The Best Champions League Quarter Finals Ever
The Champions League has reached the quarter final stage for this season meaning that all of the remaining eight teams play each other for a place in the semi-finals.
The draw, made on Friday the 19th of March, resulted in many huge ties waiting to be played. Three English sides remain in the competition as favourites, Manchester City will face Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea will play underdogs Porto and Liverpool face the tough task of getting past 13-time winners, Real Madrid.
The other tie consists of a replay of last season’s final as champions, Bayern Munich face Paris St Germain as they hope to get revenge.
There’s plenty of big games to feast upon but will any become Champions League quarter final classics? Every neutral fan will hope so as we look at the best Champions League quarter finals ever.
Tottenham Hotspur 4-4 Manchester City (Tottenham go through on away goals) – 2019
The first European game to be held at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, was also host to the first leg of the 2019 quarter finals, as Spurs managed to take a 1-0 lead into the second leg, thanks to a Heung-Min Son goal.
The thin advantage set up a special night at the Etihad as both English clubs were looking to enter the semi-final stage for the first time in their histories.
A crazy opening 21 minutes saw five goals – the quickest five goals in Champions League history. It was hard to believe your eyes as the lead changed hands twice during this time. Heung-Min Son’s quick double cancelled out Sterling’s opener in the fourth minute, before Bernardo Silva brought the game level again with a deflected shot that snuck past Lloris.
Sterling netted for the fifth goal in the opening 21 minutes, but City had to score again as Spurs led on away goals. City looked on course to go through as Aguero lifted the roof off at the Etihad with a goal in the 59th minute.
However, Spurs striker Llorente put Manchester City’s party to a stop with a scrappy goal which eventually came off his hip, but late drama meant that City thought they’d snatched a semi-final place as Sterling put the ball in the back of the net which resulted in extraordinary late scenes at the Etihad.
VAR was very much a friend of Spurs that night as City’s celebrations were cut short due to Aguero being found to be offside during the build-up.
Tottenham Hotspur came out eventual winners on away goals in one of the most entertaining Champions League quarter finals ever. They went onto reach the final in Madrid – only to come out as runners up after losing 2-0 to Liverpool.
Real Madrid 6-5 Manchester United – 2003
Two of the world’s biggest clubs set up one of the best Champions League quarter finals ever when a star-studded Real Madrid team came up against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.
Manchester United faced a huge task of overturning a 3-1 deficit in the second leg. A double from Raul and a goal from Figo had the Galactico’s cruising until Ruud Van-Nistelrooy snatched an away goal for United which gave them a glimmer of hope for the second leg at Old Trafford.
A Champions League classic was on the cards as Real travelled to Manchester on the search for another Champions League semi-final to add to the club’s glamourous history.
Real Madrid struck first blood as Ronaldo slotted the ball past Fabien Barthez, but United found a goal just before half time thanks to United’s star man, Van Nistelrooy.
However, Ronaldo restored Madrid’s lead with another goal, just after half time as Roberto Carlos pulled the ball back for the Brazilian to tap home.
Manchester United didn’t lose hope as they equalised again via an own goal from Ivan Helguera, but Ronaldo completed his hat trick soon after with an incredible effort from distance.
Again, United equalised through a vintage David Beckham free kick, and United fancied their chances after watching hat trick hero, Ronaldo walk off the pitch with a standing ovation from the home fans, after being substituted in the 67th minute.
Beckham added another goal with just five minutes to go, but it was too little too late for the three-time European champions as they crashed out to an all-star Real Madrid side.
The Galactico’s lost out to Juventus in the semifinals, but AC Milan were eventual winners of the 2002/03 Champions League.
Liverpool 5-7 Chelsea – 2009
Anfield hosted the first leg as an unlikely hero in Branislav Ivanovic picked up his first two Chelsea goals. The Blues won the game 3-1 after Torres opened the scoring for Liverpool in the sixth minute. Didier Drogba was the other scorer for Chelsea as they carried three away goals into the second leg.
The Reds started off strong at Stamford Bridge as Aurelio’s free kick and Xabi Alonso’s penalty levelled the scoring on aggregate.
At half time, Chelsea’s temporary boss, Guus Hiddink had to re-think if Chelsea were to advance to their fifth Champions League semi-final. Whatever he said seemed to have worked as goals from Drogba, Alex and Frank Lampard propelled Chelsea into the lead as they led 6-3 on aggregate.
Liverpool seemed dead and buried but five minutes after Lampard’s goal; Lucas Leiva brought one back as the Reds started to gain momentum.
Two minutes later, Dirk Kuyt capitalised on Liverpool’s momentum after he headed in from Riera’s cross. This meant that Liverpool only needed one more goal to go through, but Chelsea legend Frank Lampard sealed their place in the semi-final with a late goal which exploded Stamford Bridge.
The late flurry of goals and never-ending drama between the two English sides placed this tie as one of the best Champions League quarter finals ever with 13 goals scored over the two legs.
Barcelona 4-4 Roma (Roma go through on away goals) – 2018
Everyone loves an underdog story, and that’s exactly why this tie has made the cut as one of the best Champions League quarter finals ever.
Barcelona cruised to victory in the first leg at the Camp Nou. Two Roma own goals from De Rossi and Manolas helped Barça win 4-1 and many would have deemed this tie as being over, heading into the second leg.
AS Roma were required to execute a comeback that had only been done twice before, but that didn’t faze the Italian giants.
An early goal from veteran Edin Dzeko got Roma fans believing, but the Italian side struggled to find another before the referee blew for half-time.
Roma added another just before the hour mark via Daniele De Rossi, who was on a mission to redeem himself after his own goal in the first leg.
