10 Greatest English Wins Over Spanish Teams In The Champions League
As Liverpool prepare to face Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final, we find them some inspiration by looking at the 10 best performances by English teams against Spanish sides over the years.
- Chelsea 3-0 Valencia 2011/12 Group Stage
Chelsea went onto win the 2012 Champions League final, but they were not far from going out of the competition at the group stage. Having drawn in Genk and lost in Leverkusen, Chelsea went into their final group game against Valencia needing a win at Stamford Bridge. Considering they had drawn in Spain and Valencia were coming off a 7-0 battering of Genk, this was no guarantee.
However, the Blues put fears behind them early as Didier Drogba scored after three minutes and they went on to win 3-0, eliminating the Spaniards from the competition in the process.
- Leeds 3-0 Deportivo - 2000/01 Quarter-final first leg
It is easy to forget what a huge achievement it was for Leeds to reach the Champions League semi-finals in 2001, knocking out a superb Deportivo side in the last eight.
Deportivo has won La Liga the year before and finished second in 2001, they were an extremely good team, and Leeds despatched them 3-0 at Elland Road. Goals from Ian Harte, Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand gave them the win, and despite a 2-0 loss in northern Spain, they were into the last four.
Leeds fans who were lucky enough to be there will never forget battering the Spanish champions in West Yorkshire.
- Valencia 1-2 Chelsea 2006/07 Quarter-final second leg
After drawing the first leg 1-1 at home it was always going to be a struggle for the Blues to make it past Valencia into the semi-finals. This was made all the more difficult when Fernando Morientes put the Spaniards ahead after 32 minutes.
However, Chelsea kept their nerve and after Joe Cole arrived from the bench at half-time, Andriy Shevcheko equalised before Michael Essien grabbed a dramatic 90th minute winner.
- Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona 2004/05 Round of 16 second leg
This was one of Jose Mourinho’s finest moments as Chelsea manager, coming back from defeat in the first leg to knock out one of the greatest teams in recent memory.
The Blues had been beaten 2-1 in Barcelona, so the tie was still alive, but no one expected Chelsea to be 3-0 up in 20 minutes at Stamford Bridge. This was a Barca side that included Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta, Eto’o, Deco and Puyol, and they were brushed aside 4-2 in the end.
Goals from Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard, Damien Duff, and John Terry were enough to see off Frank Rijkaard’s men in some style, despite a memorable toe-poke from Ronaldinho for the Catalans.
- Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal 2005/06 Round of 16 first leg
Arsenal went to Madrid to take on the likes of Zidane, Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo and Robinho. Meanwhile the Gunners boasted the likes of Senderos, Eboue, Flamini and Reyes, but they came away with a win.
Unsurprisingly, it was captain and talisman Thierry Henry who scored the only goal of the game to give the Londoners a memorable victory in the Spanish capital.
- Leicester vs Sevilla 2016/17 Round of 16 second leg
Leicester City continued their fairytale story into the 2016-17 Champions League after winning the Premier League the previous season. They handled their group easily but were then expected to be ousted by Sevilla in the second round, however, they had other plans.
The Foxes lost the away leg 2-1, but Captain Wes Morgan levelled the tie up in the first half before Marc Albrighton gave the home side the lead in the second. Jamie Vardy wound up Samir Nasri to the extent he got himself sent off in what was a classic performance from the boys in blue.
- Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool 2006/07 Round of 16 first leg
Liverpool really did pull off some amazing results during this period of Champions League football, and their victory in Barcelona in 2007 was certainly one of them.
Starting with just Dirk Kuyt up front, not many expected them to come away from the Nou Camp with much, but they did, they came away with an incredible victory.
Barca had started very brightly and Deco put them ahead early, but Liverpool rode their luck and stayed in the game, allowing Craig Bellamy to equalise just before half-time and John Arne Riise grabbing the winner with 15 minutes to play with a rare right-footed strike. It was a slightly lucky win, but still an awesome result.
- Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid 2008/09 Round of 16 second leg
Liverpool had already gone away to Real Madrid and won 0-1, which was a fabulous performance, but they outdid themselves in the return leg at Anfield back in 2009.
The Reds were up against a fearsome-looking defence of Sergio Ramos, Fabio Cannavaro and Pepe, but they stuck four past them thanks to an opener from Fernando Torres, two from Steven Gerrard and one from Andrea Dossena.
To so thoroughly despatch a team full of world class players was an immense achievement from the Merseysiders.
- Man Utd vs Barcelona 2007/08 Semi-final second leg
After a goalless stinker in Barcelona it took something special to separate the two sides at Old Trafford and Paul Scholes provided it.
The midfield maestro hammered in a screamer from 30-yards just 14 minutes into the second leg and Manchester United were resolute enough to keep out the likes of Messi, Eto’o and Deco for a full 180 minutes and make it into the final.
It wasn’t quite as memorable a performance as some thrashing on this list, but in terms of discipline and following a plan it was absolutely superb, especially in a semi-final against a team who had won the competition just two years previously.
- Chelsea vs Barcelona 2011/12 Semi-final
This could be the luckiest pair of performances in Champions League history, but in another way it was the absolute best as Chelsea stood up to the battering they were taking and somehow snuck through over two legs.
In the first clash at Stamford Bridge, Barcelona had 19 shots to Chelsea’s four, but the Blues got through 1-0 thanks to a Didier Drogba goal.
In the second leg, the home side managed 17 shots to the Blues’ seven, and an incredible 73% possession, but the game ended 2-2 as Fernando Torres famously slotted a late equaliser to take Chelsea through 3-2 on aggregate.
By no means the most dominant performance in Champions League history, but arguably, the very best.
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