Top 10 Europa League Moments

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIISeptember 20, 2013

Top 10 Europa League Moments

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    The Europa League has been alive only since the 2009/10 season, but has brought some memorable moments to world football.

    The 2013/14 edition of the tournament got started this past Thursday, and there'll certainly be more fantastic moments to come.

    Technically, the competition formerly known as the UEFA Cup has been around for a while, but the seasons since the change in name have presented some good times on and off the pitch. Most of the top moments involve surprise results, top-notch goals and so on, but there's one fan incident of note to recall.

    Here are the Top 10 Europa League moments.

10. Inter Almost Produce Magnificent Comeback

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    Inter almost produced a stunning comeback in a 2012/13 Round of 16 with Tottenham. Down 3-0 after the first leg, Inter dominated Tottenham to take the second leg to extra-time. 

    A goal from Emmanuel Adebayor allowed the English side to survive in a 4-1 thriller, and provide the Europa League with some great football.

    Tottenham and Inter met in the Champions League back in the 2010/11 season, and brought that same quality to the Europa League.

9. Valencia and Werder Bremen in a Thriller

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    While one team was taking the plaudits for a surprising run during the 2009/10 Europa League season, Werder Bremen and Valencia produced possibly the best game of that season.

    The two met in the Round of 16 and warmed up with a 1-1 tie in the first leg. It was the second leg that provided all the action though.

    A 4-4 thriller, punctuated by a David Villa hat-trick, was what the two clubs produced in the second leg.

8. Steaua Bucharest Beat Chelsea and Almost Knock Them out

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    After beating a talented Ajax side in the Round of 32, Romanian side club Steaua Bucharest almost produced one of the biggest results ever in the Europa League.

    Bucharest took a 1-0 lead over Chelsea at home and came extremely close to pulling off a stunner before losing 3-1 in London. Though the Romanian side did not win, their performance over the two legs showed that the Europa League isn't any easy competition by any means.

7. Viktoria Plzen Dominates Napoli over Two Legs

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    An aggregate scoreline of 5-0 was the end result when Viktoria Plzen played Napoli in the Round of 32 during the 2012/13 season.

    The Czech side took control of the tie with a stunning 3-0 victory in Italy, and wrapped things up quite comfortably at home with a 2-0 win.

    Napoli was starting to become a force again in Europe, and had the likes of Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik in the side. One could argue that the Sao Paolo club was focused on the title race with Juventus, but a side of Napoli's quality should not have lost so emphatically.

    In the end it was another moment that signified the overall strength of the competition.

6. Two UEFA Super Cup Victories

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    Twice, in 2010 and 2012, the Europa League winners beat the Champions League winners.

    Both victories came from the same side, with Atletico Madrid beating Inter Milan and then Chelsea emphatically to signal the strength of teams playing in the Europa League. If Atletico's wins in those games had allowed them entry into the Club World Cup, then they may have equaled Inter's success and succeeded where Chelsea failed in that competition. 

    There were other victories by UEFA Cup winners before, but these were the first wins by a Europa League participant.

    Beating the team from the supposed premier club competition in Europe shows the Europa League isn't second-tier at all.

5. Taison Goal Versus Rosenberg

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    Brazilian attacker, Taison, provided the Europa League with a moment of goal-scoring excellence. Just like the uploader's title suggests, the Metalist Kharkiv man emulated one of the greatest goals of all time when he scored against Rosenberg.

    The goal may have only come in a group stage game, but it did help the Ukrainian side through to the knockout rounds.

4. Europa League Really Shows Its Strength in 2011/12 Knockout Rounds

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    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    The knockout rounds of the Europa League allows the third-placed teams in the Champions League group stages to join the fray.

    Some of these teams are usual contenders in the competition, but big boys like Manchester United, Manchester City and Valencia were among those entering this stage of the competition in the 2011/12 season.

    The fact that only Valencia survived to the quarter-finals, and were eventually knocked out by soon-to-be winners Atletico Madrid in the semi-final, showed how strong teams in the Europa League could be.

    Sporting Lisbon's win over Manchester City and Athletic Bilbao's win over Manchester United stand out.

3. Radamel Falcao's Two Goals Against Athletic Bilbao

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    Two magnificent strikes from Radamel Falcao sealed the 2011/12 Europa League trophy for Atletico Madrid.

    The Colombian striker had won the tournament for Porto the season before with a goal, as you can see in the highlights above, but upped his performance in another final between two teams from the same country. Falcao produced two moments of pure class that put the two goals in the Champions League finals of that year to shame.

    Falcao's play during the tournament, topped off by that performance, singled him out as the best pure striker in the game.

2. BSC Young Boys Fans Tribute to Liverpool

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    When Swiss side, BSC Young Boys, visited Liverpool during a group stage match during the 2012/13 season, their fans showed true class.

    Some of the visiting spectators held aloft a banner paying tribute to the victims of the tragic Hillsborough event, a few months after the findings from the Hillsborough Independent Panel went public.

    That moment didn't receive too much recognition in news sources, but was certainly a good moment in the Europa League, and for football in general.

1. Fulham Reaches Final

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    In the first edition of the Europa League, the 2009/10 season, Fulham made an astounding run to the final of the competition.

    The English side eventually lost to Atletico Madrid, but took the talented Spanish side to extra-time. Fulham was a solid team as well, but weren't fancied at all to make such a big impact in the competition.

    The biggest story surrounding that run was Fulham's Round of 16 victory over Juventus, thanks to a 4-1 victory at home.