11 Greatest Victories For English Teams In The Champions League
There have been some incredible nights in the Champions League for English teams over the years. Three of them have won the competition and there have been countless other memories from the earlier stages of the tournament. There are too many to note in one place, but here are the 11 most memorable victories for English sides in Europe’s premier competition.
11. Newcastle 3-2 Barcelona 1997-98
This was not quite the best Barcelona team of all time, but the Catalans still boasted the likes of Rivaldo, Luis Figo, Anderson and Luis Enrique in their side. Newcastle had the likes of Warren Barton, John Beresford, Keith Gillespie and Steve Watson. However, it was the Magpies that came out on top at St James’ Park in September 1997, thanks to a hat-trick from Faustino Asprilla. The Colombian put Newcastle 3-0 ahead and it was only late goals from Enrique and Figo that made the scoreline respectable for the visitors. Unfortunately for Kenny Dalglish’s side, they didn’t get out of the group stage that year despite that epic victory.
10. Chelsea 3-1 Barcelona 1999-2000
Another great win for an English side against a Barcelona side that, maybe were not the best they have ever been, but were still extremely handy. Luis Figo captained the side, Rivaldo was still there, along with them were Patrick Kluivert, Xavi, Carlos Puyol, Frank de Boer and Phillip Cocu in the starting line-up. This was before Roman Abramovich piled his cash into Chelsea, but they still had a very attractive team that boasted Gianfranco Zola, Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly and Tore Andre Flo. Flo scored two and Zola got the other in a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge. They went on to lose the return leg 5-1 after extra time to break their hearts, but that first win was superb.
9. Inter 1-5 Arsenal 2003-04
Considering Arsenal lost the reverse fixture 3-0 in the group stages in 2003, it goes to show what an achievement it was to go to the San Siro and smash the Italians by four goals. Inter had made the Gunners look a bit silly at Highbury but the favour was repaid with interest as Thierry Henry scored twice and Edu, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljunberg also found the back of the net. Christian Vieri’s first-half goal actually equalised for the home side but it proved to be an entirely worthless effort from the Italy international.
8. Leeds 3-0 Deportivo 2000-01
Deportivo were the Spanish champions at this point and Leeds were the heavy unfancied underdogs going into this quarter-final contest. The Spaniards had even labelled the Yorkshiremen as the competition’s weak link. The first leg at Elland Road could not have torn up the script more convincingly, though, as Leeds battered Deportivo 3-0 thanks to goals from Ian Harte, Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand. Deportivo could even win the second leg 2-0, but such was the cushion Leeds had given themselves, they still moved into an unlikely semi-final.
7. Man Utd 7-1 Roma – 2006-07
The pressure was on at Old Trafford on that Tuesday night in April 2007. They had lost the first leg of the quarter-final 2-1 in Rome and knew it would not be easy to breakdown a stubborn Italian defence. Although, it turned out that it was quite easy. Michael Carrick give United the lead after just 11 minutes and thanks to goals from Alan Smith, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, the home side were 4-0 ahead at half-time. Further strikes from Carrick, Ronaldo and Patrice Evra made it a dream night for the Red Devils as they surged into the semi-finals, leaving the Romans in their wake.
6. Man Utd 1-0 Barcelona 2007-08
Alex Ferguson’s side pulled off something of a masterclass over two legs against a truly great Barcelona team, managed by Frank Rijkaard. If it wasn’t for a missed Cristiano Ronaldo penalty they may have even won the first leg at the Nou Camp, but a goalless draw was still a very decent result. A stunning Paul Scholes strike was enough to see off a team which featured Lionel Messi, Xavi, Deco, Andres Iniesta, Samuel Eto’o and Yaya Toure. It was only a narrow victory but in the semi-finals, against a great team, it was a stunning performance.
5. Chelsea 4-1 Napoli 2011-12
This was a comeback of epic proportions as the Blues had been comfortably beaten 3-1 in Naples and it was made all the more impressive as it was under the new management of Roberto Di Matteo after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked following the first leg loss. Didier Drogba and John Terry gave Chelsea a 2-0 lead which was enough to see them through on away goals, but Gokhan Inler wiped out that advantage by pegging them back to 2-1 on the night. Time was ticking away when former Liverpool man Andrea Dossena handled in the box, allowing Frank Lampard to slot home with 15 minutes to go and take the match to extra-time. Then it was the turn of Branislav Ivanovic to be the hero, banging in the winner on the 105th minute to take the Blues into the quarter-finals, where their unlikely success story would continue.
4. Chelsea 1-1 Bayern Munich 2011-12
That win over Napoli eventually led Chelsea to the 2012 Champions League final where they met the mighty Bayern Munich, on their home turf of the Allianz Arena in Bavaria – a Chelsea win looked incredibly unlikely. In truth, Munich absolutely hammered the Londoners, finally breaking them down in the 83rd minute thanks to a Thomas Muller goal. After such a lengthy display of last-ditch defending and battling hard, the late goal looked to be the end of it for Di Matteo’s men. However, up stepped Didier Drogba to score a fabulous header from a corner with two minutes to go and to take the final into extra-time. Chelsea hung on to go to penalties and, remarkably, the German side lost their cool, even with Juan Mata missing the Blues’ first spot kick. Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger could not convert, allowing Drogba to score the winning effort.
3. Man Utd 2-1 Bayern Munich 1998-99
Surely the most dramatic finish to a Champions League final we are ever likely to see as Manchester United rose from the dead to snatch victory from the grasp of Bayern Munich. The Bavarians took an early lead through Mario Basler in the sixth minute and United didn’t look too convincing in their efforts to break them down over the next 85 minutes. However, that spell of the game was soon forgotten after Teddy Sheringham came off the bench to equalise in the 91st minute. Bayern were shell-shocked and did not defend properly two minutes later when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was able to poke home from a corner and win the Champions League for the Red Devils. It wasn’t exactly the dominant, rampant performance of some earlier on this list, but to gut it out and win the tournament at the death like United did, deserves great credit.
2. Juventus 2-3 Man Utd 1998-99
It is easy to forget that United managed an even more impressive final in the semi-final in 1999 than they did in the final. The first leg had ended 1-1 at Old Trafford, with only a last minute Ryan Giggs goal levelling it up. Things started very badly for the Englishmen at the Delle Alpi when Pippo Inzaghi had put Juventus 2-0 ahead after just 11 minutes. A United triumph from that position looked extremely unlikely but goals from Roy Keane and Dwight Yorke before an Andy Cole finish with five minutes to go put them into the final in Barcelona. A stunning recovery.
1. Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan 2004-05
AC Milan were the hot favourites going into the 2005 Champions League final with their starting XI including Paolo Maldini, Kaka, Andriy Shevchenko, Clarence Seedorf, Cafu and Hernan Crespo. Liverpool had the likes of Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso, but also Djimi Traore and Steve Finnan, so things did not look too evenly matched. Maldini opened the scoring in the first minute and Crespo had made it 3-0 by half-time, which looked to end the tie as a contest. Some people will have switched off at half-time, 100% confident that Liverpool were out of it. However, Rafa Benitez produced some half-time magic in the dressing room and just 15 minutes later the Reds were level thanks to goals from Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Alonso. Jerzy Dudek produced some heroics in goal and the game went to penalties, where Dudek again was inspired and Liverpool came away with a 3-2 victory from the spot, ending an incredible night in Istanbul.
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