David Vs. Goliath Of The Champions League

Giants vs. the Giant Killers. That’s how you would drub Tuesday’s Champions League clash between Real Madrid and APOEL Nicosia at the GSP Stadium.

David vs. Goliath of the Champions League

David vs. Goliath of the Champions League

APOEL Nicosia was a name unheard of before this season’s Champions League qualifying stages began.  After two difficult qualifying rounds, few would have put their money on APOEL to survive in a group consisting of Porto, Shakhtar Donestsk and Zenit St. Petersburg. Although not the toughest group in living memory, it is always a difficult task when you have Ukraine and Russia on your travel calendar and the Estadio Dragao is always a tough place to visit.

But with 9 points and a higher goal difference, APOEL topped Group G ahead of Zenit and faced a tough clash against Lyon in the Round of 16. Even Nicosia’s biggest supporters would have felt that was the end of their Champions League journey.

After a tight first leg at the Stede Gerland where they conceded only 1 goal, Jovanovic’s boys knew that they were in with a chance at home. An early goal was all they needed!! Manduca’s ninth minute strike put Nicosia level on aggregate and they defended stubbornly to take the match into extra time and eventually penalties. Dionisios Chiotis was then the hero as he kept out two spot kicks to send APOEL into the quarterfinals thus making APOEL Cyprus’ first ever nomination in the Quarterfinals.

APOEL knew that their biggest test awaited them as they were picked to play Real Madrid in the final 8. The Spanish League leaders come to Cyprus knowing that they are in for anything but a stroll in Cyprus. The Cypriots have won five of their seven games at home this season thus making the GSP Stadium a fortress.

Real Madrid have a near perfect record in Europe this season having won seven of their eight games, their only stumble coming in Russia at CSKA Moscow with Ronaldo having registered five goals in his last four European encounters.

With a record signing fee costing only £850,000 that would put even the reserve team of Madrid to shame, Jovanovic knows that it would be his biggest test keeping the trio of Ronaldo, Higuain and Benzema at bay. Having conceded only six goals so far and having scored the same number, APOEL are a team that looks to score on the counter and Cypriots know that an advantage at home would give them utmost confidence before the return leg at the Bernebau.

Jose Mourinho has the experience of taking his team to Cyprus where his Inter drew 3-3 against Anorthosis Famagusta in 2008 while Ronaldo has also earlier 2 goals at the GSP Stadium during Portugal 4-0 victory over Cyprus in a Euro 2012 qualifier. But the Galacticos know that they will be greeted by an hostile sea of Orange on Tuesday as APOEL look to down the Goliaths of Europe.

Tags: , , ,

Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad. I am 22 and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.blogspot.com

Cricket

CEAT to be IPL’s strategic timeout partner

CEAT to be IPL’s strategic timeout partner

Posted by: Vikram Kamboj on March 20th, 2015

 New Delhi, 20th March 2015: CEAT Ltd. today announced its association with Indian Premier League 2015 as one of the central sponsors for the event. CEAT will ..

Football

Palestine international Omar Jarun becomes Bharat FC’s fourth foreign player

Palestine international Omar Jarun becomes Bharat FC’s fourth foreign player

Posted by: Vikram Kamboj on March 13th, 2015

Bharat FC have completed their quota of foreign players, having signed Palestinian international, Omar Jarun, on an 18-month long deal. The 31-year-old Jarun jo ..

Tennis

Cidade de Goa Open Tennis Tournament 2015 Finals today

Cidade de Goa Open Tennis Tournament 2015 Finals today

Posted by: Vikram Kamboj on February 21st, 2015

Goa, 22nd February, 2015: The Cidade de Goa Open Tennis Tournament 2015 organised in association with the Goa State Tennis Association (GSTA) and Cidade de Goa ..

F1

Lewis and Nico rivals since childhood

Lewis and Nico rivals since childhood

Posted by: Anjan Merkap on March 20th, 2015

We are all aware of the rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton especially that reached a peak in 2014 season as they battled for the driver’s champio ..

Boxing

Sachin Tendulkar meets Sarita Devi

Sachin Tendulkar meets Sarita Devi

Posted by: Atish Home Chowdhury on January 16th, 2015

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar met the ace Indian boxer Sarita Devi at his home in Mumbai and wished her success for future matches. The Manipuri athlete was r ..

Other Sports

Mandar Divse (10km Men) and Nikita Prabhu (10km Women) win the coveted “Swimmathon 2015”

Mandar Divse (10km Men) and Nikita Prabhu (10km Women) win the coveted “Swimmathon 2015”

Posted by: Vikram Kamboj on March 2nd, 2015

Almost 600 swimmers from across the country participated in India’s most awaited open water swimming event, Swimmathon 2015. Athletes in various categories ..

One stop guide to all the sports news, reviews, opinions, fixtures and live scores from India and around the world. A true reflection of sports.

Copyright © 2012 | The Sports Mirror