Thursday, August 30, 2012
ESPNsoccernet: August 29, 6:04 PM UK
Manchester City host Queens Park Rangers on Saturday in a rerun of the final day of last season in which two injury-time goals saw Roberto Mancini's men claim the title in extraordinary fashion. Here, First XI picks out a selection of dramatic stoppage-time strikes.
Bill Perry (BLACKPOOL v Bolton Wanderers, 1953 FA Cup final)
Best remembered as 'The Matthews Final', the 1952-53 season saw 38-year-old Stanley Matthews finally win the FA Cup, which was then the most prized trophy in club football.
Blackpool had been 3-1 down after 55 minutes, and few believed they could recover. However, Stan Mortensen, scorer of the Seasiders' first goal, made it 3-2 when he converted Matthews' cross, and they were level in the 89th minute when Mortensen fired home a free-kick to complete his hat-trick.
With 92 minutes on the clock, Matthews beat two defenders and crossed for South African left winger Bill Perry to complete the comeback. "Seldom can there have been a more popular victory," the Times reporter wrote. "Certainly there has never been one quite so dramatic. And never before has the lush stage of Wembley been so dominated by the performance of a single player."
Marcos (BARCELONA v Real Madrid, 1983 Copa del Rey final)
With Athletic Bilbao having claimed the Primera Division title, Barcelona and Real Madrid went into their Copa del Rey final at La Romareda in June 1983 with everything to play for.
It was a hard-fought encounter, with Victor Munoz and Santillana exchanging goals, but in injury time the Barcelona forward Marcos leapt to head home a cross and send the Blaugrana fans into raptures.
Diego Maradona, winning his first trophy for the club, said afterwards: "Real Madrid didn't deserve it. We suffered a lot but we won in the end. I wish so much that I had scored the goal Marcos scored but, really, it's just a feeling of joy."
Later that month, Barca also beat Real Madrid to win the Copa de la Liga.
Michael Thomas (Liverpool v ARSENAL, 1988-89 English First Division)
After the trauma of Hillsborough, Liverpool had battled to give the fans something to cling to. On May 20, little over a month after the disaster, they defeated Everton in the FA Cup final. On May 26, they played their final game of the season, a rearranged league game against title rivals Arsenal.
Liverpool were top of the league but, if the Gunners won by two clear goals, they would take the title. With home advantage, the Reds were strong favourites, but player-manager Kenny Dalglish later revealed that he had "caught a look of weariness in some eyes" when looking around the dressing room before kick-off.
Arsenal were primed to take advantage. Alan Smith had put the visitors ahead on 52 minutes and, when the match entered injury time, Michael Thomas latched onto a long ball and dispatched the ball past Bruce Grobbelaar. "The shock froze me to the spot," Dalglish wrote in My Liverpool Home. "I was numb, the fuel gauge showing empty as dejection set in. Doing the Double would have been a fairytale, an unbelievable achievement after what Liverpool had endured. When some feeling returned to my body... I acknowledged that Arsenal deserved so much credit for their display."
Jimmy Glass (CARLISLE UNITED v Plymouth Argyle, 1998-99 English Third Division)
Carlisle had begun the final day of the 1998-99 season at the foot of the Football League, a point behind Scarborough and in need of a victory against Plymouth to have any realistic hope of survival. As the game entered injury time with the teams drawing 1-1, Scarborough - having already secured a 1-1 draw of their own against Peterborough - looked to have done enough.
However, with nothing to lose, Carlisle goalkeeper Jimmy Glass - an emergency loan signing - went up for a corner in the fourth minute of injury time and, with the last kick of the game, scored the winning goal.
"If that script had been written by anyone, they would have been laughed at," Carlisle chairman Michael Knighton said afterwards. "I believe in the hand of God. He had a little wink at me in the 90th minute, and I thank him very much."
Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (MANCHESTER UNITED v Bayern Munich, 1999 Champions League final)
"I can't believe it. I can't believe it. Football. Bloody hell."
Sir Alex Ferguson's famous reaction to perhaps the most stunning comeback of all time will live long in the memory. Manchester United, having trailed Bayern Munich since Mario Basler's sixth-minute free-kick, netted in the 91st and 93rd minutes through their two substitute strikers to win their first European Cup in 31 years.
Lennart Johansson, the UEFA president, had failed to realise what had happened and offered his commiserations to Sir Bobby Charlton on his way out onto the field. "I then saw out onto the pitch and I was confused," he said. "I thought, 'It cannot be - the winners are crying and the losers are dancing'."
Sylvain Wiltord (FRANCE v Italy, Euro 2000 final)
France, the 1998 World Cup winners, had appeared doomed to failure in the Euro 2000 final as a 55th-minute Marco Delvecchio goal saw them trailing Italy until the final minute of injury time. With almost the last kick of the game, substitute Sylvain Wiltord crashed a shot past Francesco Toldo to force extra time, and Les Bleus claimed victory through David Trezeguet's 103rd-minute golden goal.
"Everybody thought we were dead," Thierry Henry said afterwards. "With the French team, it is never over. I was pretty annoyed the Italians were already thinking of victory. They were clapping hands and high-fiving. It was bothering me so I was really happy when the ball went in."
