Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Five great European performances

After Lionel Messi's masterclass against Arsenal, we look at five other memorable performances in Europe's top club competition.

GEORGE BEST (Benfica 1 Manchester United 5, March 9, 1966): Teenager George Best was dubbed ‘El Beatle’ and elevated to popstar status after a stunning display which included two goals against Benfica at the Stadium of Light in a European Cup quarter-final second leg.

FERENC PUSKAS (Eintracht Frankfurt 3 Real Madrid 7, May 18, 1960): Ferenc Puskas bagged four goals in what is regarded as one of the greatest ever European Cup finals. Alfredo di Stefano’s hat-trick is almost overshadowed by Puskas’ display as Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7–3 in front of a crowd of 127,621 at Hampden Park, Glasgow.

MARCO VAN BASTEN (AC Milan 4 Steaua Bucuresti 0, May 24, 1989): Dutch superstar Marco van Basten was at the peak of his powers and gave an attacking masterclass capped by two goals in the final at the Nou Camp against a team who had won the European Cup just three years earlier.

STEVEN GERRARD (AC Milan 3 Liverpool 3, May 25, 2005): Steven Gerrard was the inspiration for Liverpool’s amazing comeback from a 3-0 half-time deficit to draw 3-3 with AC Milan before winning in a penalty shoot-out. The Reds looked dead and buried at the interval but the skipper gave them hope with a 54th minute goal before further efforts from Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso.

ROY KEANE (Juventus 2 Manchester United 3, April 21, 1999): Roy Keane produced an outstanding performance to drive Manchester United into the Champions League final — despite picking up a yellow card along the way which ruled him out of the big match. After the first leg finished 1-1, United were 2-0 down when Keane scored with a header to spark the comeback.

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