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Top 5 Champions League quarterfinal upsets

  • Top 5 upsets in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League
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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 15:16 IST

#2 CSKA Sofia 2-1 Liverpool: 1981-82

The CSKA Sofia side of 1981-82 that eliminated Liverpool in the quarterfinals
The CSKA Sofia side of 1981-82 that eliminated Liverpool in the quarterfinals

The 1980-81 Champions League was a memorable one for Liverpool. The Reds would capture the title beating Real Madrid in the final and were favoured to retain their title heading into the 1981-82 edition. There was a sense of deja vu in the quarterfinals when Liverpool were drawn against the same side whom they had faced the previous year - CSKA Sofia.

The Bulgarians had been dispatched 6-1 the previous year and the Kop was understandably confident going in to match against a side that required extra time to dispatch Northern Irish Champions Glentoran in the previous round.

The first leg at Anfield saw Liverpool - with Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness in the side - beat the Bulgarians 1-0. A slender lead, which would be put to the test in the return leg at the Vasil Levski Stadium in front of 70,000 partisan CSKA supporters.

Sure enough, CSKA cancelled out the deficit in the 77th minute when Stoycho Mladenov put the Bulgarians ahead. The match went into extra time and Mladenov would earn his nickname as 'Liverpool's executioner' when he beat Bruce Grobbelaar in the 101st minute to put the Army Club ahead in the tie.

Liverpool desperately hunted for an away goal that would take them through, but their fate was sealed three minutes from time when a frustrated Mark Lawrenson was shown a red card. CSKA held on to set up a semifinal date with Bayern Munich.

They would remarkably take a 3-0 lead in the home leg and eventually win the match 4-3, before succumbing to a superior Bayern side 7-4 on aggregate.

Published 18 Mar 2018, 16:00 IST
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