UEFA Champions League is a much coveted tournament. The matches of Champions League never fail to entertain the crowd. It’s certainly the match between the best. CL matches are much hyped before the match and never fail to live up to its expectation. The clubs that succeed in the Champions League are considered to be the best. The inter-club rivalry between clubs of different leagues gets ignited because of Champions League. Such is the stature of the tournament that, the tournament win is considered to be a huge honour and goes down in the history of the club as a great milestone.
So, here we look at 3 greatest Champions League semi-final matches in the last decade:-
#1 Milan vs. Barcelona, 2010:-
When Milan and Barcelona were drawn with each other in the semi-final, back then, it looked like a mismatch because Barcelona were the defending champions and Jose’s team had not shown any miracle in the season so far. What transpired was truly astonishing, in the away leg for Barcelona. Mourinho had come up with a master plan to tackle Barcelona. Albeit, Barcelona had a good start to the match, they lost the match 3-1 to Milan. Pedro scored the lone goal for Barcelona to put them in front. However, the Milan team woke after the goal and Sneijder, Maicon and Milito got on the score sheet. Their defence was as firm as any, with Barcelona not able to find any holes in it. Barcelona was expected to return from this deficit in the 2nd leg, which was their home leg.
The home leg for Barcelona was a heated affair, given Jose and Pep’s rivalry against each other. Barcelona tried time and again to break the wall of old Italian defence, but they didn’t manage to gain anything. However, it was Gerard Pique, who opened the scoring for the Catalonians. The whole stadium erupted into celebration. Barcelona had to score one more goal to qualify for the finals on the away goal rule. Meanwhile, Milan’s Motta was sent off harshly, after a challenge on Busquets. The goal looked certain for Barcelona against the 10-men. However, what transpired afterwards was a true world class defensive effort. It was probably the best defensive effort of the era. They didn’t let Barcelona proceed to the finals and Jose got his revenge on Pep.
#2 Chelsea vs. Liverpool, 2008:-
It was the third time both the PL giants were meeting each other, with the reds winning on the previous two occasions. In the home leg for Liverpool, they were expected to win the match, given their exploits. However, it was a 1-1 draw in the end, giving major advantage to Chelsea. Kuyt opened the scoring for the Reds and broke the deadlock just before the half time. Chelsea was not looking in best of their attacking form. It was an own goal from the substitute left-back John Arne, that gave Chelsea some hope for the 2nd leg.
In the home leg for Chelsea, what the crowd witnessed was absolutely spectacular football. The reds started dominating the play from the starting. Torres scored in the early minutes of the game to give Liverpool much needed confidence in the away game. This took the match into extra-time, where legendary Lampard, stood up to the occasion and scored an expert penalty. Drogba then doubled the lead of Chelsea, just minutes after. The match looked set for Chelsea, but Babel had other plans as he scored a screamer from just outside the box. However, this wasn’t enough for the reds as they failed to proceed to the final and it was the Stamford Bridge outfit that clinched the victory.
#3 Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid, 2012:-
The rivalry between these two clubs in the European circuit is quite electric. Both the teams try to beat each other, to showcase their dominance as the best club. Bayern and Real were drawn against each other, in the semi-final of the 2012 edition of the Champions League. It was a mouth watering fixture for all the football fanatics. Real started quite strongly, in the first leg at home for Bayern. However, it was Ribery’s goal that put the home side in front. Ronaldo, who was having an off-night, scored an equalizer for the Galacticos. The match was at level and both the teams had their chances to score. It was Mario Gomez, who did the trick and scored for the men in red in the 90th minute. It gave Bayern, the much needed advantage, going to Real Madrid’s territory. The match ended in 2-1 to Bayern.
In the second leg at home for Real, they again started off the match strongly, like they did in the first leg. However, it was Ronaldo who drew the first blood this time, giving his team a lead. The lead was equalized by the penalty from Ribery, which made the match even tenser. The Galacticos were trailing behind of the aggregate. It was the Portuguese star, Ronaldo, who got them the 2nd goal. Neither of the team could score another goal and the game went on to penalty shootout. It was a disaster for Madrid in the penalty shootouts as Ronaldo and Kaka missed their penalties. However, Casilas kept Madrid in the game by stopping the penalties of Kroos and Lahm. But, Ramos did the unthinkable and blasted off his penalty in the air. It was then, Bastian who scored the winning penalty for Bayern and sealed the deal for them. The match ended in the score line 2-1 and Bayern winning the penalty shootouts by 3-1.