The year 2021 had just came to an end; a year that has so many up and downs with Covid-19 pandemic dominating the headlines throughout the year. But let’s not forget, it also blessed us with some of the most shocking games in football that we are going to talk about right now.
After the spread-out of Covid-19 interrupted the 2019-20 season, football fans around the world were more than eager to sit back and enjoy the 2020-21 season. Fortunately, the 2021 didn’t disappoint us in terms of bringing some of the most thrilling football games before our eyes. In addition to top club football competitions, we also witnessed two delightful international tournaments in the summer of 2021: EURO and Copa America.
There are multiple factors that could make a football game sensational. As you would guess, goals are the main one. Every football fan would enjoy the sound of a football meeting the net. In addition to goals, the oldrivalries
, unthinkable comebacks, late turnarounds, red cards, and what is at stake, are amongst the other reasons that make a football match a remarkable one. Although nothing would beat watching one of these astonishing games live, reviewing them could also bring us some joy and excitement.
In the following article, we are going through top 10 best football matches of 2021 that made us to remember why we love football. These
best football matches of 2021
are sorted by the date and include 10 mesmerizing matches both on club and international levels. Some of these games may not had a huge impact on the tournaments’ final outcome, but we could guarantee that they worth rewatching over and over again. So, let’s get down to business and review the best football matches of 2021:
Bayern Munich 2 – 3 Paris Saint-Germain
Cagliari 4 – 3 Parma
Villareal 1 (11) – (10) 1 Manchester United
France 3 (4) – (5) 3 Switzerland
Peru 3 (4) – (3) 3 Paraguay
Italy 1 (4) – (2) Spain
Bayer Levekusen 3 – 4 Borussia Dortmund
Manchester United 0 – 5 Liverpool
Valencia 3 – 3 Atletico Madrid
Bristol Rovers 4 – 3 Oxford United
Now, let’s see what made these games so special.
A snowy Wednesday night with two European giants ready to face up each other in the quarter finals of Champions League. You could smell that something spectacular was heading your way even before the kickoff whistle. It was the first leg match at Munich and Paris Saint-German was seeking revenge following their loss to defending champions Bayern in the last season’s Champions League semi-finals. The Pole strikerRobert Lewandowski
was missing in Bayern’s line-up due to injury; but as his succeeder Choupo-Moting, hit the woodwork in the early moments of the match, it felt like Bayern could win this game even without their most dangerous player. After just three minutes into the match, Mbappe scored his seventh UCL goal of the season thanks to a poor reflect from Manuel Neuer.
Bayern didn’t step back and tried to stay in the game by creating chances one after another but just before the half-hour mark, Neymar provided his second assist of the night that helped Marquinhos to make it two to nil. A header from Choupo-Moting at 37th minute gave hope to Bayern fans that they are coming back from two goals down, and they did: Müller scored the equalizer in 60th minute. It only took PSG eight minutes to come back on top with Mbappe scoring another counter-attack goal. Despite Bayern’s 31 shots and numerous goalscoring chances, the scoreline didn’t change and PSG managed to win one of the best football matches of 2021 which had 17 shots on target for both sides combined.
The league championship races in football are not as close as you would like in plenty of seasons, but in almost every season you could enjoy a toe-to-toe battle at the bottom of the tables as clubs will do everything to avoid relegation. In the 2020-21 season of Serie A, the battle of survival was between Cagliari andParma
in the last chapter of the league campaign. A six-pointer game at Cagliari in 31st fixture could potentially decide which one of those two are going to stay at Italian top flight for another season. The visitors had a promising start to the game as they were leading by two goals inside 30 minutes.
Parma’s lead was cut in half with Pavoletti’ towering header right before half-time. Two powerful long-range shots in the space of six minutes, changed the scoreline to 3-2 and Parma was still leading the match with just 30 minutes to go. Cagliari couldn’t find a way in and it seemed like Parma are clinging three vital points from Sardegna Arena. But a stunning curler from Gaston Pereiro at 91st minute declared that it's not over until it's over. The game was going to end 3-3 but Cagliari wanted more: Alberto Cerri’ header completed the comeback for Cagliari and helped them to finish the league above relegation zone and Parma were sent to Serie B. A seven-goal relegation battle with four goals from outside of the box, was surely one of the
most shocking games in football
The finals of tournaments are not the most amusing matches during a season. That’s because there is a lot at stake and both teams hesitate to make the first move. The UEFA Europa League 2021 final in Gdansk betweenVillareal
and Manchester United was no exception to that. Both teams approached the game with a defensive mindset and the top priority was to avoid conceding goals. Villareal was coached by three times Europa League winner Unai Emery and had eliminated Dinamo Zagreb and Arsenal on their way to the final.
