20 Games That Marked the Reebok: No.8
The 2004-05 season saw Bolton finish in the top six of the Premier League. We were three points away from qualifying for the Champions League (or at least subject to a qualifier) but in the UEFA Cup would definitely do.
In those days, there was a two-legged first round to navigate before making it into a group stage. Our first opponents would be the Bulgarian club Lokomotiv Plovdiv. We were able to name a Champions League winner, and a European Championship winner in our squad, but despite being the better side we found ourselves 1-0 down when Boban Jancevski got on the end of a low cross from the right wing to put the Bulgarians ahead.
Chances came, but we were toiling, and struggling to get that equaliser. Jared Borgetti, the Mexican summer signing came on, and that would prove to be the difference. El-Hadji Diouf flopped down to head in Nicky Hunt`s cross across the six-yard box down into the bottom corner. Diouf had the honour of scoring the club`s first ever European goal, and we were level on the night.
There was time for a winner, there were three or four big chances, then Borgetti did score the winner in the 90thminute, a header glanced across by Hidetoshi Nakata that beat the offside line, and Borgetti took a touch and slotted past the goalkeeper. Our first European night was a winning night.
The second leg in Bulgaria was a win as well, and we ended up reaching the last 32, when Marseille stopped the party.