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UEFA Champions League 2016-17: 5 Of The Best Finals In The History


UEFA Champions League logo5. 1967, Celtic 2-1 Internazionale, Lisbon

Jock Stein and Helenio Herrera, two of the biggest coaches of the time, had to face each other in the final of the UEFA European Cup 1967. Celtic was the first British team to reach this far in the competition. 

The Scots managed to win the match, although Inter had opened the score and was leading until the 63rd minute. Gremmell and Chalmers were the heroes to help their team secure a comeback after they had conceded one from Mazzola on the 7th minute. 

Nevertheless, it is not the incredible comeback that keeps this match in the history books, but the fact that this was the first big defeat of Herrera and his legendary Catenaccio tactics. Stein cleverly used his own tactics by increasing the tempo and pushing his full backs forward to outplay the opponent. Celtic’s victory in that final in Lisbon is often considered the day when the era of Grande Inter was over.

4. 1956, Real Madrid 4-3 Stade De Reims, Paris

Yes, the very first final of the European Cup is among the best matches in this competition history. Real Madrid had to play against the French Stade de Reims, which was the flagman of French football in the 50s and 60s. Legends like Kopa, Jonquet and Hidalgo all represented the club in that final.

One of the most entertaining finals saw the French side lead by two goals only after 10 minutes of play. The Spanish team, not lacking legendary names either, managed to equalize before the break. Reims got back into the lead, scoring its third goal in the second half, but Real Madrid scored another two, with the last one coming 11 minutes before the final whistle. The match was played in France, but it didn’t help the French team get back into the game. As for Real, the club started its winning streak in European Cup, which was going to last for 5 seasons.

3. 1960, Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt, Glasgow

The Frankfurt team became champions of West Germany and Real Madrid, winners in two of the most attractive European Cup finals in 1956 and 1960deservedly appeared in the final of European Cup, to face the winner of the previous finals and the best team of the world - Real Madrid. 127 621 spectators came to witness the match in Glasgow, which is one of the most famous matches in the history of the competition.

Real Madrid, featuring names like Puskas, Di Stefano or Gento, was trailing after 18 minutes, thanks to the opener by Kress. Anyway, it didn’t bother the Spanish team much, as they scored six goals before the Germans would score another one. Real eventually won 7-3, with all the goals divided between Puskas and Di Stefano.

Not many of us would imagine a Champions League final end with a score of 7-3 these days, and even fewer would expect to see Eintracht in the final of the UEFA Champions League. Or maybe I’m making a mistake here. 

2. 1999, Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich, Barcelona

Manchester United was supposed to play the 1999 Champions League final at Camp Nou without its midfield architects Keane and Scholes. A win would complete a tremendous treble, but the team had to face a strong opponent - Ottmar Hitzfeld's well-organized Bayern, with players like Lothar Matthäus, Stefan Effenberg and Oliver Kahn in the starting line-up.

Mario Basler‘s low free kick opened the score on the 6th minute. Manchester United had practically not had any chances, other than a single shot on target. Bayern was occasionally creating its chances and could have doubled up the score, but Scholl hit the post 15 minutes before the final whistle. The most interesting was about the start.

Sir Alex Ferguson decided to take Blomqvist and Cole away and substitute them with Sheringham and Solskjær. Then David Beckham's injury-time corner brought the equaliser, which was anticipated throughout 85 minutes. The goal was scored by Sheringham. Anyway, the match clinched the “legendary” stamp on 93rd minute, after another corner from Manchester’s amazing nr. 7. Both Sheringham and Solksjaer touched the ball, which appeared in the net right behind Oliver Kahn. The address of the trophy was changed over the course of a couple of minutes, to a massive disappointment of Bayern Munich fans.

1. 2005, Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (3-2 on penalties), Istanbul

There is no doubt about which final of the most famous club competition in the world has been the best. The “Miracle of Istanbul” happened on May 25, 2005, as Liverpool and AC Milan met in the Champions League final. The Italian team, led by Carlo Ancelotti, included the likes of Kaka, Shevchenko, Crespo, Seedorf, Cafu, Maldini, Pirlo, Stam and Didu. What a big joy it is to write the names of these players, who brought lots of fantastic moments to the football fans in the world. Anyway, it was not Milan that took the trophy home that night.

Steven Gerrard, the captain of Liverpool in Champions League final 2005 But first things first. Rossoneri marched into the game with ease. Milan’s captain Paolo Maldini opened the score after only 50 seconds, following a set piece. They made it 2-0, as Crespo hit the target 6 minutes before the break, and made it 3-0, after the Argentine striker scored again 5 minutes later. Liverpool had a big mountain to climb in the second half.

The memories of the short period between the 54th and 60th minutes still bring goosebumps to every Liverpool and Milan fan. Liverpool’s captain Gerrard scored one to motivate his fellow teammates, then Smicer made it 2-3 two minutes later, and Xabi Alonso equalised afterwards. Mission impossible accomplished in just 15 minutes!

It is hard to get back after conceding three in 6 minutes, but Ancelotti’s side created several big chances to score again. In one of the episodes Liverpool’s Dudek made one of the biggest saves in Champions League history, not letting Shevchenko score from a range of two meters.

No more goals were scored until the 120th minute, so the aftermatch penalty shootouts had to decide the winner. They won in the series, putting the icing on the cake.
 
Read other articles by Samuel Vilkovsky and Samuel Durinsky
 
 
Top 10 Goalscorers in the Champions League History
 
Top 10 Players to Never Win Champions League
 
Top 11 Youngsters of Champions League
  
Slovakia national team at EURO 2016


2017-06-03


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