Greatest European Nights

My greatest European night

Deportivo 4-0 AC Milan, Champions League quarter-final, second leg, 7 April 2004. Carlota Leira was a teenage fan in Deportivo La Coruña’s golden era – and is still dazzled by the night they overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit against AC Milan

WORDS Carlota Leira

I grew up in the days of Súper Dépor. As a teenager I saw us beat teams like Manchester United and Juventus so despite the heavy defeat in Milan, I still believed we could come back. My father, Antonio, had seen Deportivo in the third division and he felt it was impossible. But I was 15 and had only known Súper Dépor, the team built by Augusto César Lendoiro, our greatest president. Two years before, we’d beaten Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final at the Santiago Bernabéu to spoil their centenary celebrations. And we had the best Dépor player of all, Mauro Silva, the Gran Capitán, who now has a street named after him.

The game was in Easter week and a lot of my friends were away on holiday – they now regret not having been there. By the 43rd minute it was 4-4 on aggregate and when the referee blew for half-time, our players ran back to the changing room as if they didn’t want to stop. This was the Milan of Maldini, Pirlo and Nesta but we had lots of goals in the team then, and not just from strikers like Diego Tristán. When Fran got the fourth, I hugged my dad and said: “Papá, we’re going to win.” He died a few years ago so that memory has a lot of meaning.

The euphoria lasted right through to the semi-finals. “If we’ve beaten Milan how can we not beat Porto?” was the feeling and you had people looking at trips to Gelsenkirchen for the final. Instead, we lost. And looking back now, it was our last great European night.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

I grew up in the days of Súper Dépor. As a teenager I saw us beat teams like Manchester United and Juventus so despite the heavy defeat in Milan, I still believed we could come back. My father, Antonio, had seen Deportivo in the third division and he felt it was impossible. But I was 15 and had only known Súper Dépor, the team built by Augusto César Lendoiro, our greatest president. Two years before, we’d beaten Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final at the Santiago Bernabéu to spoil their centenary celebrations. And we had the best Dépor player of all, Mauro Silva, the Gran Capitán, who now has a street named after him.

The game was in Easter week and a lot of my friends were away on holiday – they now regret not having been there. By the 43rd minute it was 4-4 on aggregate and when the referee blew for half-time, our players ran back to the changing room as if they didn’t want to stop. This was the Milan of Maldini, Pirlo and Nesta but we had lots of goals in the team then, and not just from strikers like Diego Tristán. When Fran got the fourth, I hugged my dad and said: “Papá, we’re going to win.” He died a few years ago so that memory has a lot of meaning.

The euphoria lasted right through to the semi-finals. “If we’ve beaten Milan how can we not beat Porto?” was the feeling and you had people looking at trips to Gelsenkirchen for the final. Instead, we lost. And looking back now, it was our last great European night.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

I grew up in the days of Súper Dépor. As a teenager I saw us beat teams like Manchester United and Juventus so despite the heavy defeat in Milan, I still believed we could come back. My father, Antonio, had seen Deportivo in the third division and he felt it was impossible. But I was 15 and had only known Súper Dépor, the team built by Augusto César Lendoiro, our greatest president. Two years before, we’d beaten Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final at the Santiago Bernabéu to spoil their centenary celebrations. And we had the best Dépor player of all, Mauro Silva, the Gran Capitán, who now has a street named after him.

The game was in Easter week and a lot of my friends were away on holiday – they now regret not having been there. By the 43rd minute it was 4-4 on aggregate and when the referee blew for half-time, our players ran back to the changing room as if they didn’t want to stop. This was the Milan of Maldini, Pirlo and Nesta but we had lots of goals in the team then, and not just from strikers like Diego Tristán. When Fran got the fourth, I hugged my dad and said: “Papá, we’re going to win.” He died a few years ago so that memory has a lot of meaning.

