Goals galore, added-time drama and more than the odd upset – the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League season has been one to remember.
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As the UEFA Champions League season heads towards its finale in Paris, UEFA.com picks out ten games that had us gripped above all others. Vote for your favourite.
Man. City 6-3 Leipzig (Matchday 1)
On any other day, Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku would have taken the plaudits for a well-taken hat-trick at the City of Manchester Stadium, but even that feat was overshadowed by City's flexing of their attacking muscles. It was an early statement of intent from Pep Guardiola's side in what remains the highest-scoring game of the competition this season.
Must-see moment: Jack Grealish made his Champions League debut following his headline-making summer transfer to City, and marked the occasion with a sensational goal to make it 4-2.
Real Madrid 1-2 Sheriff (Matchday 2)
As David vs Goliath moments go, they don't get much bigger than a Champions League debutant getting the better of the record competition winners – and in their own back yard at that. Sheriff sent shockwaves around European football with a sensational victory to go top of Group D with a perfect record after two matches. "I'm so full of emotion and thankful to my boys for what they've done," said coach Yuriy Vernydub afterwards. "They went out there as a team, and we deserved it."
Must-see moment: Sébastien Thill's stunning half-volley in the 90th minute that brought Sheriff the unlikeliest of victories at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Man. United 3-2 Atalanta (Matchday 3)
With three points from their first two games and in a tough group also including Young Boys and eventual semi-finalists Villarreal, Manchester United could ill afford another slip-up. Going 2-0 down inside 29 minutes at home was hardly ideal then, but the Red Devils staged a stirring second-half fightback, culminating in a dramatic late winner from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Must-see moment: Ronaldo ghosted into the box in the 81st minute to thump a trademark header into the net and spark wild celebrations.
Ajax 4-2 Sporting CP (Matchday 6)
Ajax were already guaranteed top spot in Group C going into Matchday 6, but neither they nor star striker Sébastien Haller were in any mood to ease off. Haller opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the eighth minute, becoming only the second player in Champions League history to find the net in all six group games and taking his tally to a competition-leading ten at that point. That he did so in his debut season made it all the more remarkable, helping Ajax to a big win that completed a perfect group campaign.
Must-see moment: Sporting may have ended up on the losing side, but there was still one positive – in addition to going through in second place, Dário Essugo made his Champions League debut at the tender age of 16.
Porto 1-3 Atlético (Matchday 6)
With Liverpool already certain of going through as Group B winners, Porto and Atlético locked horns for second place in the final round of group stage matches. Atlético were even bottom of the section at kick-off, and losing Luis Suárez to injury in the 13th minute hardly helped their cause. Yet Antoine Griezmann put the Spanish outfit on course in the second half, and three more goals in the closing stages summed up the drama of the occasion.
Must-see moment: Ángel Correa's 90th-minute strike to put Atlético 2-0 ahead; the celebrations and the relief as Diego Simeone's side pulled off the seemingly impossible.
Real Madrid 3-1 Paris (round of 16 second leg)
Kylian Mbappé had scored a 94th-minute winner in the first leg to give Paris a slender advantage going into the return fixture, and when the French forward made it 2-0 on aggregate at the Bernabéu just before half-time, the tie appeared to be over. Or so they might have thought. Karim Benzema had other ideas, however, and hit a hat-trick inside 18 minutes to turn the game on its head and send the Spanish side into the quarter-finals.
Must-see moment: Benzema's masterful poked finish from the edge of the box to complete his treble, just two minutes after scoring his second.
Juventus 0-3 Villarreal (round of 16 second leg)
Long famed as masters of the art of defending, Juventus were given a taste of their own medicine by Villarreal in Turin. Having drawn 1-1 in the first leg, the Yellow Submarine needed Gerónimo Rulli to make a string of fine saves to keep the home side at bay, before clinically unleashing a stunning three-goal counterpunch in the closing 12 minutes to reach the quarter-finals.
Must-see moment: Gerard Moreno had only been on the pitch for four minutes when Villarreal were awarded a penalty, yet the veteran forward held his nerve to squeeze his spot-kick past Wojciech Szczęsny and pave the way for his side to progress.
Man. City 4-3 Real Madrid (semi-final first leg)
Kevin De Bruyne scored the earliest ever goal in a Champions League semi-final when his diving header tickled the net inside two minutes, and when Gabriel Jesus doubled City's lead shortly afterwards the writing appeared to be on the wall. Yet Real Madrid refused to give in as the sides traded blows in a seven-goal thriller that instantly went down as an all-time classic.
Benzema's audacious Panenka penalty in the 82nd minute was as vital as it was sublime, keeping Madrid in the tie ahead of the second leg at home.
Villarreal 2-3 Liverpool (semi-final second leg)
Rarely can Liverpool, 2-0 up from the first leg, have looked as nervy as they did in the first half, though credit to the hosts for such an energetic and tactically astute performance – Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin scoring the goals to level the tie. The real Reds stood up after the interval and put in a superb display to emerge victorious on the night and on aggregate, thanks in large part to half-time substitute and Player of the Match Luis Díaz.
Luis Díaz may not have scored from his no-look bicycle kick just before the hour – indeed it went horribly wrong – but it was symbolic of the chutzpah he injected into the game; an in-form entertainer dragging his team off the floor in style when they might so easily have folded.
Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester City, aet (semi-final second leg)
Carrying a one-goal advantage from that blink-and-you'll-miss-it first leg, Man. City had one foot in the final after Riyad Mahrez gave his side breathing space with the opener on 73 minutes. Yet Carlo Ancelotti's men, who had not had a shot on target all game, struck twice through Rodrygo in the 90th and 91st minutes to send the tie to extra time, where Benzema completed the unlikeliest of comebacks with a penalty.
Rodrygo's first goal, a poacher's finish at the near post, triggered a tangible shift in atmosphere and momentum at the Santiago Bernabéu, kick-starting Madrid's fightback that ultimately led to a place in the final.