Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Shock Results in UEFA Champions League History

Over the next few weeks the outcome of this season's UEFA Champions League round of 16 knockout stage will be decided, and just eight teams will be left to fight it out for Europe's most sought after club trophy. The last 16 teams are a mixture of some of Europe's most glamorous sides steeped in illustrious history and others less so, with many looking to overcome the odds in the hopes of claiming a quarter-final berth and ultimately reaching this years final, to be played at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa in Lisbon on 24th May.
Over the years there have been plenty of shock results at all different stages in the competition. Here are a selection of some of those incredible upsets!

Helsingborgs 1 Inter Milan 0  (Champions League 1st Leg, 3rd Qualifying Round 2000/2001) 
File:Helsingborgs IF logo.png
Helsingborgs are remembered by Inter Milan fans as the club that caused them one of the greatest shock Champions League results in the club's history. Club President Massimo Morrati had spent heavily over the summer to add Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane to an already star studded squad which included Brazilian magician Ronaldo and Marcello Lippi’s men were not expected to encounter any difficulties in progressing to the group stages. However, a 1-0 home victory and a stupendous goal keeping display by Sven Andersson meant Swede dreams for the Scandinavians as they qualified for the group stages for the first time in their history.

Chelsea 1 FC Basel 2  (Champions League Group Stage - 2013/2014)
File:FC Basel.png
Chelsea suffered a shock defeat in the first Champions League game of Jose Mourinho’s second spell with the club, after Basel came from behind to win 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Oscar gave Chelsea the lead on the stroke of half time, but gainst the run of play, Mohamad Salah levelled things up in the 71st minute and then Basel sealed a shock win with eight minutes left of normal time remaining, when Cech failed to keep out a header from Streller after the forward had managed to lose his marker inside the Chelsea penalty area. The shock loss came exactly six years after Mourinho took charge of the final match of his first Blues spell, a 1-1 draw against Norwegian side Rosenborg.

Artmedia Bratislava 5 Celtic 0  (Champions League 1st leg, 2nd Qualifying Round 2005/2006)

Described by Gordon Strachan as "out-and-out the worst football night" he had ever experienced, Celtic’s unexpected 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Slovakian Champions Artmedia Bratislava was the Glasgow giants' most embarrassing and biggest ever defeat in Europe. Prior to the game, Celtic, winners of the European Cup in 1967, had been favourites to progress from the tie, especially as no team in Slovakian history had ever made it as far as the third round preliminary stage. However, an incompetent display by the Hoops’ defence saw them concede four second half goals, including a Juraj Halenar hat-trick, ensuring that the men were well and truly separated from the Bhoys.
Celtic crashed out of the competition, despite a 4-0 home win in the return leg in Glasgow.

APOEL Nicosia 1-0 Lyon (agg: 1-1) APOEL win 4-3 on pens.
(Champions League 2nd leg, last 16 tie 2011/2112)

APOELnew.pngTrailing 1-0 after the first leg, one might have favoured Lyon, by far the more experienced of the two teams having just come off the back of an era of Ligue 1 dominance, to keep their cool and advance to the quarter-finals. A banner behind the goal Lyon were defending in the first period proclaimed 'Feel the terror of Nicosia' and within nine minutes Gustavo Manduca had belied the odds to level the aggregate score. Urged on by their passionate supporters, the hosts pushed for a second but neither they nor their opponents were able to find it. Eventually the duo would have to endure extra time and a penalty shootout, where spot-kicks from Ailton Jose Almeida, Nuno Morais, Nektarious Alexandrou and finally Ivan Trickovscki were enough to seal a 4-3 penalty victory and a historical Champions League upset by the Cypriots.

