Camp Nou comeback?
We raid our archives to offer Manchester City hope of an unlikely turnaround in their tie with Barcelona. Manuel Pellegrini's side travel to the Catalan capital trailing 2-0 from the first leg but in the knowledge their hosts are not infallible when it comes to European games at Camp Nou
By Alex Dunn Video: Jon Walton & Craig Nance
Last Updated: 11/03/14 12:30pm
Barcelona 0 BAYERN MUNICH 3, 01/03/13
However devoid of inspiration Manuel Pellegrini may be feeling right now, he's likely got nothing on Arsene Wenger. It was last season's Champions League semi-final second leg in Barcelona which rendered football's changing of the guard absolute. Spain's tiki taka was cowered into a corner by a Bayern powerhouse performance that bordered on the obscene, such was its ruthless efficiency.
The last team to beat Barcelona in both legs of a European tie were Dundee United back in 1987. Jupp Heynckes' side did more than beat Barcelona; this was a humiliation. Travelling to the Catalan capital replete with a 4-0 advantage from the first leg, Bayern could have been forgiven for parking the bus at Camp Nou and yawning their way to the final.
Instead, after a goalless first period, Bayern used the second half to announce to the watching world they were the Continent's finest club side by some distance. A Gerard Pique own goal sandwiched efforts from Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller to complete a record Champions League semi-final aggregate win.
Barcelona 2 CHELSEA 2, 24/04/12
It could only happen to Fernando Torres. After coming off the substitutes' bench to calmly round Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés and secure ten-man Chelsea's progression to the Champions League final, this was his moment of redemption. From cold and clinical assassin at Liverpool to comedy character in the capital, this was the Spaniard's V-sign to his doubters; a reaffirmation of his quality.
And then Sky Sports' Gary Neville committed to tape a sound that will outlive us all as one of sport's most iconic commentaries/noises. The Guardian aptly described how it drew 'unfortunate comparisons with a particularly pleasurable bodily function which the French describe as "la petite mort". In Neville's case, there was nothing little about it'.
Neville blamed his reaction on a sore throat as he tweeted "Wow! Football.. My sore throat collapsed on the Torres goal!!! #squeakynevtime" and posted a photograph of a packet of Strepsils.
Upon going viral, Neville laughed off the attention as he tweeted Lee Westwood 'do you not get excited when you see a 6ft, with long blonde hair and legs out about to hit the target!!'
Barcelona 1 RUBIN KAZAN 2, 20/10/09
In terms of Champions League upsets, few trump Rubin Kazan's Group F win over Barcelona back in 2009. Going into the contest the Russian champions (and competition's easternmost outfit) had not a solitary victory at this level to their name, whilst Pep Guardiola's side were very much at the peak of their powers as holders.
Barcelona ended the match with 76 percent possession and 24 attempts on goal, two of which hit the woodwork, but on the end of a 2-1 reverse. Rubin, in contrast, were nothing if not ruthlessly efficient. Two of their three shots on target resulted in goals, with Aleksandr Ryazantsev and Gökdeniz Karadeniz responsible for just a second ever Russian victory at Camp Nou. CSKA Moscow were the last side to do likewise, back in 1992/93, when they saw off a Barca side that included Guadiola as a player.
Pellegrini could do worse than to implement Rubin coach Kurban Berdyev's game plan: "I studied all Barcelona's games in the Spanish championship. I noticed that Xavi and Andrés Iniesta - key players in the team - almost never drop back to their own penalty box. This style of play in the midfield creates free space for shots from the middle range. Our midfielders were told to shoot on sight. It's also good to have a player in this area who constantly tries to hold the build-up of Barcelona's attack in the centre of the midfield."
Barcelona 1 Liverpool 2, 21/02/07
"I just whacked him across the backside with the club. You couldn't really call it a swing. It was just a thwack really. Ginge panicked. He curled up in a ball with a blanket." Ah, the joys of semantics. You say swing, I say thwack. Whether Craig Bellamy took a swing at John Arne Riise's unsuspecting derriere with a golf club or merely thwacked it after a night of lager tops is a moot point but, regardless, it's unlikely this was the type of bonding then Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez had in mind when he sanctioned a mid-season trip to Portugal in preparation for a key Champions League game.
It has never come to light whether Barcelona's preparations for the game involved Xavi and Lionel Messi partaking in similar Benny Hill inspired capers.
Benitez, who according to Bellamy had enjoyed quite the night of it himself, picked both players for the Camp Nou clash and, inevitably, it was the pair who proved pivotal in one of Liverpool's great European away days. The Welshman cancelled out Deco's opener with a header Victor Valdes bundled over the line before laying on a winner for his golfing buddy in the second half. Keen to draw a line under an incident he concedes was 'stupidity of the highest level', Bellamy's choreographed celebratory routine saw him run to the corner flag before demonstrating his best swing. Or was it a thwack?