Date: 27th August 2017 at 7:30pm
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Singing in the rain against Zenit

Let`s dive back into the archives then and see what we can dig out today. Let`s pick one of the weirder moments today, a 2005 UEFA Cup group stage game.

We welcomed Zenit and their Gazprom rubles to the Reebok. This was a few years before they would peak and win European silverware in Manchester, lifting the 2008 incarnation of this this trophy. But there were two names who would go on to play in their Premier League, in Martin Skrtel and Andrei Arshavin, while the lineup boasted more Russian internationals who would go to reach the Euro 2008 semi-finals.

November in Bolton is never a great time as far the weather is concerned (as are the other 11 months, frankly) but the conditions on this night were something else. It was absolutely hosing it down to the point nobody in their right mind would want to go near the front rows of the stands.
Anyway, the game went ahead, despite genuine concerns it would not. Jussi Jaaskelainen played a blinder, making a number of good saves, but in the 24th minute, it was Wanderers who would score the only goal of the game, with Kevin Nolan smashing home a loose ball during a goalmouth scramble.

The rain would just not relent, and it became a war of attrition, and as well as hoping Bolton would see things through, I was just as much hoping the referee wasn`t going to abandon proceedings. If it had been a domestic game, surely the officials would have cut their losses. But we were playing a team that needed to get back to the other side of the continent, and that must have played some part in the thought process of the Italian referee.

In the end, the game was completed, we held on, and went on the qualify from the group before bowing out to Marseille.

 

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