I Giallorossi stayed patient for the third goal that would ultimately see them qualify for the semi-finals, and eventually the goal came. Kostas Manolas glanced the ball into the back of the net to send the Stadio Olimpico into ecstasy.
“Roma have risen from their ruins” cried commentator, Peter Drury as Roma sent shockwaves around the footballing world.
Arsenal 3-6 Barcelona – 2010
Barcelona feature again in the best Champions League quarter finals ever, but this time it’s for all the right reasons.
The Emirates oversaw the first leg as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s second half brace was cancelled out by goals from Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas. Barcelona took two away goals back to the Camp Nou with them, but Arsenal carried the momentum after their late comeback.
Bendtner opened the scoring in the 18th minute, which led the Arsenal faithful to believe that this could be their night.
Their beliefs were quickly eradicated when a certain Lionel Messi decided enough was enough. Messi proved, on one of the biggest stage’s, why he’s the greatest football player of all time. There was no stopping the Argentinian on the night as he graciously slotted four goals past Manuel Almunia.
Messi continually embarrassed Almunia and the Arsenal defence all night, with a first half hat trick and then adding his fourth in the 88th minute to make it game, set and match to the hosts.
The pick of the bunch was when Spaniard, Pedro flicked the ball to Messi, leaving him with just the goalkeeper to beat, the Argentinian calmly chipped the ball over the panicking Almunia and tapped it in the back of the net.
Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona were the reigning champions that season and were favourites to win it again, but Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan overcame them in the semi finals as Inter went onto win the Champions League.
Bayern Munich 4-4 Manchester United (Bayern go through on away goals) – 2010
The 2009 finalists were expected to defeat the German outfit, but Bayern made it more than hard for United in this Champions League Quarter Final.
Rooney got the scoring underway in the first minute with an away goal at the Allianz Arena, and the Red Devils looked set to be taking a 1-0 advantage back to Old Trafford, but Bayern Munich thought differently.
Franck Ribery equalised with a deflected free kick that wrong footed Van Der Sar, and right at the death, Olić won the game for Bayern Munich after he stole the ball from a hesitant Patrice Evra in the box and slotted home.
Bayern took a slender advantage to Old Trafford, but Manchester United had the all important away goal and were favourites to make a comeback.
United came first out of the blocks as surprise goal scorer, Darren Gibson gave United the advantage – it was only the second start in 2010 for the Northern Irishman.
United had another goal in the seventh minute and this time it was Nani’s turn to get on the score sheet with a cute flick into the bottom left corner following a low driven cross from Antonio Valencia.
As the game approached half time, Valencia set up Nani again to make it 3-0 to the home side as United looked well on their way to reach the Champions League semi finals.
However, Olić pulled one back just before the break, as he latched onto Muller’s flicked header. This goal meant that Bayern had to find just one goal in the second half to go through.
Both teams had chances in the second half, but it wasn’t until 16 minutes from time when Robben silenced Old Trafford with a well-executed volley on the edge of the box.
Arjen Robben was the hero for Bayern Munich as they progressed to the Champions League semi finals where they’d ease past Lyon to reach the final.
Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan stood in the way of Louis Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich, as Inter proved to be too strong with two goals from Milito, winning the final for the Italian side.
AC Milan 4-5 Deportivo La Coruna – 2004
Another wonderful Champions League quarter final underdog story that shook the world back in 2004.
Despite Deportivo opening the scoring at the San Siro in the first leg, Milan still cruised to a substantial, 4-1 victory via Shevchenko, Pirlo and a double from the Brazilian Kaka.
AC Milan looked to have settled with 4-1 in the first leg, meaning that only a miracle would help Deportivo in making the Champions League semi-finals.
Milan fielded a glamorous side for the second leg in a hope to avoid a major upset. Dida started in between the sticks, and the back four consisted of Pancaro, Maldini, Nesta and Cafu. Ancelotti set up his usual diamond shaped midfield containing Pirlo, Gattuso, Seedorf and Kaka, as Shevchenko and Tomasson started up top. This fantastic team went down as one of the greatest of all time, and most of the players mentioned above are now regarded as Football legends, but they couldn’t stop Deportivo on the night of the second leg.
Pandiani got Deportivo off to a flying start with a goal in the fifth minute, and goals from Valerón and Luque had the Spanish side 3-0 up before the halftime interval.
Their fourth goal came in the 76th minute as Fran killed AC Milan off and Deportivo reached the Champions League semi finals for the first time in their history.
⏪ #OTD in 2004, AC Milan 4-1 Deportivo…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 23, 2021
Roma 3-8 Manchester United – 2007
United feature for the third time in the best Champions League quarter finals ever, but this time they came out on top.
Roma came out winners in the first leg when they had home advantage. Mirko Vucinic came off the bench to grab the winner after Wayne Rooney had cancelled out Taddei’s strike.
Paul Scholes was sent off following two yellow cards in the opening 30 minutes, which meant he was suspended for the second leg at Old Trafford.
Manchester United blew Roma away in the first leg as they went in at half time four goals to the good, thanks to Michael Carrick, Alan Smith, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.
United didn’t stop there with further efforts from Evra, Carrick and Ronaldo sealed a 7-1 win on the night, as the English side advanced to the Champions League semi final.
At the time, United set the record for the biggest Champions League quarter final win, but they lost out to Ancelotti’s AC Milan as the seven-time winners went on to win the competition.
We all hope that this year’s Champions League quarter finals will be up there with the most entertaining ties in the history of the competition. They could well do so, however the lack of fans takes away the sheer emotion and passion that the Champions League is so well known for.
We hope you enjoyed the article ‘The Best Champions League Quarter Finals Ever.’ Which one was your favourite? Let us know!
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