The Big Six’s last special home Champions League night

Date published: Thursday 14th February 2019 1:16

It has been awfully long while since Manchester United had a big Champions League win at home, hasn’t it?

 

TOTTENHAM 3-0 Borussia Dortmund – 2018/19
What happened: Matt Stead has already covered Spurs’ triumph. So instead, here’s Gareth Bale making a mug of Maicon in 2010.

What they said: Pochettino had his say before jetting off to a location he wasn’t willing to reveal.

 

LIVERPOOL 5-2 Roma – 2017-18
What happened: Mo Salah saw some old friends and Anfield was introduced to Alisson for the first time. The need for a new goalkeeper had long been obvious, even before Loris Karius tried to wave in Aleksandar Kolarov’s long-distance drive, and this time he couldn’t claim to be concussed. Sadio Mane looked a little dazed in his finishing too early on, but Salah was on the money with two sublime goals just before the break.

Mane straightened himself out and Roberto Firmino added a quick-fire brace to put Liverpool 5-0 up with a quarter of the first-leg still to go, but the Reds eased off and Roma scored twice to reduce the deficit. The Italians had overcome a three-goal deficit to beat Barcelona in the previous round and they almost pulled it off again back in Rome.

Liverpool, though, reached Kiev. But the real story: Steve McManaman going all Jimmy Hill with his pronunciation of ‘stanchion’.

What they said: “A perfect performance for pretty much 80 minutes or so. We made defensively one mistake. The penalty is not a penalty but that is the situation and now it is 5-2.

“Of course we would have been more happy with 5-0 or 5-1 but 5-2 is a fantastic result. We had all these runs behind, it changed the game completely and they couldn’t cope with that. We scored these goals and could have scored more. That is all positive, at this moment it doesn’t feel all positive because they scored these two goals but tomorrow I will see the really good part of the game.

“It is absolutely better than I thought before the game but at the moment of course a little mistake” – Jurgen Klopp

 

MANCHESTER CITY 5-3 MONACO – 2016/17
What happened:
A thriller at the Etihad in their Champions League last-16 tie eventually provided City with a two-goal lead to take to France during Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge. The hosts had to show some balls to achieve it, largely because of their own defensive ineptitude, and they could have trailed 3-1 had Willy Caballero not saved Radamel Falcao’s penalty. But at 3-2 down, with Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero scoring for City, Guardiola’s side turned the game around Aguero netting another leveller before John Stones made up for some dreadful defending and Leroy Sane applied some gloss to the finish with a tap-in late on.

Pep knew City had to score in Monaco, despite their two-goal advantage, and they did just that. But they also conceded three to go out on away goals after a 6-6 aggregate draw.

What they said: “I am so happy for the result, we are still alive. These kind of things help this club to achieve another step. We attacked in small spaces. That’s why they wanted me to come here. Everybody has to be congratulated.

“We are going to fly to Monaco to score as many goals as possible. If we don’t score in Monaco we will be eliminated” – Pep Guardiola

 

CHELSEA 2-0 PSG – 2013/14
What happened: If Manchester United want some advice on overturning two-goal deficits to PSG, they could pick up the phone and call their previous manager. Jose Mourinho’s Blues were 3-1 down after the quarter-final first leg and they lost Eden Hazard to injury only 18 minutes in to the return clash. But it was his replacement, Andre Schurrle who gave Chelsea hope just after the half-hour.

It looked to be in vain, as the clock ticked down. But with three minutes remaining, Demba Ba, another substitute dispatched from the bench by Mourinho, bundled home the all-important leveller and winner to secure an away-goals victory and spark another touchline dash from the manager.

What they said: “I’m happy for Ba. A good guy, a good professional, a good group man. The fact I played him before Nando [Torres] made him feel that he doesn’t have the number three striker on his back. His enthusiasm was fantastic and he started giving Paris problems that, normally, they don’t have in their league where it’s a completely different style. I’m so happy he scored the goal because it means a lot for him and a lot for us.

“The players followed our plan, our ambition. And we were lucky because we have the result we fought for. But, if for some reason, we hadn’t scored the second, or if they had scored from the last corner in the last moment to send us out, everybody in this club would still have been proud of the boys” – Jose Mourinho

 

ARSENAL 2-1 BARCELONA – 2010/11
What happened: Arsenal fans can’t reminisce over many famous Champions League nights at the Emirates, but eight years ago, they had genuine hope that the last-16 wouldn’t be their final stop in the competition. That was given to them by a splendid late fightback against Guardiola’s Barcelona, who dominated much of the first leg but Arsene Wenger’s side showed some uncharacteristic fight to take a lead to the Nou Camp. With 12 minutes remaining, Robin van Persie made Victor Valdes look daft to cancel out David Villa’s opener, and five minutes later, Andriy Arshavin side-footed in a winner to cap a rapid counter-attack.

Arsenal were much more Arsenal in the second leg, going down 3-1, with van Persie sent-off and Nicklas Bendtner blowing a glorious late chance to nick the tie on away goals.

What they said: “Barcelona are still favourites. But we know now we can beat them. We didn’t know that last year. This gives us a chance to go to Barcelona with belief.

“I am highly delighted. It was a special football night. The game promised a lot and fulfilled that promise. It was two exceptional teams who tried always to be positive.

“I’m very proud because everybody urged us to play differently to our nature. We can be proud of the result, but more than pride it can strengthen the belief in our philosophy” – Arsene Wenger

 

MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 BARCELONA – 2007/08
What happened: United brought Barca back to Old Trafford after a 0-0 draw in the first-leg at the Nou Camp and despite being without Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic, the Red Devils shut out a side featuring Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry and Sameul Eto’o for a second time, reaching the Moscow final courtesy of Paul Scholes’ wonder-strike.

United were made to hang on towards the end, with Frank Rijkaard’s side seeking the away goal that would have made all the difference, but Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown marshalled United’s defence brilliantly.

What they said: “It’s not easy to beat Barca because they play fantastic football but several things won us the game: the concentration at the back, we protected the space really well and with our play up front, we could have scored three or four goals.”

“I think we were too nervous in the first half but in the second half we played with much more conviction. Towards the end of the game, they had a go and we’re very glad we got through that spell in the last 15 minutes. It was a bit of a ‘hang-on job’ but they didn’t really make any chances and that’s down to our defence.”

“We can’t expect Scholes to score 10-15 goals a season like he did when he was younger, but the one he got tonight makes up for all the ones he can no longer score” – Sir Alex Ferguson

Ian Watson

 


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