Real Madrid 0 Arsenal 1  (Champions League 1st leg, last 16 tie 2005/2006)

Arsenal FC.svgThe Gunners were struggling in the league with their former captain Patrick Vieira having departed to Juventus and current club captain, Thierry Henry’s future in serious doubt. Arsenal went into the game missing senior players and injuries had decimated their defence so that an inexperienced back four including Emmanuel Eboue, Phillipe Senderos and Mathieu Flamini were left to face the likes of Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane, Robinho, Raul Gonzales, Ronaldo, David Beckham and Guti. No British team had ever won at the Bernabeau and Real had not lost at home in 18 Champions League games. The odds were stacked against Arsene Wenger’s young team, but to everyone’s amazement the Gunners took a deserved lead through a fantastic individual goal by Henry.
Incredibly, Arsenal would once again restrain Real's offensive powerhouses in the return leg at Highbury, their 1-0 aggregate triumph seeing the La Liga giants knocked out of the competition.

Deportivo La Coruna 4 AC Milan 0  (Champions League Quarter-Final, 2nd Leg, 2003/2004)

RC Deportivo La Coruña logo.svgThe 2003/2004 Champions League season proved to be remarkable for the number of extraordinary scorelines which transpired in the build up to an ultimately disappointing climax. None was more astonishing than that of the 2nd leg quarter-final between Deportivo La Coruna of Spain and the Italians from Milan, which saw the Spanish seasiders vanquish the six times European Champions and tournament favourites with a ruthless first half attacking display. 3-0 up by half time, Deportivo secured a 4-0 victory to miraculously overturn a three goal first leg deficit and become the first team in the 12 year history of the Champions league to do so, and against a Milan team who up until then had not conceded a European away goal.

Club crestNK Maribor 2 Lyon 0  (Champions League 2nd leg, 3rd Qualifying round 1999/2000)

Although not yet recognisable as the team of seven successive league titles and ever-presents in the Champions League, Lyon were still the team that had finished 3rd in the French Ligue 1 and they possessed the league’s top scorer in Brazilian Sonny Anderson. The Slovenian team had already caused a surprise in reaching this stage by beating Belgian team KRC Genk. It was an even bigger upset when they then dispatched the future French Champions by beating them in the 2nd leg to obtain an aggregate 3-0 victory and progress to the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history.

AS Monaco 3 Real Madrid 1  (Champions League Quarter-Final, 2nd leg 2003/2004)
Nine-time champions, Real Madrid had won the first leg 4-2 at the Bernabeau against an unfancied Monaco team. With one foot in the semi-final, Madrid took the French side far to lightly and paid the ultimate price!
Inspired by Ludovic Guily and former Madrid favourite Fernando Morientes, the Monegasques came back in sensational fashion with a 3-1 victory on the night against Los Galacticos, which sent them through to the semi-finals on away goals.
Monaco went on to reach the final in Gelsenkirchen, Germany before losing to Jose Mourinho's Porto side.

Inter Milan 1 Arsenal 5  (Champions League Group Stage - 2003/2004)

Arsenal FC.svgOnce more Arsene Wenger’s men found themselves underachieving in European competition and under serious pressure to get a result in their penultimate group stage game to have any chance of progressing. Having earlier been humiliated at Highbury 3-0 by Inter Milan and having just managed to scrape past Dynamo Kiev 1-0, the odds were heavily stacked against the Gunners. As Arsenal entered the intimidating San Siro arena with the criticisms of the British media ringing in their ears and minus their injured captain, Patrick Vieira, there was no indication of what was to follow. A quite scintillating display by the North Londoners and a stunning individual performance from Thierry Henry saw the San Siro stunned into silence as the Gunners swept to an emphatic victory.

FC BATE Borisov 3 Bayern Munich 1  (Champions League Group Stage - 2012/2013)
BATE Borisov pulled off a huge Champions League shock, producing a classic display of counter attacking football to beat Bayern Munich 3-1 in Minsk in October 2012.
It was their first ever UEFA Champions League group stage home victory as Bayern's dream of a club-record tenth successive win at the start of a season floundered. Aleksandr Pavlov struck against the run of play midway through the first half, and while Viktor Goncharenko's side spent plenty of time manning the barricades thereafter, Vitali Rodionov doubled the lead on 78 minutes. Franck Ribéry pulled one back late on, but substitute Renan Bressan hit a third for BATE in added time for a famous victory.

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