Patrik Andersson (Hamburg v BAYERN MUNICH, 2000-01 Bundesliga)
In 2001, on the final day of the Bundesliga season, Bayern Munich had been three points ahead of Schalke with an inferior goal difference. To ensure they won the title, they needed only a point against 12th-placed Hamburg, but they appeared to have thrown it all away. Schalke, seeking their first national championship since 1958, beat Unterhaching 5-3 at home and, when Bayern fell behind in the 90th minute at Hamburg, the Schalke fans invaded the pitch in celebration.
However, there would be a twist in the tale. Hamburg goalkeeper Mathias Schober, a former Schalke player, picked up a perceived backpass from Tomas Ujfalusi deep into injury time; Stefan Effenberg nudged the indirect free-kick to Andersson, who - with three minutes and 45 seconds on the clock - fired the ball through the mass of bodies and into the net.
"The fact that the ball went past 15 people was obviously lucky," Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said afterwards, "but we forced the luck because we always believed. Of course, I offer my sympathy to Schalke. Their whole world changed in the space of one minute."
Costinha (Manchester United v PORTO, 2003-04 Champions League)
If the world had not taken notice of Jose Mourinho before March 9, 2004, he used his team's triumph at Old Trafford to ensure he would not be soon forgotten.
Porto had claimed a 2-1 home victory over Manchester United in the first leg but, trailing 1-0 to a Paul Scholes header in the dying moments of the second, the 2003 UEFA Cup winners appeared doomed to exit on away goals. That Scholes had seen an effort wrongly ruled out for offside did not appear to matter.
However, Phil Neville gave away a free-kick that Benni McCarthy - scorer of a brace in the first leg - dispatched towards goal. Tim Howard failed to deal with it, and Costinha was on hand to put Porto into a 3-2 lead. It had been a hostile environment that night -Sir Alex Ferguson had accused Porto of gamesmanship in the first leg and the fans appeared to think likewise - and Mourinho reacted to the goal by charging down the touchline in celebration.
Mourinho, ushered down the tunnel at the final whistle, would go on to win his first Champions League that season before emerging as "The Special One" at Chelsea.
Steven Gerrard (LIVERPOOL v West Ham United, 2006 FA Cup final)
As the 2006 FA Cup final entered stoppage time, West Ham had been 3-2 ahead but, after the events of Istanbul in the previous season, few would have doubted Liverpool's capacity to launch a fightback. In the 91st minute, Gerrard fired a stunning 30-yard equaliser to force the game into extra-time.
Just as against AC Milan in 2005, the game ended in a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw, and again spot-kick success saw Liverpool lift the trophy. Gerrard, who had netted an equaliser to make it 2-2, emerged as the hero in a match some would describe as 'The Gerrard Final'. "Steven Gerrard is our talisman," chairman David Moores said afterwards. "I mean you just can't replace him. He has got everything and never ceases to amaze."
Andres Iniesta (Chelsea v BARCELONA, 2008-09 Champions League)
The rivalry between Chelsea and Barcelona had become surprisingly bitter by the time of their meeting at Stamford Bridge in May 2009, with a series of Champions League ties resulting in angry scenes. This semi-final second leg had been no exception.
Chelsea, leading 1-0 at home after a hard-fought 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou, had seen a succession of penalty appeals dismissed by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo but, against ten men, looked assured of progress. However, in the 93rd minute, Andres Iniesta was given space on the edge of the area and unleashed a stunning strike beyond Petr Cech.
There was still time for Chelsea to see a further appeal for a penalty dismissed in the dying seconds, prompting an outburst of fury. Michael Ballack pursued the referee with evident rage and, at the final whistle, Didier Drogba unleashed a tirade in Ovrebo's direction, repeatedly informing the TV cameras that it was "a f**king disgrace".
Barcelona, and Iniesta, were unconcerned. "Until the referee blows the whistle, you have to have belief," Iniesta said. "If it had been the fifth minute, I might have sent the ball into the second tier of the stand but I fired with all my heart and the ball entered in the only place it could have."
Emad Moteab (EGYPT v Algeria, 2010 World Cup qualifier)
The intense rivalry between these North African nations was boiling over when the teams met in Cairo for a decisive World Cup qualifier in November 2009. Egyptian fans had attacked the Algeria team bus on its arrival to the city, with three players suffering injury.
Egypt had needed a 3-0 victory to qualify, but a 2-0 win would see them draw level at the top of Group C and force a play-off on neutral territory. The 75,000-strong crowd at Cairo International Stadium had high hopes when Amr Zaki fired them into the lead after only two minutes, but Algeria - who were able to field all three players injured in the bus attack - held strong. It was not until the 95th minute that Egypt made the breakthrough, with substitute Emad Moteab heading home to make it 2-0 and forcing a play-off.
That match took place in Sudan less than a week later as tensions escalated. Algeria claimed a 1-0 victory, and Egypt's football federation claimed afterwards that "Egyptian fans, officials and players put their lives at risk before and after the game, under threat from weapons, knives, swords and flares". Riots took place in Cairo, with Egyptians attempting to firebomb the Algerian embassy, and Egypt recalled its ambassador to Algeria.