Man United v Chelsea - 2008
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Five of the best: All-English Champions League games of all time

| 04.04.2018

A trip down European Football’s memory lane

All eyes will be on Anfield tonight as Liverpool host Manchester City in the first leg of the pair’s Champions League quarter-final tussle.

Over the years, the UCL has produced a handful of thrilling all-English ties. And the Coral News Team are here to take a look at the best of the bunch…

Nottingham Forest 2-0 Liverpool (first round, 1978-79)

Okay, so this first one isn’t strictly Champions League. But the Coral News Team think the first all-English European Cup meeting deserves a mention – especially as it featured holders Liverpool and eventual winners Forest.

By a quirk of the straight knock-out system, any two sides could be drawn together at any stage. And English football’s premier powers faced off in a heavyweight first-round tie.

Forest breezed past their rivals, who set up to defend but were smartly exposed. The prolific Garry Birtles broke the deadlock, before full-back Colin Barrett bagged a second late on. The reverse fixture finished 0-0, and proved to be Forest’s first step en-route to European glory.

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (quarter-final, 2003-04)

The Blues required an unlikely hero – and a dose of luck – to see off their London rivals in this 2004 tussle. After an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Bridge, this one took a while to spark in to life. But when it did, the drama came thick and fast.

Jose Antonio Reyes scored for the third time against Chelsea that season to break the deadlock on the cusp of half-time. But Frank Lampard levelled the scored just after the interval, gobbling up a fortuitous rebound.

This one looked set to go the distance, before the visitors shocked the Emirates Stadium faithful with an 87th-minute winner.

A lovely one-two between Wayne Bridge and Eidur Gudjohnsen finished with the defender bagging one of the nine goals he managed in 467 career appearances. Chelsea progressed, only for Monaco to humble them in the semi-finals.

Man United (p) 1-1 Chelsea (final, 2007-08)

This was the first – and to date only – UCL final clash between two English sides. But that’s far from the only reason this clash remains an unforgettable night of football.

It truly had everything. United led thanks to a towering Cristiano Ronaldo, before Lampard levelled the scores. The pair went in level at the end of normal time.

A cagey, enthralling extra-time saw both sides waste chances, while Didier Drogba’s slap on Nemanja Vidic saw him become just the second player sent off in Champions League final history. And so to penalties…

Chelsea led 4-3 after four apiece, before John Terry stepped up to the plate. He slipped and slammed his against the post, and their opponents took advantage. In sudden death, Ryan Giggs (equalling Bobby Charlton’s club appearance record) found the net, before Edwin van der Sar saved from Nicolas Anelka. Game over!

Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool (quarter-final, 2008-09)

The Blues’ took a 3-1 advantage into the second leg of this tie – the fifth between the sides in the UCL in as many seasons. With Stamford Bridge the setting, few imagined they’d have any real problems. But Rafa Benitez’s men gave their hosts a real scare, before the West London club edged proceedings.

Fabio Aurelio broke the deadlock with a cheeky free-kick which wrong-footed Petr Cech. And it was 2-0 to the Anfield club when Xabi Alonso converted from the spot. But there was to be no Istanbul-style miracle for the Merseysiders.

Following sustained pressure from the visitors, Chelsea broke away – with Didier Drogba’s innocuous cross somehow escaping the clutches of Pepe Reina. A stunning Alex free-kick followed, to make it 2-2.

The pair then shared out four more goals, with the final score 4-4 at the Bridge and 7-5 to the Blues on aggregate.

Arsenal 1-3 Man United (semi-final, 2008-09)

The Red Devils had dominated the first leg at Old Trafford, but came away with a single goal to show for their efforts. With the tie hanging in the balance at 1-0, they arrived to face a Gunners side who hadn’t lost in 20 Premier League games.

However, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men blew their visitors away in a breathless start to the game. First, Ji-Sung Park capitalised on a defensive slip to make it 1-0 on the night, before Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational free-kick made it 2-0 within 11 minutes.

United went on to make it 3-0, before a late Gunners consolation. However, the visitors saw Darren Fletcher controversially sent off in the latter stages. That decision hampered the Red Devils for the final, where they lost 2-0 to Barcelona.

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Dave Burin