5 best UEFA Champions League debuts by clubs
The UEFA Champions League never ceases to amaze football fans across the globe. Year after year, the tournament produces some extraordinary moments, enthralling those who are in love with the beautiful game.
Needless to say, the Champions League is arguably the most prestigious club competition on the planet and taking part in the competition is the ultimate dream for the majority of clubs in the continent.
Achieving Champions League qualification for the first time is the holy grail in European football but more often than not, the debutants in the tournament have been taken aback the level of competition which has resulted in unceremonious exits. However, there are a few clubs who defied the odds and subsequently found themselves in the midst of remarkable first seasons in the tournament.
This piece mentions five of the best club debuts in Champions League history.
#5 Anorthosis Famagusta (2008-09)
The old lady of Cyprus football created history in 2008 by becoming the first Cypriot club to qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, a feat which was labelled as ‘The greatest achievement in Cyprus football’ by the local newspaper, Politis. The 3-1 aggregate win over Olympiacos in the third and final qualifying round earned them many plaudits and prompted huge celebrations in the country.
Earlier, Anorthosis had to see off the challenge of Armenian club Pyunik, Austria’s Rapid Vienna to set up the deciding clash with Olympiacos.
In the group stage, Anorthosis were drawn alongside Inter Milan, Werder Bremen and Panathinaikos and even though the Cypriot side finished bottom of the group, they deserve a lot of credit for their showing as they amassed a respectable tally of 6 points. They held Inter Milan and Werder Bremen to 3-3 and 2-2 draws respectively and beat Panathinaikos 3-1 at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium.
Anorthosis’s European endeavour is one that Cyprus could be proud of and something that the entire nation will never forget.