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On This Day: Atletico Madrid v Bolton Wanderers

Six years ago today oh my!

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Six years ago today, Gary Megson's Bolton Wanderers side booked a UEFA Cup last-16 tie against Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon after beating Spanish giants Atletico Madrid 1-0 on aggregate following a tough second leg goalless draw at the Vicente Calderon stadium.

Wanderers had previously secured a famous 1-0 victory over the Spaniards following an El-Hadji Diouf goal in front of a packed Reebok Stadium.

Despite putting out a deliberately weakened side in order to get kicked out of the competition, Wanderers nabaged to restrict the strong Atletico Madrid side to few chances.Despite their first-leg advantage, the odds were still stacked against Bolton, with Atletico never having lost at home to an English club in European competition.

However, their poor recent form - they had lost five of their previous eight competitive matches - gave Bolton hope.

The visitors more than held their own during a disappointing first half, with Atletico clearly missing the attacking guile of suspended Argentine striker Sergio Aguero, who was sent off in the first leg.

The best of those chances fell to former Liverpool man Luis Garcia who fired his effort horribly over the crossbar. Bolton themselves managed a couple of good chances, most notably when Greek winger Stelios Giannakopoulos forced on-loan AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati into making a smart save early in the game.

Atletico, fourth in La Liga, were the clear favourites to win this tie, however the absence of Aguero seemed to blunt their attack, with Diego Forlan seemingly at a loss without his strike partner.

The Madrid side were trying to use playmakers Jose Antonio Reyes and Maxi Rodriguez to open up Bolton but, more often than not, the brave Andy O'Brien and Gary Cahill were quick to block the supply. The Spanish outfit should have come out after the interval with all guns blazing but they failed to up the tempo until the last 10 minutes.

As Atletico pressed, Bolton defended deeper, but it was not desperate stuff, and the English side comfortably handled whatever was flung into the area.

It was credit to Bolton's defence that their keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was rarely called into action. By the final whistle the 3,000 assembled Bolton fans in the crowd went wild, and a famous victory was written into the club's history books.


"I believe that's the furthest that we've ever been in Europe, certainly for 100 years, and to get to this stage given the teams that we have had to play, it's a great testament to the squad that we've got, not just the team,"

Atletico Madrid: Abbiati, Pernia, Pablo (Mista 67), Antonio Lopez, Perea, Jurado, Cleber Santana, Maxi, Luis Garcia (Miguel 54), Reyes, Forlan.
Subs Not Used: Falcon, Fabiano Eller, Ze Castro, Alex Quillo, Dominguez.

Booked: Maxi.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Andrew O'Brien, Cahill, Samuel, Giannakopoulos (Diouf 59), McCann (Campo 58), Nolan, Joey O'Brien (Meite 85), Taylor, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Teymourian, Alonso, Vaz Te.

Booked: Joey O'Brien, Nolan, Diouf, Davies.

Att: 30,000

Ref: Jacek Granat (Poland).