5 Great "Last 16" European Moments
Football writer, author of Behind the Curtain, Inverting the Pyramid, Anatomy of England, Nobody Ever Says Thank You and The Outsider; editor of The Blizzard.
With the Champions League round of 16 underway, today on the blog Jonathan Wilson shares with us 5 great European moments of seasons gone by.
Partizan 3 Werder Bremen 1, 1966
Partizan had been a little fortunate to win 3-0 in the first leg in Belgrade, but the tie wasn’t over. “It was the toughest game I ever played in and it will never be repeated any time in the world,” said the Partizan goalkeeper Milutin Soskic. “It was a hostile atmosphere. Around the pitch there were policemen with walkie-talkies. In the game you felt like they could kill us, that they would destroy us. Our players were frightened and on top of everything, the Germans went 1–0 up with an early goal.”
On a frozen pitch, Soskic made save after save, ending with his trademark pale blue jersey badly ripped, but having conceded just once. “Maybe this was my best game,” he said, “but this game was not football, it was a war.”
Liverpool 1 Athletic Bilbao 0, 1984
The first leg, at Anfield, went badly for Liverpool. Javier Clemente’s Athletic were aggressive and content to spoil and Liverpool struggled to break them down. It was, Stuart Jones wrote in The Times, “as though Liverpool were lying in the arms of Morpheus. No one could recall a more subdued performance at Anfield, usually a noisy arena that became as quiet as the city streets at dawn.”
But in a ferocious atmosphere at San Mames, Graeme Souness was magnificent. Slowly the Athletic storm waned and then, midway through the second half, Ian Rush headed in an Alan Kennedy cross to win the tie.
Crvena Zvezda 4 Rangers 1, 1991
Legend has it that when Walter Smith returned from a scouting trip to watch Zvezda, his report to the manager Graeme Souness consisted of just two words: “We’re f*cked.” It may be apocryphal but if true, he was right. This was an exquisite Zvezda side, one capable of fast, technical football and in Belgrade, they played Rangers off the pitch.
A John Brown own goal had them ahead in eight minutes, and second half goals form Robert Prosiencki and Darko Pancev made the second leg a formality.
Chelsea 5 Barcelona 4, 2005
The first leg at Camp Nou, in which Chelsea lost 2-1 and had Didier Drogba sent off, had been overshadowed by Jose Mourinho’s accusations about the Swedish referee Anders Fisk but within 20 minutes of a pulsating second leg, all that was forgotten. Barcelona were blown away by Chelsea’s pace and directness, Damien Duff obliterating Juliano Belletti and Frank Lampard finding space again and again as Joe Cole and Eidur Gudjohnsen schemed from behind Mateja Kezman.
Gudjohnsen got the first from Kezman’s cross, Cole teed up Lampard for a second and when Duff rampaged through to put Chelsea 3-0 up on the night, 4-2 up on aggregate, the tie seemed over. But Ronaldinho converted a 27th-minute penalty and then toe-poked home a goal of magnificent impudence to have Barcelona head on away goals by half-time. John Terry settled it, thumping in a header with 14 minutes as Barca protested Ricardo Carvalho was obstructing Victor Valdes.
Bayern Munich 4 Real Madrid 4, 2007
When Ruud van Nistelrooy put Real Madrid 3-1 up 34 minutes into the first leg at the Bernabeu, the game seemed as good as over. Perhaps Real should have done more to try to press home their advantage but they were cruising when, from nothing, Mark van Bommel struck with two minutes remaining.
When Roy Makaay converted Hasan Salihamidzic’s cross after 11 seconds of the start of the second leg, the fastest goal in the competition’s history, Bayern had the lead on away goals. Lucio, scorer of Bayern’s goal in Spain, then headed in a Willy Sagnol corner and, although Van Nistelrooy struck late on, Bayern went through on away goals.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @jonawils
He is also the editor of TheBlizzard.co.uk
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