Once certain matches reach Sunday League scorelines, they should no longer considered seriously as professional football fixtures.
Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal? Armand Traore, Marouane Chamakh and Johan Djourou played. Tottenham 9-1 Wigan? Jermain Defoe scored five in the second half FFS. Reading 5-7 Arsenal? They’re not even pretending.
Monaco 8-3 Deportivo may have only held the record for the most goals in a single Champions League fixture until Borussia Dortmund beat Legia Warsaw 8-4 in 2016, but the former should always be considered the stupidest game in the competition’s history.
The 2003 fixture is made all the more of a parody by the fact both sides were actually quite good.
Deportivo were Spanish champions in 1999-00, finishing runners-up in 2000-01 and 2001-02, and famously went on to overturn a 4-1 first-leg deficit against reigning champions AC Milan to reach the semi-finals, where they were beaten 1-0 over two legs by eventual champions Porto.
In attack they had the irresistible duo of Diego Tristan and Juan Carlos Valeron, with Football Manager hero Jorge Andrade marshalling their defence.
Monaco, meanwhile, went one step further, knocking out the Galacticos of Real Madrid and the Invincibles-conquering Chelsea to reach the final, where, again, Jose Mourinho’s men proved just too dastardly.
Fernando Morientes, who ended the season as the competition’s top goalscorer, was missing for the hosts, which made what followed even more ludicrous. Dado Prso came into the side on his 29th birthday, and that set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Of course it took only two minutes for the first goal to be scored, and just look at it.
Misplaced header back to the goalkeeper. Jose Molina stranded. Acres of space in behind the defence. Spoiler: this happened quite a lot.
As we were saying, there really was an awful lot of space in behind that Deportivo defence.
Fernando Morientes, then on loan from Real Madrid, was watching from the stands with Raul, and the duo were probably thinking they could have scored around 50 goals between them that night.
Morientes’ replacement at least made the most of the Spaniard’s absence, although Depor’s defending continues to make it a difficult watch to this day.
Maybe just…jump, lads.
Remember what we said about the game belonging in Sunday league?
But Depor at least had some dangerous players in attack. Tristan was lethal in his early years with the club, and he showed some pretty handy centre-forward’s play by holding off the centre-back and firing through Flavio Roma’s legs.
Running to get the ball back was pretty optimistic though.
Hang on. Is a comeback actually on?
No. No it’s not.
You know it’s bad when you’re subbing your goalkeeper off at half-time. And you know it’s really fucking bad when his replacement does this two minutes after coming on.
Prso ended the season as the competition’s second top scorer, two goals behind Morientes, despite playing just under half the minutes the Spaniard was afforded.
No wonder Morientes and Raul looked faintly embarrassed by what they were witnessing.
This is actually a brilliant goal from Tristan, although the centre-back just falling over does belong in your local park on Sunday morning.
How the remaining 23 minutes stayed goalless is anyone’s guess.