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

NatWest t20 Blast 2014

NatWest t20 Blast 2014

Posted by: The Sports Mirror on May 23rd, 2014

The 2014 NatWest t20 Blast got underway on May 16th and it looks set to be a thrilling cricket tournament if the first round of fixtures is anything to go by. M ..

Football

Delhi Dynamos announces Belgian Harm van Veldhoven as manager

Delhi Dynamos announces Belgian Harm van Veldhoven as manager

Posted by: Vikram Kamboj on July 30th, 2014

New Delhi, July 30th, 2014: Delhi Dynamos FC, the national capital’s Football Team for the Hero Indian Super League, announced Harm van Veldhoven as their Man ..

Tennis

Is this the end of era?

Is this the end of era?

Posted by: Gautam Bajpai on February 7th, 2014

Roger Federer as many would say, is and will be the greatest of all time. Over the years, the Swiss has entertained us with his breathtaking skills on the court ..

F1

Racing towards the Formula Masters China Series 2013

Racing towards the Formula Masters China Series 2013

Posted by: Vikram Kamboj on April 30th, 2013

Bangalore, April 29, 2013:  Meco Racing – International is a now a fully functional Racing Team taking part in the Formula Masters – Asia Series. The Team ..

Boxing

ESPN STAR Sports Signs up a 5 Year TV Broadcast Rights Deal with Super Fight League (SFL)

ESPN STAR Sports Signs up a 5 Year TV Broadcast Rights Deal with Super Fight League (SFL)

Posted by: Vikram Kamboj on March 14th, 2013

New Delhi, India, Wednesday, March 13, 2013: ESPN STAR Sports, Asia’s leading sports broadcaster, today announced a 5 year broadcast deal with Super Fight Lea ..

Other Sports

Equestrian: Riders from Bangalore to represent India at the 17th Asian Games, 2014

Equestrian: Riders from Bangalore to represent India at the 17th Asian Games, 2014

Posted by: Vikram Kamboj on July 24th, 2014

Bangalore, India – July 24, 2014: Ajai Appachu, Fouaad Mirza and Nadia Haridass, three of Karnataka’s veteran show jumpers from the Embassy International Ri ..

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