Defining football matches that shaped history

Defining football matches that shaped history

Throughout the decades of football, we have witnessed unbelievable matches that sent shock waves across the world, dropping jaws at every corner on the planet. Title deciders, relegation battles, to pick matches that truly defined historical moments is far worst than finding a needle from a haystack. Nevertheless, the guys here at Mantality chose five very specific matches that shook in the very least, us.

Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan, 2005 UEFA Champions League Final (3-2 Penalties)

Aside from screaming my lungs out after Steven Gerrard headed one past Dida, I almost went into cardiac arrest after Vladimir Smicer’s long range effort. When Xabi Alonso stepped up for the penalty, my fingers were crossed so hard I had a minor fracture. This of course is the one and only Miracle at Istanbul. Widely regarded as one of the greatest finals in the history of the prestigious European tournament, Liverpool were considered huge underdogs against a stacked AC Milan which had a team of legends in their prime – Cafu, Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo, Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko. Milan took the lead early in the game through Paolo Maldini’s volley from a free-kick. Hernan Crespo had a quick-fire double closing out the first half. After a rally in half-time by the Reds, followed by two strokes of luck and one count of determination, history was made. It was the first and possibly the only Champions League final to see a team come back from a three goal deficit. As the saying goes – It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers, 2012 EPL Title Decider

This epic final match of the season was more than a title win for Manchester City. It was there and then that they established themselves as powerhouses of England. The arrival of clinical finisher Sergio Aguero proved an invaluable asset as he scored 30 goals for the Citizens on his debut season as well as the deciding goal in the final match. The triumph also marked the first time the Premier League title had been decided on goal difference. Manchester United had tied City with 89 points a piece, but heading into the final game which was played simultaneously, United’s goal against Sunderland gave them the lead. It wasn’t long before some drama unfolded as former City player Joey Barton had been sent off for elbowing Carlos Tevez. Despite their numerical advantage, City could not catch a break until the very last five minutes of the game. Edin Dzeko headed home in the 92nd minute from a corner. In the 94th minute, after an incredible run by Aguero, he smashed it into the back of the net, sealing the victory.

Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich, Champions League Final 1999

Where do I start. A meltdown or a comeback? Nobody truly knows. This match allowed Manchester United their complete their historic treble-winning season – together with the Premier League and FA Cup. Bayern took the lead early with a free-kick from Mario Basler just five minutes into the match, and the German side seemed to close the game out despite United having possession for majority of the match. For those unfamiliar with the final, United were missing Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, two key pieces of Sir Alex Ferguson’s midfield army. The Scottish manager introduced Teddy Sheringham in the 67th minute and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 81st minute, both whom were praised for their contribution. Sheringham slotted it past Oliver Kahn in the 90th minute and Solskjaer followed suit by deflecting a wayward header from the latter to make it 2-1 in the 93rd minute. The conclusion was so unexpected that then UEFA President Lennart Johansson was already on his way to present the trophy right before Sheringham’s equaliser.

 

Barcelona 6-1 Paris St Germain, 2016-17 Champions League & Roma 3-0 Barcelona, 2017-18 Champions League

The crew could not decide between the two and because of their similarities, both are featured on this list. The irony, that Barcelona is plays both roles in these two epic Champions League meetings makes it even more interesting.

Last year, PSG went head to head against Barcelona in the first knockout round and dominated their first leg with a 4-0 win, with goals coming from Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Marco Verrati and Edinson Cavani. During the entirety of the match, the Catalan club only recorded one shot on target, and it was then-manager Luis Enrique’s worst performance to date. The return match at Camp Nou saw a record attendance of 96290 and an early goal by Luis Suarez set the benchmark for more goals to come. It was the final seven minutes that defined this game and deemed it as the come-back of the century. Neymar scored an audacious freekick in the 88th minute, before scoring a penalty in the 90th after Suarez was brought down in the box. Right back Sergi Roberto tapped the ball in after a horrendous defensive breakdown by PSG in the 95th minute. Barcelona won on aggregate 6-5, cementing itself as the largest deficit come-back in history.

Watch the final 7 minutes here.

A year later, Barcelona fell victim to a defiant Roma side. Call it karma.

ROMA HAS RISEN FROM THEIR RUINS, MANOLAS THE GREEK GOD IN ROME. Top class commentary worthy for such a historic duel. This was after a drubbing at Camp Nou 4-1 in favour of the hosts.

An early goal by Edin Dzeko and a penalty from Daniele De Rossi had the Romans on their toes. With the clock as their enemy, Defender Kostas Manolas scored a glancing header in the 82th minute to seal Roma’s entry to the semi-finals of the Champions League. The celebrations were wild in what seemed like forever, but you can’t blame the Italians for that reaction, it was their first time in the semi-finals since 1984 where they eventually met Liverpool in the finals. Coincidentally, Liverpool were their opponents in the semis this time around and the results identical – in defeat. Nevertheless, it was a match to remember as Barcelona were completely dominated in the midfield by Roma’s three sentinels; De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan. Ernesto Valverde choice of a defensive line-up surely contributed to their eventual defeat.

Greece 1-0 Portgual, Euro 2004 Finals

One of the most unexpected victories, and underdog story to ever surface. Portugal, who played host for this Euros were huge favorites coming into the tournament, let alone in the final match against an unproven Greek side. The Portuguese side featured a prime Luis Figo, Deco and a certain future star in Cristiano Ronaldo. On the other side of the spectrum, the Greeks were well, relatively unknown.

The match was a slug fest, with a total of 37 fouls committed. Portugal were in complete domination taking 17 shots with five on target.  Their Greek counterpart however, had only one shot on target and it was the deciding goal. Angelos Charisteas scored a glancing header off a corner in the 57th minute, his third of the tournament. Greece has only scored seven goals in total for the competition and three of them from corners.

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