Now, I’m sure it has been said countless times already, but on this day in football history, we bore witness to some absolute firecrackers in the Premier League, Champions League and beyond. More so than any other.
One of the most memorable nights ever in European competition took place, the greatest sporting story of all time took a giant leap towards its iconic conclusion, and one of the most comedic figures of the last three top flights seasons was born knowing full well he’d provide entertainment on a weekly basis for so many.
What a day in history 17 April has been.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Real Madrid
A titanic tussle between two of Europe’s most formidable sides began its gripping semi-final showdown at the Allianz Arena back in 2012, as Bayern Munich took a narrow 2-1 lead into their second leg clash with Real Madrid.
Franck Ribery had fired the hosts in front in a relentlessly pulsating encounter, with the ending to the match a fitting way to sign off on part one of this Champions League clash.
Mesut Ozil – back when he was really good – drew Los Blancos level just after the break with a close-range effort, before Mario Gomez proceeded to squander a
Liverpool Brush Aside Porto
Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk sealed the comprehensive victory, and even if Barcelona didn’t know it yet, the early signs were there for them to be fearing the worst.
Gareth Bale Makes Southampton Debut
14 years ago today, the world of sport was about to witness one of the finest golfers in modern history, Gareth Bale, making his professional debut at St Mary’s Golf Club, just east of Bridgend.
Well, the above is what many would like you to believe, but in fact, the soon-to-be most expensive footballer in the world actually made his football debut for Southampton against Millwall in the Championship. Aged 16 years and 275 days old, Bale was part of a Saints side that won 2-0 on the day, condemning the Lions to relegation.
He became the second-youngest debutant in the club’s history, behind Theo Walcott, making a further 44 appearances before being signed by Spurs.
Just the four Champions League titles since.
Leicester Move Eight Points Clear Atop Premier League
There are many stages throughout the 2015/16 Premier League season that Leicester fans will classify as ‘turning points’, but perhaps on of the most crucial of all came during a home clash with West Ham on matchday 34.
Jamie Vardy went from hero to villain in the space of 38 minutes, netting the opener against the Irons but then receiving his marching orders for two yellow cards. Clinging on for dear life, and with Spurs fans watching on
Jeff Schlupp went to ground under minimal contact in the penalty box – who cares? – deep into injury time, leaving the Argentine with the weight of the east Midlands on his shoulders to convert the resulting penalty. Of all his six league goals that season, none mattered more than this one.
And then the rest, well, happened.
Paul Scholes Sinks Man City to Secure Man Utd Double Over Rivals
There is drama, and then there is drama. The Etihad has seen plenty of it over the (recent) years, but Paul Scholes ensured this particular moment of drama was one to forget for the home supporters back in 2010.
The argument over what colour Manchester is was an easy one to answer during the 2009/10 season, with United already netting two
Record 149,415 Fans Watch Scotland vs England
On this day in 1937, 1️⃣4️⃣9️⃣,4️⃣1️⃣5️⃣ people watched Scotland beat England 3-1 at Hampden.
This figure remains the highest crowd recorded at Hampden Park and is also the record attendance for a European International match. gbsct pic.twitter.com/bSBi8v3V38
— Hampden Park Stadium (@HampdenPark) April 17, 2018
Skhodran Mustafi Turns 28
And for that, we equally remember the pain he’s brought so many Arsenal fans.
And for that, we forget about football and wish him a happy birthday.
And after that, we remember his terrible haircut.
The Most Dramatic VAR Intervention of All Time Denies Man City
“In your life have you EVER seen a game like that?!” 勞
On this day last year, one of the greatest ever Champions League encounters took place…
Enjoy it again through the #NoFilterUCL lens
Man City v Spurs highlights
BT Sport 3 HD
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 17, 2020
Anyone who opted against going out that night, watching something else that evening and instead tuned in on one of the most memorable nights in Champions League history was treated to an unforgettable spectacle. Even now it’s tough to comprehend just quite what happened in this quarter-final tie.
The match ebbed and flowed either way with blistering pace, as goals, drama and VAR rained down on the Etihad at such speed there wasn’t a moment to catch one’s breath.
Seven goals littered our screens – five coming in the opening 21 minutes – with Fernando Llorente’s dubious 73rd-minute strike finally leaving the scores at 5-5 on aggregate. Due to away goals, Spurs were going through. But then VAR sank its teeth into the occasion, with one extraordinary final twist as Raheem Sterling was denied an injury-time winner after a correctly disallowed offside in the build-up. You couldn’t write it.
If your allegiance is to Spurs, then you’ll fondly remember that match forever. If your allegiance is to anyone other than City, likewise.
Which is why it seemed to utterly bizarre for the Citizens to remind their fans of that fateful night with their own ‘on this day’ social media post. Just…why?
For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!