Written by El-Khoury
It was September 18, 1991, when Athenaikos encountered a 0-0 draw with Manchester United in the “Apostle Nicholas” stadium in a match that was known then as the “Block of the Lords”, from the Athenian’s nickname “The Lords”.
It was the 1991-1992 season when Athenaikos was for the second consecutive season in the First National and for the first time in Europe after winning the Cup! But their only ever draw unfortunately was unlucky for them, since they had to play against Manchester United! But the “Lords of Byron” footballers, however, had a goal to drive Europe crazy and counterbalance Ferguson’s squad!
The first dream game!
On September 18, 1991, the Byronites welcomed the Red Devils at “Alexandra Avenue”, chasing their dream and wishing for a miracle against Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. A unexpected heroic 0-0 draw against Manchester United sealed their magnificent efforts! It was a really great match for the players as well as the fans!
The home side performed exceptionally well, celebrating a great draw and surpassing even their most fanatical fans dreams. Many before the match were talking about the how the ‘big’ Manchester United will crash the Byronites but who knew what was going to happen?! It was a huge result! A Record!
Athenaikos (Prokop): Sarganis, Chatziagelis, Spiliotis, Kapouranis, Theodorakos, Tzalakakostas, Chatziraptis, Koleff, Spitsa, Bong, Boutzukas
Manchester United (Ferguson): Schmeichel, Bruce, Pallister, Irwin, Phelan, Ince, Beardsmore (75′ Walls), Webb, McClair, Hughes, Robins
They fought till the end, but their dreams collapsed at Old Trafford
Despite the great success of Athenaikos, the big favorites especially playing at home was United. Many said that the first match was accidental and that now things wouldn’t be easy at all.
Moreover, in the rematch at Old Trafford, Athenaikos made it very difficult for United and the match led to extra time. There was little to do for the miracle to occur for Gerd Prokop’s team as he was seeking for the qualification. It would really be a dream come true! The story however had no happy end. On the 109th minute Macler scored the goal against Sarganis even though up until that point he seemed unbeatable.
Two minutes later Mark Hughes recorded the final 2-0, but it was the Lords who applauded and left the grass with their heads high! As for United, they were eliminated by Atletico Madrid (3-0 in Spain, and 1-1 in England) leading to a knockout on aggregate.
Manchester United (Ferguson): Schmeichel, Phelan, Martin (86′ Beardsmore), Bruce, Kanchelskis, Pallister, Robson, Inces, McClair, Hughes, Wallace (64′ Robins)
Athenaikos (Prokop): Sarganis, Boutzoukas, Kapouranis, Chatziagelis, Spiliotis (46′ Theodorakos, 72′ Zotalis), Anastasiou, Chatziraptis, Spitsa, Bog, Tzalakakostas, Tapratzis