There’s no need to wonder if you remember the team’s amazing 2003-2004 season, which ended with a cruel defeat in the Champions League final against FC Porto (3-0). But do you remember that this magnificent European epic began with a trip to PSV Eindhoven, whom AS Monaco will host this Thursday (6:45 p.m.) in the Europa League?
Fernando Morientes silences Philips Stadion
Drawn in group C with PSV, Deportivo La Coruña and AEK Athens, Didier Deschamps’ side then began their campaign with a trip to the Netherlands. On September 17, 2003, the Rouge et Blanc had to face a fervent atmosphere at the Philips Stadion and a team made up of great talents, such as Arjen Robben, Ji-Sung Park and Mark van Bommel.
Newly arrived on loan from Real Madrid, Fernando Morientes was responsible for silencing a boisterous crowd on the half hour, heading home a free kick by Jérôme Rothen. The Spanish striker would then shows the full extent of his class on an exchange of passes with Edouard Cissé, who would score the team’s second goal in the 56th minute. That would be enough for a victory, because PSV would reduce the score on a direct free kick by Wilfred Bouma (65′).
The Rouge et Blanc top their group
Buoyed by this inaugural success, the Monegasques arrived in a strong position before the return leg at the Stade Louis-II. Fernando Morientes struck again in the 34th minute, with a well-placed header on a cross from Julien Rodriguez.
Unfortunately AS Monaco could not hold on as Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink equalized for the visitors with a goal quite similar to that scored by Morientes. Despite this draw, Monaco would finish first in their group, ahead of La Coruña, PSV and AEK. The rest of their Champions League run is now part of history …