Venue: Estadio Riazor, A Coruna,
Competition: ECL Quarter-Final, Second Leg.
Score: Deportivo La Coruna 2
Scorers: Deportivo La Coruna: Djalminha (pen), Tristan.
Deportivo La Coruna: Molina; Pablo, Naybet, Donato, Romero; Silva, Djalminho (Valeron), Fran, Victor (Tristan); Pandiani (Flores), Makaay. Unused Subs: Cesar, Scaloni, Fernando, Songo’o.
Referee: Stefano Braschi (
Deportivo had come back from a
three goal deficit in previous games and had recently achieved the feat in
Under merciless and unrelenting pressure United swayed, wavered and rocked but refused to roll over to the Spanish Champions in a spine-tingling ecounter at the Riazor Stadium which they would not forget in a hurry. Their passage to the Semi-Finals had been littered with high drama, but nothing that had happened previously could be compared to what they had to withstand at the home of Deportivo La Coruna. United needed all of their three-goal lead from the first leg as they were subjected to intense pressure the whole game from a team that attacked from everywhere and with such purpose that they often threatened to run amok.
United were unchanged from their magnificent
Good Friday win at Anfield and they did not take the
option of a
Spurred on by their early success Deportivo proceeded to rock United with both Rio Ferdinand and Danny Mills being put through a thorough examination by the adventurous Victor and the speed of Walter Pandiani. Donato’s push on Alan Smith relieved the pressure but United were unable to capitalize on their free-kick as Nourredine Naybet swiftly cut off Alan Smith progress on the edge of the area. On the half-hour United were grateful for a terrible miscue by Roy Makaay from point-blank range. Then Rio Ferdinand cleared of the line, Nigel Martyn made two crucial stops and Manual Pablo’s strong volley took a critical deflection as United’s goal remained under siege. Nigel Martyn then flung himself to his right to keep out Walter Pandiani’s glancing header and it was extremely astonishing that the hosts only led by the single goal on the night. Such was the disarray in the United camp that Alan Smith and Mark Viduka argued openly, but three minutes before half-time Donato’s under-hit back pass gave Alan Smith a chance, but after rounding the keeper the best he could do was fire into the side-netting.
Ian Harte’s crucial
header from under the bar denied Victor and Nigel Martyn
tipped Romero’s shot onto a post as Deportivo
reappeared after the break with no less intent. Olivier Dacourt
brought Francisco Molina to his knees, Alan Smith cleverly won a corner on the
right and Harry Kewell was equally cunning on the
left as United finally broke free. They were soon on the back-foot again as Ian
Harte made another important headed clearance, Nourredine Naybet was too high
with a header from Fran’s corner and Nigel Martyn
kept out Roy Makaay’s stinging shot after he had been
played in by Fran. The
Mark Viduka was instantly presented with a glorious chance to wrap the game up for United after Dacourt had put him in the clear but Francisco Molina, springing to his left produced a spectacular save. As sinews tired and hearts pumped, Fran tried to catch out Nigel Martyn in the closing stages with a shot inside the near post, after shaping to cross, but the United custodian was equal to the task and had it well covered. Then came the sweetest sound of the final whistle.
Alan Smith goes in hard
Ian Harte confronts Manuel Pablo
Alan Smith hassles Donato
Lee Bowyer salutes the fans after the game
United were now the only British team left in the European Cup
Deportivo La Coruna 2000-01:
Back Row: Molina, Manuel Pablo, Emerson, Makaay, César, Mauro, Dani Mallo, Fernando, Kouba, Romero, Valerón, Naybet, Songo'o,
Middle Row: Suso (kitman), Segade (masseur), Ares (masseur), Richard Moar (Secretary),Francisco Melo (Asistant Coach),
Javier Irureta (Coach), Augusto César Lendoiro (President), Barros (Delegate), Franganillo (Fitness Trainer),
Sambade (Goalkeeper Coach), Carlos Lalín (Readaptador), Dr. Barral (Medico), Caramés (Physio), Llamas (Physio),
Front Row: Duscher, Fran, Pandiani, Bassir, Víctor, Hélder, Scaloni, Sampaio, Djalminha, Capdevila, Tristán, Turu Flores, Donato,
Javi Rego (Kitman).
Mark Viduka forced a spectacular save Olivier Dacourt gave wholehearted effort Harry Kewell skinned Manuel Pablo
Ian Harte made headed clearances Nigel Martyn made many fine saves Alan Smith got in a header
David Batty was in midfield Eirik Bakke came on as a substitute Turu-Flores was a substitute Goalkeeper Jacques
Celestine Sono’o was
unused on the bench
Victor, Donato and Mauro Silva came into the Deportivo team