With the Champions League semi-finals just around the corner, we are going to take a look at five of the greatest semis in the competition’s modern format. Over the years, there have been an array of tense battles between some great teams all looking to reach the biggest stage in European football:
Barcelona 4-0 Liverpool (2019)
After a crushing 3-0 defeat at the Camp Nou, Liverpool were on the verge of having their hopes for capturing a sixth European title, but succumbed to another Spanish side. The confidence from Barcelona was rife, but if you know Liverpool you know not to count the Reds out, especially at Anfield on a massive European night. With Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino out of the tie, Jurgen Klopp’s genius propelled new heroes into the spotlight in Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi, as Liverpool won 4-0 and kept that very important clean sheet. And let’s not forget that sensational Trent Alexander-Arnold corner.
Ajax 2-3 Spurs (2019)
Well, 2019 certainly delivered on its semi-finals. After Liverpool completed their unlikely comeback the attention turned to Amsterdam where the odds were also stacked against Spurs. Surely it wasn’t going to happen twice, was it? With star man Harry Kane sidelined, up stepped Lucas Moura with some magic and an impressive hat-trick that wiped Ajax’s 1-0 lead away as Spurs progressed on away goals with the game finishing 3-3. Two of Moura’s goals were scored within four minutes of each other which completely turned the game on its head and set up an all-English Champions League final.
Manchester United 2-1 Juventus (1999)
Manchester United’s 2-1 comeback victory over Juventus in 1999 had to be on this list. After 25 minutes, the 1996 champions Juventus were put ahead by their captain, Antonio Conte. The rest of the game was smooth sailing for Juventus before a certain Welshman, Ryan Giggs, equalised for the Red Devils in the 92nd minute. Filippo Inzhagi put the Italians ahead in their home soil tie inside just 11 minutes before Roy Keane and Dwight Yorke fired back with goals also inside the first half. Andy Cole sealed it in the 83rd minute to see United into the Champions League final. This wasn’t the only comeback Fergie’s side managed that season…
Chelsea 2-3 Barcelona (2012)
Chelsea took the lead in this tie with a 1-0 at the Bridge and managed to impressively keep Lionel Messi quiet, a man who went on to score 91 total goals that year. The Blues still had quite a tough task awaiting them at the Camp Nou. That was made harder when first-half goals came from Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta. Unfortunately for the Catalonians, a Spaniard named Fernando Torres launched a one-man counterattack before taking the ball around Victor Valdes and sending the Blues to a second final in four years.
Dortmund 4-1 Real Madrid (2013)
On paper it appeared Madrid would have an easy path to the final but, contrary to popular belief, Robert Lewandowski had other ideas. The Polish star scored four goals against the travelling Los Blancos at Signal Iduna Park and the Yellow Wall witnessed Dortmund reaching their first Champions League final since 1997. Cristiano Ronaldo secured a lifeline for Los Blancos in the 43rd minute but it wasn’t enough to steal the limelight from man of the moment, Lewandowski.
By Tom Eves