Learn English Through Football Podcast: 3 Words – Man City v Real Madrid Champions League Semi-final

In this week’s football language podcast for learners of English, we look back at some of the words and phrases from the first leg Champions League semi-final between Manchester City and Real Madrid, including ‘to edge‘; ‘to pepper the goal‘ and ‘panenka‘. You can find out about their meanings by listening to this week’s football-language podcast.  You can also read a transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com.

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Learn English Through Football Podcast: 3 Words – Man City v Real Madrid Champions League Semi-final

DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to Languagecaster.com – the football-language podcast for learners of English who love the beautiful game of football. This is Damian and I’m based here in London and I’m one half of the languagecaster team, the other member of course is Damon who is in Tokyo, Japan. Now of course we all know that Damon is a Liverpool supporter and no doubt he will be looking forward to the 2022 Champions League semi-final first leg game between The Reds and Spanish side Villareal which takes place tomorrow. But I wonder if he watched the first semi-final between Manchester City and Real Madrid which will be the focus of this football-language podcast? Now, it was a great game between two in-form sides (both leaders of their respective leagues) and so on this podcast we look at some of the words and phrases used to describe the semi-final, including the verbs ‘to edge‘ and’to pepper‘, as well as ‘panenka‘.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Spanish)

Now, we’re going to be looking at these phrases from the BBC website report on this game.

To edge

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Champions League: Man City edge Real Madrid in seven-goal thriller (BBC.co.uk, April 26 2022)
We use the verb ‘to edge‘ in football to describe a narrow victory for one side over another – the game was a close affair and probably won by only one goal which was the case for this the first semi-final of the 2022 Champions League as Manchester City defeated Madrid by one goal. So, in this headline from the BBC website we can say that Manchester City narrowly beat Real Madrid 4-3 (a seven-goal thriller and we have a whole podcast on this wonderful expression. Please check it out.) and although City dominated much of the game, they only won by one goal, by a small margin, and so this is why the headline has used ‘edge‘. Now, we could also use the phrase ‘edge out‘ though I am not so sure if we would use ‘edge past‘ as this suggests that one side has knocked out the other and this has not happened yet as it is only the first leg.

To pepper the goal

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City delivered a magnificent display as they peppered Real’s goal for long periods… (BBC.co.uk, April 26 2022)
So, if a team dominates another team and creates lots of shooting chances we can say that they pepper their opponents’ goal. To pepper the goal means to shoot on lots of occasions (to repeatedly shoot) and in the first part of this game, Manchester City fired in lots of shots (that’s another way of saying this) at the Real Madrid goal. This quote from the BBC report mentions that City had lots of shots on the Madrid goal (they peppered the goal) but they also go on to say that Madrid eventually found a way back into the game – which is why it was so exciting.


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Benzema capped a spectacular game by showing nerves of steel to chip a Panenka penalty past Ederson… (BBC.co.uk, April 26 2022)
Now, we have described the Panenka before here on languagecaster – it is a style of penalty named after the Czechoslovakian player Antonin Panenka who scored the winning goal in the 1976 European Championship final shoot-out against West Germany. After this game, any player that coolly chips (or dinks) the ball over the keeper was said to have scored with a ‘Panenka‘. Although on TV this evening I heard the commentator say that the Manchester City keeper had been ‘Panenka-ed‘ – the first time I had heard this as a verb. The BBC report uses the verb ‘to chip’ to describe the way Benzema lifted the ball over the diving goalkeeper and also described the French striker as having ‘nerves of steel‘ which suggests that the player has no nerves (is not nervous) at all! A really wonderfully cool piece of skill indeed!

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com. (in German)


Now, if you want to ask any football-language questions or simply say hello then you can do so by adding a comment on our site here, or by using our forum, by sending an email to us at admin@languagecaster.com or by looking for us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Stinger: You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Irish).


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was in Irish and we’d love to hear from anyone else who might like to share the message, ‘you are listening to Languagecaster.com‘ in any other language. And don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site here at languagecaster.com – a great resource for language learners and language teachers.

OK, that’s it for this week’s football-language podcast in which we looked at the phrases, ‘to edge‘; ‘to pepper the goal‘ and ‘panenka‘. What do you think will happen in the second leg of this tie or indeed in the other semi-final? We’ll be back with more football language very soon and until then enjoy all the football this week. Bye bye.

Related Vocabulary

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at languagecaster.com.

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PodcastEpisode 806