The euphoria lasted right through to the semi-finals. “If we’ve beaten Milan how can we not beat Porto?” was the feeling and you had people looking at trips to Gelsenkirchen for the final. Instead, we lost. And looking back now, it was our last great European night.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Greatest European Nights

My greatest European night

Deportivo 4-0 AC Milan, Champions League quarter-final, second leg, 7 April 2004. Carlota Leira was a teenage fan in Deportivo La Coruña’s golden era – and is still dazzled by the night they overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit against AC Milan

WORDS Carlota Leira

I grew up in the days of Súper Dépor. As a teenager I saw us beat teams like Manchester United and Juventus so despite the heavy defeat in Milan, I still believed we could come back. My father, Antonio, had seen Deportivo in the third division and he felt it was impossible. But I was 15 and had only known Súper Dépor, the team built by Augusto César Lendoiro, our greatest president. Two years before, we’d beaten Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final at the Santiago Bernabéu to spoil their centenary celebrations. And we had the best Dépor player of all, Mauro Silva, the Gran Capitán, who now has a street named after him.

The game was in Easter week and a lot of my friends were away on holiday – they now regret not having been there. By the 43rd minute it was 4-4 on aggregate and when the referee blew for half-time, our players ran back to the changing room as if they didn’t want to stop. This was the Milan of Maldini, Pirlo and Nesta but we had lots of goals in the team then, and not just from strikers like Diego Tristán. When Fran got the fourth, I hugged my dad and said: “Papá, we’re going to win.” He died a few years ago so that memory has a lot of meaning.

The euphoria lasted right through to the semi-finals. “If we’ve beaten Milan how can we not beat Porto?” was the feeling and you had people looking at trips to Gelsenkirchen for the final. Instead, we lost. And looking back now, it was our last great European night.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

I grew up in the days of Súper Dépor. As a teenager I saw us beat teams like Manchester United and Juventus so despite the heavy defeat in Milan, I still believed we could come back. My father, Antonio, had seen Deportivo in the third division and he felt it was impossible. But I was 15 and had only known Súper Dépor, the team built by Augusto César Lendoiro, our greatest president. Two years before, we’d beaten Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final at the Santiago Bernabéu to spoil their centenary celebrations. And we had the best Dépor player of all, Mauro Silva, the Gran Capitán, who now has a street named after him.

The game was in Easter week and a lot of my friends were away on holiday – they now regret not having been there. By the 43rd minute it was 4-4 on aggregate and when the referee blew for half-time, our players ran back to the changing room as if they didn’t want to stop. This was the Milan of Maldini, Pirlo and Nesta but we had lots of goals in the team then, and not just from strikers like Diego Tristán. When Fran got the fourth, I hugged my dad and said: “Papá, we’re going to win.” He died a few years ago so that memory has a lot of meaning.

The euphoria lasted right through to the semi-finals. “If we’ve beaten Milan how can we not beat Porto?” was the feeling and you had people looking at trips to Gelsenkirchen for the final. Instead, we lost. And looking back now, it was our last great European night.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

I grew up in the days of Súper Dépor. As a teenager I saw us beat teams like Manchester United and Juventus so despite the heavy defeat in Milan, I still believed we could come back. My father, Antonio, had seen Deportivo in the third division and he felt it was impossible. But I was 15 and had only known Súper Dépor, the team built by Augusto César Lendoiro, our greatest president. Two years before, we’d beaten Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup final at the Santiago Bernabéu to spoil their centenary celebrations. And we had the best Dépor player of all, Mauro Silva, the Gran Capitán, who now has a street named after him.

The game was in Easter week and a lot of my friends were away on holiday – they now regret not having been there. By the 43rd minute it was 4-4 on aggregate and when the referee blew for half-time, our players ran back to the changing room as if they didn’t want to stop. This was the Milan of Maldini, Pirlo and Nesta but we had lots of goals in the team then, and not just from strikers like Diego Tristán. When Fran got the fourth, I hugged my dad and said: “Papá, we’re going to win.” He died a few years ago so that memory has a lot of meaning.

The euphoria lasted right through to the semi-finals. “If we’ve beaten Milan how can we not beat Porto?” was the feeling and you had people looking at trips to Gelsenkirchen for the final. Instead, we lost. And looking back now, it was our last great European night.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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