Best ever European finals - Oddetorium

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Saturday, 28 May 2011

Best ever European finals

Best ever European finalsAhead of Saturday's Champions League final, here's a look back at some of the great finals the European football has produced.

1960 European Cup final

 Real Madrid 7 Eintracht Frankfurt 3

Any final with 10 goals in it deserves to be in this list and this match, played in front of 135,000 fans at Hampden Park is no exception. There were thoughts that Madrid's forward pairing of Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás might be passed their prime and Frankfurt's semi-final saw them beat Rangers 12-4 on aggregate.

When Frankfurt took the lead in the 18th minute, there were thoughts that a shock could occur. Within 10 minutes Madrid equalised through Di Stéfano and three minutes later his second goal gave Madrid the lead. Any doubts about Madrid's forwards were completely lost by the 60th minute as Puskas completed a 15-minute hat-trick to give Madrid a 5-1 lead.
Puskas then netted his fourth goal in the 71st minute. That was the first goal of an astounding four minutes of play that saw four goals scored; two for each team. Di Stéfano completed his hat-trick, while Erwin Stein scored twice for Frankfurt, but it was not enough as Madrid lifted the trophy for the fifth time. (Source)

1962 European Cup final

Benfica 5 Real Madrid 3

Real Madrid won the first five European Cup competitions, but that run came to an end in 1961 after they were beaten by Barcelona in the first round. Benfica went on to win the trophy that year and the two teams met in the 1962 final, with Madrid favourites to reclaim their crown.
The game started well for Madrid who were 2-0 up by the 23rd minute after two goals from the legendary Ferenc Puskás. But Benfica suddenly found there form and by the 34th minute the scores were level. Puskas went on to grab a first-half hat-trick to give Madrid the lead at half-time.
Within six minutes of the second-half Benfica were level and the Portuguese side started to enforce themselves in the match. A young Eusébio then took centre stage with two goals in three minutes, just after the hour mark and Madrid were unable to respond and Benfica retained the trophy. (Source)

1962 European Cup final

 Celtic 2 Internazionale 1

Jock Stein's Celtic team were famously all born with 30 miles of Celtic Park and travelled to Lisbon to face the mighty Inter Milan. At this stage Europe's premier club competition had only been lifted by continental teams. Real Madrid, Benfica and both teams from Milan were the only teams to have been crowned European champions and most people believed that was unlikely to change.
But they had not counted on Stein and his band of 'Lisbon Lions'. Stein set about trying to confuse and upset Inter in the lead-up to the game and encouraging his players to believe they would become the first British team to lift the trophy. After seven minutes Inter were awarded a penalty, which Sandro Mazzola duly put away. Inter's tactics were to defend, they were comfortable with Celtic coming at them, at least they thought they were.
Stein realised that Inter were very strong at defending in their box, so he encouraged his players to try and beat them from outside the box. In the 62nd minute left-back Tommy Gemmell unleashed a ferocious shot from about 25-yards, which brought Celtic level. Celtic's fitness levels seemed to astound Inter and with just five minutes remaining Bobby Murdoch hit a shot across the goal, Stevie Chalmers got a foot on the ball and directed it home, giving Celtic their historic and unlikely win. (Source)

1968 European Cup final

 Manchester United 4 Benfica 1

This was Benfica's fifth appearance in eight years in the European Cup final, while this was the first time any English team had made it to the final. This came 10 years after the Munich air disaster had robbed United of the Busby Babes. It was thought to be the last chance the survivors of the crash, Matt Busby, Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes had to win the trophy.
The first-half was a hard fought affair, with both big threats George Best and Eusebio man-marked out of the game. Eight minutes into the second half Charlton put United in front with a rare headed goal, but the experienced Benfica team refused to panic. In the 75th minute Jaime Graça equalised for Benfica and at that point Benfica increased their efforts and showed the class that had led them those five finals.
Late on Eusebio had a great chance to win the game, but after breaking through United's defence he blasted his shot straight at goalkeeper Alex Stepney. That late push by Benfica cost them dearly on a hot and humid night in London and they looked tired throughout extra-time. The fact that George Best finally escaped his marker three minutes into extra-time and put United in front did not help Benfica. They lost it and two more extra-time goals saw United become the first English team to lift the famous trophy. (Source)

1988 Uefa Cup final

 Bayer Leverkusen 3 Espanyol 3

The Uefa Cup final used to be played over two legs and in 1988 Espanyol looked set to lift the trophy after a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of the final. Almost one hour in to the second leg the score was still 0-0 and it looked very promising for Javier Clemente's side.
In the 57th minute of the second leg Brazilian striker Tita scored for Leverkusen and when Falko Götz added a second six minutes later the comeback was on. Espanyol tried to hold on to their lead but with just nine minutes remaining South Korean Cha Bum-Kun equalised for the German team.
With no goals in extra-time the final would be decided on penalties and incredibly Espanyol snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the second time. They went 2-0 up in the penalty shoot-out, but Leverkusen, inspired by goalkeeper Rudiger Vollborn (pictured), fought back again as Espanyol missed their three remaining penalties. Leverkusen put their three away and were duly crowned Uefa Cup winners. (Source)

