Editorials, News — May 22, 2013 18:11

My Road To Istanbul : Ganesh ‘Gani’ Sharma

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With the Champions League Final taking place this Saturday, we thought it would be fitting to share a fellow Kopite’s ‘Road to Istanbul’ story. Ganesh ‘Gani’ Sharma who is a life long Red, embarked on a journey which started with the AK Graz match qualifier at Anfield and ended with that unforgettable night in Istanbul on May 25th. A night, none of us will forget.

LFC Istanbul

My Road to Istanbul : Ganesh ‘Gani’ Sharma

The road to Istanbul was a long and emotional one for me. I started with the ticket to see Liverpool vs AK Graz at Anfield. This to many football fans across England seemed as a pointless match to fill the summer void of no footbal, little did they know, this was a qualifier for the Mighty Reds to gain a place in the competition they dominated, the European Cup- or as some may know it “Big Ears”


Soccer - European Cup - Final - Liverpool v Real Madrid


Once Liverpool qualified, as a fan I was buzzing, but also as a Liverpool fan,  I didn’t get my hopes up.

After playing Deportivo and Monaco, home and away and playing Olympiakos away the game came down to Liverpool vs Olympiacos at Anfield.

We had to win by 2 clear goals to get out the group stages. I remember travelling to the game in good spirits, and felt confident.

At half time, a friend of mine text me and said “time waste at the match, leave now, miss the traffic” I chose to ignore it, I watched the second half from the KOP and We Won!!!!!!  Funny thing about one of the goals was that Sinema-Pongolle scored but the crowd sang ‘MILAN MILAN’ as they thought Milan Baros scored. After Mellor made it 2-1 Liverpool I was sitting on edge until,  the famous, Andy Gray Commentary was born… “its passed out to Gerrard, Gerrard strikes……AHHHHHH YA BEAUTY!!!!! The Kop was ballistic, I went mental, Liverpool were through to the knock out stages.

 Steven-Gerrard Olympiakos

Next up for us was Bayern  Leverkusen. they was easily brushed aside but then we faced Juventus, first leg at Anfield, a young Scott Carson played excellently in goal in place of an injured Dudek. Big Sami scored early on and then Luis Garcia scored a screamer of a goal.

garcia (1)

This gave us the lead to go to Italy and ensure our place in the semi final… CHELSEA!!!!!!!!!

The Chelsea game was the greatest atmosphere I have ever experienced at Anfield….. well at any stadium I’ve been to. I arrived at Anfield around 18:30 and the KOP was already buzzing and singing their hearts out. I immediately headed straight in and joined in. the crowd was buzzing and the players hadn’t even come out to warm up. Both Liverpool and Chelsea players said after the game that they could hear the crowd from the dressing room and the hairs on the back of their necks stood up. We took the lead early on from the famous Luis Garcia “ghost” goal,but what Chelsea fans failed to realise is that if the goal wasn’t given, Chelsea would have had Petr Cech sent off and a penalty award, which let’s be honest, Steven Gerrard would have buried it.


I went absolutely mental, jumping around and hugging everyone. Besides, Chelsea still had pretty much the whole game to get back in to it. In the dying seconds of the match, Eidur Gudjohnson got the ball in the six yards box and shot… my heart stopped, the feeling was unreal, it was as if everything went slow motion and someone had turned the volume of the crowd right down to zero, as the ball flew past the post and wide, the volume got turned back up and the Kop erupted once again. The feeling was strange, it was the kind of thing you see in the movies. When the ref blew the final whistle, Anfield went crazy, like super crazy!!!

LFC Chelsea

I was still in the stadium until 22:30 singing and celebrating with my fellow reds and then made my way to Liverpool city centre to celebrate some more. From the time the ref blew the final whistle the only thing on my mind was  ‘Istanbul’.

By Ganesh ‘Gani’ Sharma

Justice For The 96



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