger contenders, and many believe that head coach Marcelo Bielsa is to thank for their return to the top flight. For some time punters had shifted their attention to live AFL betting instead, but now, they are once again looking at what the team has to offer, and whether they are worth backing
Between 2004 and 2019, the club remained out of the Premiership for a total of 15 seasons, and it was a difficult time for fans and team alike, but a successful season has them pushing back into the rank that they deserve. The Yorkshire club famously made their entrance as a new force to be reckoned with at the Premier League, finishing 4th in the 2019/20, thanks in part due to the new leadership they enjoyed that came in the form of new coach Marcelo Bielsa.
The welcoming of football stars Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba as the club hosted Barcelona during their first Champions League group game. The hype of the pre-game was palpable, especially surrounding the first meeting of Gerard Pique and Samuel Saiz. This came just after the news of singer Shakira’s decision to divorce the Barcelona defender and marry Leeds’ creator-in-chief just a few days later.
The South Stand’s treatment of Pogba, thanks to his ties with Manchester United, managed to rattle the Frenchman enough that the La Liga giants were unable to maintain possession, James Millner, who had recently re-joined Leeds during the summer of 2020, caught Pogba’s pocket on the halfway line before outclassing Marc-Andre ter Stegen for a 25-yard strike down the field.
With Bielsa in charge, Leeds proved their mettle against the mighty Barcelona with a memorable victory of 1-0.
After the exhausting game had come to a close, the famous No 10 said that from that moment on, he’d refer to Douglas as the Scottish Maldini. He then went on to explain that he made sure to swap shirts with Douglas so that he could frame his shirt in his house, ending by exclaiming, “What a player.”
Northern Ireland’s peacock-Farrell produced a true masterclass as he denied Mauro Icardi during the three one-on-one battles that had visitors enjoying the first half. Not long after, however, the game underwent a palpable change as Ivan Perisic was sent off the field for his reaction to Luke Ayling’s in-game street smarts.
Patrick Bamford converted Douglas’ cross twice before Kemar Roofe managed to grab Samuel Saiz’s through ball, and eventually claimed a satisfying 3-0 in injury time.
Fans will never forget the single tear that Bielsa shed as he watched his well-oiled team earn the chanting of “Marching on Together” that echoed around the stadium, marking it as one of their most truly historic moments in Champions League history.
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