By Efosa Taiwo
As both European giants get ready to square up against each other tonight in what promises to be yet another epic night of football the clash always brings, the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final encounter between both teams will always go down as unforgettable, for especially fans of both teams.
Here are five unforgettable moments from that fixture:
- Last-minute change to the line-up: Cristian Chivu replacing Goran Pandev
Goran Pandev was initially included in the starting line-up to face Barcelona at the Guiseppe Meazza but picked up a knock during the pre-match warm-up. Jose Mourinho then summoned up Cristian Chivu to replace him in a 4-2-3-1 formation as he took his place at the left of midfield but later got back to his natural position at left back after Thiago Motta got sent off.
- Thiago Motta’s red card
The match took a turn as early as the 28th minute when Thiago Motta who was already on a yellow got sent off after picking up a second yellow for spreading his arm to shield the ball and thereby touching the arm of Sergio Busquet’s who fell to the ground wrenching in pain. The decision of the referee to show Motta a second yellow engendered controversies with many claiming the foul to be too flimsy, and exaggerated by Busquets.
- Julio Cesar’s unbelievable save to deny Messi
In the 33rd minute, Julio Cesar pulled one of the most important saves of his career as he dived to stretch himself at full length, pushing a deft shot from Lionel Messi beyond goal with his fingertips.
- Samuel Eto’s defensive shift
With Thiago Motta’s red card in the 28th minute, Mourinho switched over to a 4-4-1 formation with Samuel Eto’o having a lot of defensive covering to do as the Portuguese gaffer ‘parked the bus’ to cancel out any chances of the Blaugrana pulling a comeback.
- Mourinho and Oriali’s run across the pitch
One unforgettable moments from that game was Jose Mourinho and Gabrielle Oriali’s run across the pitch to celebrate with the Nerazurri fans.