Five classic Champions League fixtures we direly miss
Written by: Atrayo Bhattacharya
The Classic matches include most hyped games such as Liverpool Vs Chelsea.
Champions League is a tournament which never falls short to its expectations. A Champions League fixture, especially in the knockout stages, bring out the emotions of the football fanatics around the world.
The true drama, madness and adrenaline can be experienced in a closely fought European game. Over the years, it has given us classic games, while some of them might have ended with a smile of joy and ecstasy as others ended with agony and heartbreak.
Some of those historic fixtures have now faded. The juggernauts of Europe, AC Milan have fallen off the cliff. Same can be said for their neighbours Internazionale, as Italian representation in Europe is carried by Juventus and somewhat Napoli.
The case isn't different from other countries as there has been a serious absence of English teams in the champions league with a somewhat limited presence of France and Germany having only Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich in the setup.
From all the classic Champions League fixtures, we bring down the best ones we direly miss
Chelsea vs FC Barcelona
Time and again these two sides have locked horns in one of the fiercest and classic fixtures in Champions League. The controversies are never ending and one cannot afford to blink an eye as the games are always action packed.
The most controversial match of all the clashes came in 2009 when Chelsea saw four of their penalty claims denied by the Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo before they were hit with a late Barcelona sucker punch.
The first leg ended with a forgetful 0-0 scoreline at the Camp Nou which meant both teams had all to play for in the second leg.
Michael Essien came up with a belter of a goal at the Stamford Bridge as the goal did put Jose Mourinho's men ahead in the tie. But then what followed was astonishing for the Chelsea fans and players. Three shocking penalty cries were waved off by the referee, whilst Eric Abidal got sent off.
Chelsea took their revenge in the following season after their controversial exit by FC Barcelona in 2010-11
But a spirited 10-men Barcelona kept pushing forward and they eventually had their reward when Andreas Iniesta equalised from outside the box. However, the referee had an opportunity to correct his mistakes when he denied Chelsea a clear penalty as the ball struck Samuel Eto's hand in the final third.
The fixture has time and again raised heated arguments and is one of the most classic clashes in Champions League history.
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal
It is considered as one of the highest scoring clashes as the Bavarians have dominated the fixture. The fixture draw was getting too predictable at times with clubs putting up banters to book their flight to London or Munich even before the draws have taken place.
The famous 10-2 aggregate of Bayern Munich over Arsenal
In 2016 when both the sides were again drawn against each other it was for the fourth time in five seasons they had drawn together.
Most of the time it has been the German giants who have had the last laugh in this tie, although Arsenal have put up some great fight. Arsene Wenger came close to break the jinx in the 2012-13 season when Arsenal had a 2 goal advantage coming to the second leg at the Emirates.
But fortune had it as the match ended with a 1-3, handing the Bavarians an away goal advantage in the tie.
The fixture has always seen a flurry of goals and outstanding atmosphere in both stadiums. It can be a one-sided fixture till now but the excitement and the atmosphere created by both the fans is a notch above the rest.
Chelsea vs Liverpool
It is a rivalry which has mellowed for over the years and it became more feisty during the 2005 Champions League semifinal fixture.
It was the iconic ghost goal scored by Luis Garcia as the ball trickled over the line and handed Liverpool a slender lead which proved to be enough to progress.
The game which changed everything between Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez
Jose Mourinho did not accept the goal claimed that his side was the better team that night. The rivalry went on for years, as he also dissed Benitez on joining Internazionale and destroying the best team in Europe.
Mourinho's presence in any controversy increases its intensity and hence created a stunning atmosphere whenever the two managers faced each other over the years.
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich
One of the most iconic clashes in the history of the competition, the fixture between the most competitive teams in Europe was never short of excitement and drama.
It was the 1999 Champions League final, the things heated up even more. Manchester United came into the fixture after winning the League title and the FA Cup while Bayern had won the Bundesliga and had already booked a place in the DFB Pokal final. The conditions made the game crucial.
Bayern opened the scoring on the night with Mario Basler's swerving freekick as United had an average first half. The Red Devils came back in the game in the second half as Ferguson's changes, Sheringham and Solksjaer both tested Oliver Kahn. But the dreams of the treble were slowly fading away as the match was in its dying embers.
The famous comeback at Camp Nou from Manchester United
Right at the death, in injury time Manchester United equalised through a David Beckham corner as it was glanced by Dwight Yorke in the crowded far post. There was a melee inside the box as Ryan Giggs's poor effort luckily reached Sheringham as the forward restored parity for the Red Devils.
History was created with 30 seconds from the equaliser as United had another corner and Beckham's swerving ball was reached by Sheringham, who nodded the ball into the path of Solskjaer who went on to score the goal that broke many Bayern hearts on the night.
It was a fantastic treble for the Red Devils as they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Till date, it is considered one of the best comebacks in the history of the competition.
The last played in the 2013-14 season with the German giants edging past United in their trademark way.
Liverpool vs AC Milan
It was that night in Istanbul where the Reds created history against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final clash.
The game started with a bang as Paulo Maldini scored a banger from an Andrea Pirlo freekick handing AC Milan a crucial lead. Carlo Ancelotti's men pile up the misery on Liverpool as Andriy Shevchenko's excellent cross found Hernan Crespo in the box as the Argentine increased the lead for the Rossoneri.
Things went from bad to worse when in the second half Kaka's stunning through ball found Hernan Crespo on the forward run clearing his line, as the Argentine scored the second of his night.
Liverpool and AC Milan were involved in two UCL finals in three years
The match was over as most spectators and even the Milan players would have thought. But a never-give-up attitude from the Liverpool side kept them in the game
Vladimir Smicer came up with a blinder from long range as the Reds scored 2 goals in two minutes, pulling the goal deficit down to one. Liverpool's never say die attitude allowed them to come back in the game as they scored three goals post-that to take the game on penalties.
It was a heroic moment for Liverpool custodian, Dudek as the Reds scripted an extraordinary comeback in footballing history.
Published: Tue Dec 18, 2018 06:23 PM IST