Poll: Which English club’s Europa run lives longest in your memory?
It’s been 12 years since Southampton had an excursion in European football, and under Ronald Koeman will be keen to make their opportunity count this time.
The Saints didn’t get any further than the first round of the 2003-04 UEFA Cup, going down 2-1 on aggregate to Steaua Bucharest.
They must get past FC Midjtylland of Denmark before they even reach that round this time round, but at 1/3 to win the first leg, the bookies certainly think they have it in them.
Do that and they could be set for a long spell in the competition.
The tournament has been a memorable one for English sides since the turn of the century, with a number of notable cup runs.
And for today’s poll, we want to decide which one topped the lot.
Here are the candidates.
Chelsea – 2012-13
While the Blues went on to win the competition, the season as a whole was somewhat of a disappointment. They finished third in the league and were only in the competition on the basis that they were knocked out of the Champions League at the Group Stage on away goals.
Nevertheless their run was notable for a penchant for late goals. Eden Hazard’s 92nd minute equaliser sent them into the last 16 at the death, but it was Branislav Ivanovic’s head that stole the show.
With the scores level at 1-1, it looked as if the Blues were heading to extra time against Benfica. That was until the Serb popped up at the back-post to claim the trophy for Rafa Benitez’s men.
As they battle to avoid facing a season in a relegation dog-fight in the second tier of English football, Fulham fans only have to think back five years for memories of better days.
Sure, they might not have won the competition, but the Cottagers claimed plenty of scalps along the way.
From avenging a 3-1 first leg defeat to Juventus with a 4-1 reverse in west London to a doing the double over Wolfsburg, fans of the club can look back at pride with the way they took Spanish giants Atletico Madrid all the way to extra-time in the final.
This season was a year of cup runs but ultimately disappointment for ‘Boro. A semi final spot in the FA Cup and a last eight exit in the League Cup won’t compare to the heartache of a final defeat to Sevilla in Eindhoven.
After going through the group stage unbeaten, topping their respective group it was the inconsistency of Steve McClaren’s side that was their downfall in the knock-out stages.
Despite progressing through four rounds, the north east club lost a leg in each of the match-ups, before being outclassed by their Spanish opponents in the final 4-0.
A treble winning season for the Reds, 2000-01 probably gets overlooked following their Istanbul exploits five years later.
After keeping nine clean sheets in their 12 fixtures leading up to the final in Dortmund, you would have expected the UEFA Cup decider to be somewhat of a nervy affair.
That thought process was misguided, as the Reds marched to the half-time break 3-1 up against Spanish outfit Alaves. A second half fightback from their opponents took the game to extra time before Delfi Geli scored a Golden own goal to hand Liverpool the cup.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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