On the other hand, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was aiming for his first major trophy with Manchester United after beating Granada and Roma prior to final. The first half ended with Villareal leading by Gerard Moreno’ goal which was responded by Edinson Cavani’ strike at 55th minute. The scoreline remained intact for the rest of the game and it was down to penalty shoutouts to decide the champions. The penalties were absolutely bizarre as everybody was converting their shots. After 20 penalties from both sides, it was the goalkeeper’s turn to take their shot. Villareal’s Geronimo Rulli scored his penalty and then denied De Gea to win the whole tournament for his side.
Many will argue that EURO is even more entertaining than the World Cup and judging by the EURO 2020, it’s hard to deny that. After a one-year postponement, EURO 2020 was held during the summer of 2021 across 11 UEFA countries. Choosing the most exciting match of the tournament is not an easy task at all but France againstSwitzerland
in the round of 16 was one of the best ones without a doubt. As one of the favorites to win the EURO, it was thought that France will have a walk in the park against Switzerland.
An early goal from Haris Seferovic took Deschamps men by surprise but a two-minute brace by Benzema and then a breathtaking goal from Pogba created a two-goal caution for France and they were seeing themselves in the quarter-finals. It was until Seferovic added another goal to his name in 81st minute and now the game was on. Switzerland didn’t give up and it was the Swiss attacker Mario Gavranovic who became the hero with his goal at the last minute of the match. On penalties, Kylian Mbappe’ shot was saved by Yann Sommer and that meant France were out of the competition way too early than expected.
Another top-notch international tournament in the last summer was the Copa America. Although the final of the tournament was a classic game between Argentina and Brazil, you may be surprised if we tell you that wasn’t the best match of Copa America 2021. One of the
top 10 best football matches of 2021
was the thrilling clash of Peru and Paraguay in the quarter-finals. The Paraguayan defender Gustavo Gomez was the main man at the first half of the show. He scored the first and second goals of the match, the latter being an own goal. Then after Gianluca Lapadula put Peru ahead, Gustavo Gomez got booked twice in less than four minutes and left the pitch to put an end to his nightmarish game.
With being one man down,Paraguay
managed to make it level through Junior Alonso’ strike. At the final ten minutes of the game, Peru took back their lead just to lose it again at the 90th minute. The penalty shoutouts were even more dramatic: both teams scored their first two shots and then lost their third ones. Peru got their nose in front and Christian Cueva could finish the job for them but he was denied by Silva – Paraguay’ shot stoper. Pedro Gallese saved Paraguay’ sixth shot from the spot and this time, Miguel Trauco made no mistake and won the match for Peru to conclude one of the most shocking games in football in 2021.
As mentioned above, picking out only one game from EURO 2020 was not possible. So, here is another game from the tournament that brought football fans on the edge of their seats. Italy and Spain in the semi-finals was an awaited match as both sides were displaying brilliant football throughout the tournament. Italy had just eliminated Belgium in quarter-finals and Spain was coming from a win against Switzerland at penalty shoutouts. As expected, Spain had much of the position since the beginning of the match and they were asking questions from Italy defense. The first half of one of the best football matches of 2021 finished goalless at Wembley.
After one hour of world-class football, Italy broke the deadlock with an expeditious counter-attack that was converted by the young talented wingerFederico Chiesa
. Spain sticked to their plans and finally they got what they deserved as Alvaro Morata found himself one-on-one with the keeper and scored the equalizer. Unfortunately for him, Morata was also the man who lost Spain’s fifth penalty kick later on that night. With Jorginho scoring his penalty in style, Italy managed to beat Spain and head to the finals to claim their second ever European championship.
