10. Barcelona 1-2 Rubin Kazan
In any top ten games list there has to be an upset and they don’t really come much bigger than this. Russian champions, yet European minnows Rubin Kazan travelled to the Nou Camp to face the reigning European champions and arguably the best team on the planet, and won. The Russians took an early lead after 2 minutes and after Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised just after half time it seemed the inevitable would happen, but Gokdeniz Karadeniz had other ideas, scoring to seal a 2-1 victory for Rubin in a match tagged ‘the result that shook Europe.’
9. Internazionale 1-5 Arsenal
A group match it may have been, but Arsenal, needing a result to keep their qualification dreams alive, did what they do best when their backs are against the wall – played in style. Playing against a very strong Inter side, the game began relatively evenly before Arsenal took control in the second half. The highlight was a stunning solo goal by Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
8. Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal
With the match nicely poised after the first leg, all hell broke loose in a rollercoaster ride at Anfield. Abou Diaby put the Gunners ahead before Liverpool went 2-1 up. Emanuel Adebayor then put Arsenal back in the driving seat after young sensation Theo Walcott went on a run, beating 6 (yes six) players on the way. A controversial penalty and a last minute goal however sealed a semi final place for Liverpool – a great game.
7. Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 AC Milan
The second and final all foreign tie of the list (ok so I’m a little biased) is one of European football’s great comebacks. Deportivo were 4-1 down from the first leg in the San Siro against Italian giants and holders AC Milan, yet the Spanish side emerged 4-0 winners over Shevchenko, Maldini, Kaka and Co.
6. Manchester United 4-3 Real Madrid
Real Madrid were simply outstanding at the time of this match, with the Brazilian Ronaldo (not the pretty boy) proving why he is one of the greatest ever strikers to play the game. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in a match that despite the score line, was over long before the final whistle. Old Trafford could only stand and marvel at the Madrid striker’s brilliance.
5. Man Utd 6–2 Fenerbahce
Eighteen year old Wayne Rooney made his debut for Manchester United in a Champions League group game against Turkish opposition Fenerbahce. Fans were eager to see whether Rooney could compete on the big stage after his record £25.6 million move from Everton. Rooney answered this question with a brilliant hat-trick, including a second half free kick. The rest is history.
4. Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona
In José Mourinho’s first season as manager, his Chelsea side drew a tough Second Round encounter with one of the tournaments favourites Barcelona. I actually attended this game myself and remember just how outrageous it was. Chelsea raced into a 3-0 within the first 19 minutes, prompting chants of ‘can we play you every week’ from the Stamford Bridge faithful. Ronaldinho then showed the world why he was the best in the business at the time, with a stunning toe punt from the edge of the box, fooling the whole defence and keeper Petr Cech. The whole of Stamford Bridge applauded.
3. Manchester United 7-1 Roma
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, many predicted this may be a tough night for Alex Ferguson’s side. They were wrong. United produced one of the finest performances in European history, decimating the Italian side with their attacking football. Alan Smith’s was the pick of the bunch as he rounded off a superb team move with a quality finish. Italian football has never been so embarrassed…ok maybe it has.
2. Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool
Chelsea 3-1 up from the first leg at Anfield, with one of the most solid defences in the world and Liverpool missing Steven Gerrard. Game over, surely? Apparently not. Chelsea managed to give themselves an almighty scare as Liverpool found themselves 2-0 up, and then back in it again at 3-3 after a Chelsea revival. End to end stuff and goals galore in what many people predicted would be a boring two games – don’t you just love what the Champions League does to all English ties?
1. Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan
As much as I wanted to put my Chelsea goggles on and switch this one and two around, it just had to be the Istanbul come back didn’t it? AC Milan are making a habit of throwing away huge leads, as they squandered a 3-0 half time in six second half minutes. Liverpool lived up to their tag as European kings in a quite remarkable game. The magnificent double save by Jerzy Dudek in extra time also deserves a mention; every Liverpool player played their part.
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