As Chelsea go in search of a big one in Barcelona, Olly Ricketts rates the finest away days for British clubs in Europe, including... well, a Chelsea big one in Barcelona
Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool (Last 16, Feb 21, 2007)
Bearing in mind Liverpool’s European pedigree, we could have chosen several memorable nights for this list. But we've plumped for their 2007 win at the Camp Nou – a top-drawer Rafa Benitez tactical masterclass.
Alvaro Arbeloa kept Lionel Messi in check as the Reds responded to Deco’s opener with goals from Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise either side of half-time – the same two players involved in an infamous golf club-related hotel bust-up leading up to the game. Bellamy showed characteristic contrition by miming a practice swing in celebration, and later turned provider for Riise to sweep home a 74th-minute winner.
Juventus 2-3 Manchester United (Semi-final, Apr 21, 1999)
A 1-1 draw at Old Trafford meant a Juventus side featuring Zinedine Zidane, Edgar Davids and a distinctly pre-weave Antonio Conte were favourites to make the 1999 final. After just 11 minutes of the second leg they looked out of sight thanks to two instinctive Pippo Inzaghi strikes which had put the Italians in complete control.
What followed was extraordinary. Roy Keane opened the scoring for a Ryan Giggs-less United midway through the first half, preceding a devastating booking which meant he would be ruled out of the final were United to reach it. But the Irishman was sensational, galvanising his team to push on and equalise through Dwight Yorke, who then hit a post shortly after.
And that was just the first half. United needed to see out the second to advance on away goals, but Juventus added a second striker to pile on the pressure, and only a linesman's flag denied Inzaghi his hat-trick on the hour mark. The Italians never got their third goal, though, and late on Andy Cole made sure of United's place in their first European Cup final for 31 years.
Leeds 0-1 Celtic (Semi-final, Apr 1, 1970)
Don Revie’s English champions met Jock Stein’s Celtic in the first ever European meeting between British clubs. Leeds were favourites, but Celtic midfielder George Connelly scored just 40 seconds into the first leg at Elland Road to give the Glaswegians a huge advantage.
The second leg was played at Hampden Park, where Celtic won 2-1 in front of some 136,000 supporters to see them through to a second European Cup final in four years.
Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea (Semi-final, April 24, 2012)
Didier Drogba’s first-leg goal had given Chelsea a slender lead to take to the Camp Nou, but that headstart always felt essential to even have a chance: Barcelona were defending champions, considered by many to be the greatest side ever. Chelsea had caretaker Roberto Di Matteo pitting his wits against Pep Guardiola. If Plan A didn't work, Plan B was Fernando Torres.
As it turned out, Plan B was needed rather quickly. Within 44 minutes Chelsea were two goals and both centre-backs down; Gary Cahill limped off after 26 minutes, before John Terry was sent off for violent conduct. But then a lifeline: Ramires pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage-time which gave the Blues a semblance of hope.
Once again it didn't last long: four minutes after the break, Barça won a penalty after Didier Drogba tripped Cesc Fabregas – only for Lionel Messi to miss from 12 yards. As it turned out, the Argentine would pay a heavy price indeed. In stoppage time, Chelsea broke via the much-maligned Torres, who rounded Victor Valdes and slotted in to cap a sensational aggregate win against the odds. As the final proved, the Blues could indeed do it all over again.
Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal (Last 16, Feb 21, 2006)
There was a time when Arsenal didn't routinely fold at the first sign of adversity, and were instead blessed with the quality, grit and determination that allowed them to compete with Europe’s finest.
In truth, this was not the greatest Real Madrid team ever assembled: they finished 12 points behind Barcelona in 2005/06 and didn't get close to winning a trophy. Still, though, a trip to the Bernabeu was hardly appealing – and Arsenal had significant injury problems to contend with. Mathieu Flamini played the first of his five knockout games at left-back; Robert Pires wasn't fit enough to start; Patrick Vieira was out altogether, and a 20-year-old Cesc Fabregas holding fort in his stead.
But Arsene Wenger's side didn't let it show, and their superb showing was rewarded in the 47th minute through Thierry Henry's magnificent solo effort. Arsenal battled on to the final beyond Juventus and Villarreal, before falling agonisingly short to Barcelona in Paris.