England’s elite have a proud history in Champions League competition, with Premier League clubs having produced some statement results throughout the years.
Manchester City produced arguably the best performance in their Champions League history to thrash Real Madrid and reach the competition’s final, with the Citizens set to face Inter Milan in their bid to be crowned European champions for a first time next month.
Following a stunning display from Pep Guardiola’s side, we’ve looked back at six of the best ever Champions League wins by English clubs.
Juventus 2-3 Manchester United (1999)
Manchester United’s hopes of a first European Cup final in more than three decades appeared to be fading fast after a tough start in Turin, one which saw Juventus – bidding to reach a third consecutive Champions League final – race into a two-goal lead at the Stadio delle Alpi.
Juventus boasted names such as Zinedine Zidane, Edgar Davids and Filippo Inzaghi as part of a star-studded side and it was the latter who did the damage early on with a brace inside 11 minutes.
The first leg had ended as a draw at Old Trafford and Inzaghi’s double left the Red Devils in need of a remarkable turnaround to reach the final.
Fortunately, they found it.
🔴 #OTD in 1999, Manchester United reached the #UCL final with Roy Keane in inspired form…#OnThisDay | @ManUtd pic.twitter.com/AH00RnmqiZ
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 21, 2020
Roy Keane – inspirational on the night but forced to miss the final after receiving a yellow card – headed home a response, before Dwight Yorke scored a second to ensure United were ahead on away goals before half-time.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were forced to withstand strong pressure from the Italians in the second half, but stood firm defensively before striking a decisive late blow as Andy Cole completed the comeback.
United went on to beat Bayern Munich in a dramatic final at the Camp Nou and secure a historic treble.
Iconic Performances: Roy Keane’s superhuman display v Juventus
Inter Milan 1-5 Arsenal (2003)
Arsenal completed the 2003/04 season without defeat in the Premier League to earn ‘Invincibles’ immortality, but their Champions League campaign had begun disastrously without a win in three group games.
The Gunners had been well-beaten 3-0 in their opening fixture against Inter Milan at Highbury and travelled to the San Siro on matchday five knowing nothing but a win would keep their hopes of progress alive.
Thierry Henry opened the scoring for the north Londoners, but Christian Vieiri’s response levelled the game for the Nerazzurri before half-time.
🗓 #OnThisDay in 2003…
🔵⚫ Inter Milan 1-5 Arsenal 🔴⚪️
A @ChampionsLeague masterclass 🔥 pic.twitter.com/OrpwWhXEjV
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 25, 2018
Arsenal retook the lead four minutes after the restart through Freddie Ljungberg and looked set to hold on for a hard-fought win, before an incredible conclusion saw the Gunners score three times late on to record an unforgettable win.
The irrepressible Henry scored his second with a brilliant individual effort and late goals from Edu and Robert Pires added gloss to the scoreline. Inter could do little as Arsenal’s attacking options cut through their defence at will in the closing stages to seal a stunning success at the San Siro.
Iconic Performances: Thierry Henry’s irresistible display at Inter
Manchester United 7-1 Roma (2007)
Manchester United produced a sensational performance to humiliate Roma and reach the Champions League quarter-finals in 2006/07.
United had lost 2-1 in Rome during the first leg a week earlier, but issued the perfect response to thrash the Italians and reach the last eight. Michael Carrick opened the scoring from distance, before Alan Smith side-footed a second to put the Red Devils ahead in the tie.
Roma were shell-shocked as United poured forward in numbers and further goals from Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo – his first ever Champions League goal – made it 4-0 at half-time.
🔴 #OTD in 2007, Manchester United reached the semi-finals with a 7-1 home win…#UCL | #OnThisDay | @ManUtd pic.twitter.com/RqaM6CnDtE
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 10, 2020
Ronaldo slid in his second after the interval and Carrick completed a brace of his own with a thumping strike from distance. Roma did get one goal back through Daniele De Rossi’s fine finish, but United made it SEVEN when Patrice Evra cut inside to drill home a low effort.