It is fair to say that Bundesliga is a kind of an underrated league when it comes to entertaining matches. Yes, Bayern Munich is dominating the league for almost a decade but still there are so many great fixtures in the league that could amuse even neutral viewers. One of those was the action-packed showdown of Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund in the 4th round of Bundesliga 2021-22. As one of the
best football matches of 2021
, it took only nine minutes for Leverkusen to open scoring. The Norwegian beast Erling Haaland leveled the match in 37th minute and immediately after that, Bellingham completed the comeback for Dortmund but then VAR ruled out the goal.
Seconds before the first half ends, Patrick Schick put backLevekusen
ahead but the lead didn’t stand for long as Julian Brandt made it 2-2 just five minutes after the second half start. Levekusen kept pushing and they got back on top once again this time by Moussa Diaby’ shot from outside the box. At 70th minute, Dortmund equalized the match for the third time with a delicious free kick from Raphaël Guerreiro. With less than 15 minutes remaining, Dortmund got a penalty thanks to Marco Reus’ persistent in chasing the ball. Haaland converted the kick to put Dortmund ahead for the first time in the evening and the match ended with a shocking 3-4 scoreline.
The fixture between these two giant English North Western clubs is one of the oldest rivalries in football and has provided so many great moments throughout its history. The latest happened during the ninth round of the 2021-22 season of Premier League. Manchester United was going through a rough patch and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ plans were not working. At the meantime, Liverpool had a decent run of form and it wasn’t hard to imagine them winning Man. United at Old Trafford. Altogether, it was going to be a difficult match for United but nobody expected that they capitulate the way they did during the match.
Within the opening 15 minutes of the affair, Liverpool had found the back of the net twice through Naby Keita and Diego Jota. Manchester United were completely outplayed by their rivals and before the half-time whistle, Mohamed Salah doubled the lead with a brace. Five minutes into the second half and Salah completed his hat-trick thanks to an astounding assist fromJordan Henderson
. Pogba being sent off in 60th minute was the last highlight of the match that was Man. United’ heaviest home defeat against Liverpool in their history. Both Liverpool and Manchester United fans won’t forget this match for the rest of their livres and that’s why it was one of the best football matches of 2021.
After winning the La Liga title on the last day of the 2021-22 season, Atletico Madrid didn’t have the perfect start to the current season as they dropped points in 11 out of 20 matches so far. One of those matches was the round 13 fixture versusValencia
at Estadio de Mestalla. Atletico led the match at half-time with Luis Suarez’ only goal. An own goal from Stefan Savic made it 1-1 but then two back-to-back goals from Antoine Griezmann and Sime Vrsaljko put the defending champions up again and this time with a two-goal margin. Atletico implemented their famous low-block defending stye and that meant Valencia had a hard time creating chances.
When the fourth official announced the 7 minutes added time, the score line was still 3-1 in favors of the visitors. But at the 92nd minute, the 22-year-old Hugo Duro who came in as a sub just minutes ago, was at the end of the captain Jose Gaya’ cross to send it home with a volley kick. Now the whole Mestalla was hoping for an equalizer and it came with the last attack of the game. It was Goncalo Guedes’ decent delivery from a free-kick that was headed to the back of the net by, wait for it, Hugo Duro! A late, late comeback leading by a 22-year-old substitute surely deserves a place on our top 10 best football matches of 2021 list.
If you have been following football enough, you would know that it’s not always about the elite clubs and big names on the pitch. With that being said, the latest game on our
best football matches of 2021
list, is a game that not many people had heard about. That’s because it was a FA Cup first round replay match between two lower divisions clubs in English football which was being held at Memorial Stadium – Bristol Rovers’ home ground. The first half of the match had nothing special about it and ended in a goalless draw.
It was Sam Finley with a well-placed strike from the edge of the box that gaveBristol Rovers
the lead. In less than ten minutes, Oxford United made things even from the spot and the match ended 1-1 at the 90 minutes. During the first three minutes of extra time, Oxford United scored two goals and it truly seemed like it was impossible for the hosts to comeback from this. But Bristol Rovers managed to turn thing upside down with scoring three goals from 110th to 118th minute, including a screamer from outside the box by Aaron Collins. That match alone was a proof of how fascinating football can be regardless of the level of the teams playing it.
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