Everyone remembers the Zidane volley against Leverkusen, the Messi header in 2009 and Lars Ricken’s chip over Peruzzi because these goals were moments of sheer brilliance that proved to be the difference between picking up a runners-up medal and gripping both hands on that big Champions League trophy.
Those wonderful strikes from winning sides will forever be etched into the memory and the history books but it is easy to overlook the stunning goals that offered a glimmer of hope or looked to have secured victory before it all changed. These are the Champions League final strikes that are often forgotten.
1997 UEFA Champions League Final: Alessandro Del Piero vs Borussia Dortmund
Marcelo Lippi’s side dominated proceedings in the first half with Zidane making life hard for Dortmund’s defensive midfield duo Paulo Sousa and Paul Lambert carving out opportunities for Boksic and Vieri but the German side on home soil scored twice against the run of play to go in at half-time leading the favourites. Right back Sergio Porrini was sacrificed for Del Piero as the Italian side moved to a back three with the number 10 playing in behind the two towering strikers. The tactical shake-up paid off in the 64th minute when Jugovic’s delicate touch set Boksic free who crossed low for Del Piero to nonchalantly clip the ball passed Klos.
2005 UEFA Champions League Final: Hernan Crespo vs Liverpool
It should have been the perfect goal to put the game to bed for Carlo Ancelotti’s men who dominated the game from the very first minute, but as we all well know that night in Istanbul will be remembered for one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the competition. Before the Liverpool recovery in the second half, the Argentine striker on loan from Chelsea grabbed his second goal of the game after Pirlo helped turn defence into attack as the forward profited from a defence-splitting pass from the excellent Kaka leaving Crespo to delicately lift the ball over Jerzy Dudek and into the back of the net.
2011 UEFA Champions League Final: Wayne Rooney vs Barcelona
Despite early signs that Ferguson’s side were capable of matching the Barcelona midfield, Xavi poked the ball out to Pedro who finished clinically to give Barcelona the lead but within minutes and with United pressing higher up the pitch Rooney exchanged passes with Carrick in a congested midfield feeding the ball to Giggs who crept inside of Pique and Abidal and laid the ball back for the Rooney to side foot the ball high passed Victor Valdes. It was as good as it got for United though as Barcelona dominated possession and the game and were deserved winners at Wembley.
1999 UEFA Champions League Final: Mario Basler vs Manchester United
En route to the final the German midfielder proved his match-winning qualities including a superb goal against Dynamo Kyiv in the semi-finals so it was perhaps no surprise that Basler seized the opportunity to put Munich ahead so early in the game. Just five minutes into the game, Zickler delivered a high ball to Carsten Jancker and Ronny Johnsen who moved back to centre half after playing in midfield against Juventus in the semi finals collided with the big forward on the edge of United’s penalty box. With Effenberg also sizing up the opportunity to put Bayern ahead, Basler curled the ball low and around the United wall to put Bayern in the lead.