The result was United’s biggest win in Europe since thrashing Ireland’s Waterford on route to winning the 1968 European Cup.
Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid (2009)
Liverpool produced a scintillating performance to thrash Real Madrid and reach the Champions League quarter-finals under Rafael Benitez.
The Reds had edged a close first leg to become just the second English side to win at the Bernabeu, but the return proved a one-sided affair as Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard ran riot.
This was far from a vintage Real Madrid side, but a team containing Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Gonzalo Higuain were humbled on Merseyside. The Spanish giants are rarely embarrassed in Europe in this fashion, but had no answer for the threat of Torres and Gerrard in partnership.
Torres opened the scoring after turning home Dirk Kuyt’s cross, before Gerrard slammed home the second from the penalty spot after Gabriel Heinze’s handball.
🔴 When Liverpool beat Real Madrid 4-0 at Anfield back in 2009…@LFC | #UCL pic.twitter.com/kVrGHwfJoy
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 14, 2021
But for Iker Casillas the scoreline could have been greater, but Liverpool emphasised their superiority when Gerrard scored his second, as the midfielder met Ryan Babel’s cross with an emphatic finish.
Andrea Dossena came off the bench to make it four with his first Liverpool goal, in a result and performance that few at Anfield will forget in a hurry.
Iconic Duos: Gerrard and Torres – Liverpool’s lethal pairing
Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (2019)
Liverpool completed one of the Champions League’s greatest ever comebacks to reach a second successive final in 2019.
In one of the great Anfield nights, Liverpool fought back from a 3-0 deficit in the first leg to beat Barcelona and reach the decider. On a raucous night, Divock Origi kickstarted the comeback with a goal after seven minutes, but it was not until after the break that hopes of a miraculous turnaround began to materialise.
📅 #OTD in 2019, Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3 agg). Best comeback ever?@LFC | #UCL pic.twitter.com/8rEZKMQX4Z
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 7, 2022
Georginio Wijnaldum came off the bench to score twice in the space of 122 seconds and level the tie, with Barcelona stunned as the scenes unfolded. Liverpool were all-energy and roared on from the home crowd pushed forward at will.
Origi was the hero with the crucial fourth, as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quickly-taken corner caught out the Barcelona defence and allowed the Belgian to fire home.
Liverpool’s list of famous comebacks in Europe includes that night in Istanbul as the trophy was won in 2005, but this was arguably more impressive as Jurgen Klopp’s team became the first since 1986 to recover a three-goal first-leg deficit in a semi-final tie.
Manchester City 4-0 Real Madrid (2023)
Manchester City reached the Champions League final for a second time after an astonishing performance to beat Real Madrid at the Etihad.
Real Madrid arrived as the masters of this competition, a reputation enhanced during a stunning run to a record-extending 14th title in 2021/22. The Spanish giants so often find a way to win, but had no answer for City’s masterful performance of possession football.
Pep Guardiola’s side were utterly dominant, particularly during a first half in which the brilliance of their side was on show. Real Madrid chased shadows, visibly drained and disheartened at failed attempts to regain the ball from City’s carousel of possession.
Bernardo Silva opened the scoring with a rifled finish past Thibaut Courtois, before doubling the advantage with a fine header floated perfectly into the far corner. Manuel Akanji scored a third goal to end the game as a contest and Julian Alvarez fired home a fourth to send the Etihad into dreamland.
The Champions League has remained agonisingly elusive for this City side, but Guardiola’s team appear unstoppable in their pursuit of a treble. The Premier League can be won this weekend and the FA Cup will follow if Manchester United are beaten in the final on June 3, before City head to Istanbul to take on Inter Milan for European success.
On the evidence of this performance, it will take a mammoth effort to stop the Citizens from a clean sweep.
Read – Oh Arsenal: Five games that saw the Gunners surrender the title to Man City
Read Also – Bottlers? Most time spent at the top of the table without winning the Premier League
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