1994 Champions League final

 Milan 4 Barcelona 0

It is not often that such a one-sided final would be considered great, but it was such a dominant and unexpected performance by Milan that it could not be left out.
Barcelona's team included the likes of Ronald Koeman, Hristo Stoichkov and Romario, while Milan's team looked to be in turmoil. Marco van Basten and, the then most expensive player in the world, Gianluigi Lentini were missing through injury while influential captain Franco Baresi was suspended, along with fellow defender Alessandro Costacurta. Uefa regulations stated that a team could only play three foreign nationals so Milan coach Fabio Capello was forced to leave out more big names, including Jean-Pierre Papin and Brian Laudrup.
All these factors meant Barcelona were firm favourites for the match, but Milan did not listen to the script. Marcel Desailly inspired his team to victory, along with Daniele Massaro, who scored twice in the first half to give Milan a 2-0 lead at half-time. Barcelona had no response to Milan's football and when Dejan Savićević scored two minutes into the second half it was game over. Desailly capped his display with a goal on the hour mark and Milan's performance is considered one of the best by a team in the final of Europe's premier club competition. (Source)

1997 Champions League final

 Borussia Dortmund 3 Juventus 1

Juventus were the favourites for this final, despite Dortmund's impressive form throughout the competition. The Juventus line-up looked incredibly strong, containing the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps and Christian Vieri; Alessandro Del Piero was on the substitutes' bench at the start of the match. The Dortmund side was captained by Matthias Sammer and also had Scotland's Paul Lambert in the starting line-up.
The Italians could not live up to the favourites tag and were outplayed by Dortmund in this incredible final. Two goals in five minutes from Karl-Heinz Riedle in the middle of the first half put Dortmund ahead and stunned Juventus. After a better start to the second, Del Piero, who had come on as a substitute, scored via a back-heel from a cross by Alen Bokšić to make the score 2-1. But it was a Dortmund substitute who wrapped up the game, Lars Ricken scored with his first touch just 16 seconds after coming off the bench. (Source)

1999 Champions League final

 Manchester United 2 Bayern Munich 1

This was the culmination of Manchester United's treble-winning season, but this match did not start well for Sir Alex Ferguson's men. Mario Basler's free-kick gave Bayern the lead in the sixth minute and the German's looked solid throughout the remainder of the first half.
United looked to be missing midfield stars Roy Keane and Paul Scholes who were suspended for the final. While they had lots of possession United couldn't really find any clear chances to equalise and Bayern started to look dangerous on the counter-attack. The second-half initially saw more of the same for United although Bayern came closest to scoring; the half did see Ferguson bring on Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Three minutes of injury time were indicated and Bayern's colours were actually put on the famous trophy.
In the first minute of injury time a Beckham corner found its way to Sheringham who fired home to equalise for United. Then after the subsequent kick-off United pressed again and forced another corner. This time Beckham's kick was headed on by Sheringham and Solskjaer stuck out his foot and connected to send the ball flying into the net. United's incredible comeback was complete, Bayern's players were completely devastated and Ferguson's side lifted their third major trophy of the season. (Source)

2001 Uefa Cup final

 Liverpool 5 Alaves 4

After beating Porto, Roma and Barcelona on route to the final, Liverpool faced Alaves who had proven themselves as an attacking and high-scoring force. The Spanish side beat Kaiserslautern 9-2 on aggregate in their semi-final. Markus Babbel headed Liverpool ahead in the fourth minute and Steven Gerrard added a second after 16 minutes.
Iván Alonso came on as a substitute in the 23rd minute and brought Alaves into the game by scoring just four minutes later. Liverpool added a third before half-time thanks to a Gary McAllister penalty. Javi Moreno led Alaves' fightback as they started the second-half in a much more positive fashion. Moreno scored twice in the first six minutes of the half to level the match. Robbie Fowler scored Liverpool's fourth in the 73rd minute and the Reds looked set to claim their third UEFA Cup, but Alaves refused to give up and Jordi Cruyff headed home a corner in the 89th minute to take the game into extra-time.
This incredible final was to be decided by a golden goal and Alaves thought they had won it but Alonso's strike was ruled out for offside. Magno Mocelin was sent off and then Fowler had a goal ruled out for offside. Alaves were down to nine men after their captain, Antonio Karmona, was sent off and from the resulting free-kick Delfí Geli headed into his own goal to give Liverpool the win. (Source)

2005 Champions League final

 Liverpool 3 AC Milan 3 (Liv win on pens)

After a thrilling win over Chelsea in the semi-final Liverpool headed to Istanbul to face the mighty AC Milan. It all went wrong for the Reds early on with Paolo Maldini scoring in the first minute. Hernan Crespo added two more goals before half-time and at 3-0 to Milan the game looked over before the second half had even began.
Liverpool started the second half in a much more positive frame and when Steven Gerrard scored less than 10 minutes into the half, there was a glimmer of hope. Six minutes later that glimmer had become a burning beacon after Vladimír Šmicer and Xabi Alonso added Liverpool's second and third respectively. Both teams had chances to win the game, notably Andriy Shevchenko who was denied by a double save from Jerzy Dudek.
The match went to penalties and when Dudek saved Shevchenko's spot kick Liverpool were crowned European champions for the fifth time and their incredible comeback was complete. (Source)


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