On This Day in Football History – April 17: Spurs Stun Man City, Man Utd Win Derby & More

​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

Bayern Munich's striker Mario Gomez (R)

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 string of second-half opportunities as it seemed Madrid would hold on. The German’s endeavour finally paid off in the final minute of the match, to set up an equally invigorating second leg.

The scores would be reversed the second time around, and an eventual penalty shootout went in favour of the German side – shock horror – but it would matter for little as Chelsea would scoop the ultimate prize.


Liverpool Brush Aside Porto

Mohamed Salah

Three losses during the group stages had threatened to end ​Liverpool’s 2019 Champions League dreams before they’d even began. They scraped through nevertheless and then turned over Bayern in their own backyard to set up a quarter-final clash with Porto.

A 2-0 home success looked like sealing the deal, but a blistering display in Portugal really demonstrated to the world that this side meant business. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah put the result beyond any doubt, with Éder Militão’s 68th-minute consolation a disservice to the word ‘consolation’.

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

FBL-ENG-PR-LEICESTER-WEST HAM

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 tentatively, West Ham made their numerical advantage count as Andy Carrol and Aaron Cresswell completed the turnaround with four minutes left to play.

As was characteristic throughout the ​Premier League‘s greatest ever story, each member of Leicester’s squad played their part in achieving the unthinkable. No matter how minute, it all contributed to the end result. On this occasion, it was Leonardo Ulloa’s turn.

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 decisive injury-time goals against their arch-rivals that term. In a scrappy, and mostly forgettable 0-0 affair in the Premier League, there were to be more theatrics – once again favouring the side wearing red.

Having signed a new one-year deal just one day prior, Scholes wasn’t to know that said contract signing and his intervention on the day was to be sealed with a big, sloppy, wet kiss.

Patrice Evra floated a cross into the box with 93 minutes on the clock, and the midfield maestro glanced a perfectly-angled header past Shay Given to send the away section and Sir Alex Ferguson into party mode – as well as pique the interest of a long-term friend.


Record 149,415 Fans Watch Scotland vs England

You won’t be surprised to hear this was a British attendance record. You will be surprised to hear Scotland actually won the match, though. 3-1, in fact.

Played at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Fred Steele gave the Three Lions the lead heading into half time, but the hosts turned the match on its head with goals from Frank O’Donnell and a Bob McPhail brace. 

The remarkable attendance could even have been greater, as the numbers only calculate the tickets issued – as many believe the number exceeds 150,000.


Skhodran Mustafi Turns 28


And for that, we wish him all the best.

And for that, we raise a toast.

And for that, we remember the joy he’s brought to so many of us.

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

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!  

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