bir başka avrupa kupası mucizesi.ilk maçta deplasmanda 0-0 berabere kalarak çok büyük bir avantaj sağlayan antwerp ikinci maçta kendi evinde 87.dakikada 1-3 mağlupken ,3 dakikada 3 gol atarak turu geçmiş
royal antwerp 4-3 levski sofia, 1989: 'euroidiots'
the annals of football history will forever be littered with examples of incredible comebacks that were able to shock, surprise and enthral supporters in equal measure. you think of liverpool's dramatic revival in ıstanbul, clive tyldesley's "that night in barcelona" and the return of graeme souness's moustache in aid of movember.
but few can have been as dramatic, astonishing or unexpected as that produced by royal antwerp against levski sofia (then known as vitosha sofia) in the 1989-1990 uefa cup. even more so, since they did it with only ten men.
back then, belgian football was in a good place. the national team had reached the semi-finals of the 1986 world cup. mechelen had shocked ajax to win the 1988 cup winners' cup. anderlecht and club brugge were formidable european opponents.
antwerp meanwhile had been transformed from relegation candidates to title challengers in belgium's top division. but they still stood in the shadows of their rivals.
now would be the time for them to make their mark. the first leg of their first round tie in bulgaria finished goalless - perhaps ironically so, given the mayhem that would soon follow.
hence, it was all to play for in the return fixture at the bosuilstadion, antwerp. levski took an early lead, with georgi slavchev bagging an invaluable away goal.
further chances for the bulgarian outfit came and went before the interval, as the home side struggled to stay in contention.
antwerp's task became more difficult midway through the second half when defender franky dekenne hobbled off with a knee problem. with coach dimitri davidovic having already made both changes (only two outfield substitutes were permitted in european football at the time), they were forced to complete the game a man light.
despite this, on 83 minutes, the equaliser came. one of those replacements, ralf geilenkirchen, was set away down the right by a fluid, antwerp move. dimitar popov, the charlie sheen lookalike in the levski goal, walked away from his near post for no apparent reason, leaving a gap the size of the grand canyon which geilenkirchen found.
the score was not level for long. two minutes later, another substitute, georgi donkov, restored levski's advantage.
and, in the final minute, the bulgarians grabbed a third. all of the antwerp defenders mysteriously stopped when a ball forward found petar mihtarski, who simply played on. with just the goalkeeper to beat, the striker almost made a dog's dinner of it, undergoing a slight comedy stumble, before regaining his composure and slotting home.
the tie seemed over. a largely empty bosuilstadion became more so as much of the crowd filed out. antwerp now needed three in injury time with ten men.
however, referee friedrich kaupe decided to add on a fair amount for stoppages, in particular, given the injury to dekenne.
after one minute of additional time, nico claesen controlled a lofted pass on his chest in the levski penalty area. seeing that charlie sheen had gone to ground about three hours too early, he clipped the ball past the keeper with ease. 2-3, but surely only a consolation.
the belgians soon had the ball in the net again, but hans-peter lehnhoff's looping header was ruled out for offside.
although they still had a two-goal cushion, the visitors began to panic. defender krasimir koev took out geilenkirchen on the edge of his own box, diving in like a crazed maniac. the referee looked, but gave only a free-kick.
the resulting set-piece was fired in. ıt hit the post, ricocheted off sheen and fell to claesen. the ex-tottenham striker couldn't miss and he didn't. ıt was the 94th minute and it was 3-3.
claesen picked the ball out of the net himself, and sprinted back to the centre circle at a pace that usain bolt would have been proud of.
many of the fans that had left desperately tried to get back in. everyone realised that something magical was in the offing.
with time ebbing away, raphael quaranta received a quick antwerp throw-in. he cleverly lobbed the ball over one defender, but was brought down as he drove into the area.
again, the offender was koev. and again, kaupe ruled that the offence was just outside.
five antwerp players immediately surrounded the referee, furiously demanding a penalty. ındeed, quaranta was booked for his protests.
nevertheless, in the 97th minute, the home side had another free-kick in a dangerous position. the ball was chipped to the back post. quaranta rose above his marker and powered in his header. sheen was helpless. 4-3!
the breathtaking comeback was complete. quaranta was mobbed by his teammates as if he had just saved the planet from extermination by martians.