The Champions League is back, and the 2021–22 edition of Europe’s most important tournament kicked off with a hilarious bang. On a rainy evening in Spain, Sevilla and RB Salzburg eschewed all the things that make a soccer match pretty and instead went for the most mayhem they could fit into 90 minutes.
Though the match ended 1–1, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Salzburg got the party started early, as it decided to channel England in this summer’s Euro final by drawing three penalties, all in the first half, only to miss two of them. The first came as 19-year-old Karim Adeyemi was bowled over in the box by Diego Carlos, only to take and then whiff the resulting spot kick wide to the right.
Adeyemi was then fouled again, this time by an uncharacteristically brainless Jesús Navas shove. For the second penalty, midfielder Luka Sucic stepped up and buried the penalty, and up went Salzburg, 1–0. As if two first-half penalties weren’t enough, Adeyemi won yet another one after getting absolutely clobbered by Sevilla goalie Yassine Bounou in the 36th minute. Up went Sucic to the spot once again, only to doink the ball off the post.
After conceding three penalties and somehow not being on the receiving end of a beatdown, Sevilla drew—and scored, thanks to Ivan Rakitic—a penalty of its own in the 40th minute, leveling the match at what would end up being the final score. Not to be outdone in the second half, though, the Spaniards also saw striker Youssef En-Nesyri receive a second yellow for a truly audacious attempt to win the match’s fifth penalty in the 50th minute:
The Champions League group stage is long and not always all that interesting. Props go to both of these teams, though, who decided that they were going to take part in a memorable car crash to kick off the new season of the tournament.