FA CUP HEARTBREAK During his four years at Chelsea Ranieri failed to win a trophy but came close when they reached the 2002 FA Cup final at the Millennium Stadium. Having beaten Fulham 1-0 in the semi-final Chelsea faced Arsenal looking to regain the cup they won in 2000. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was a major doubt with a calf injury and he was a passenger as Chelsea struggled to match the Gunners. Two goals in 10 minutes from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg gave Arsenal a deserved win. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFICATION After finishing sixth in 2001-02 the pressure was on Ranieri to deliver in 2002-03 and it came down to a final day shoot-out against Liverpool. Gerard Houllier’s side came to Stamford Bridge knowing a win would send them into the top four at Chelsea’s expense. Sami Hyppia gave Liverpool an 11th-minute lead but Marcel Desailly levelled almost immediately. Jesper Gronkjaer won it before Milan Baros had a goal disallowed and Steven Gerrard was sent off late on. Victory sent Chelsea into the Champions League for the first time and they have qualified every season since – although needed to rely on winning the competition to qualify in 2012 after finishing sixth in the Barclays Premier League. Press Association Claudio Ranieri faces Chelsea with Leicester on Monday, the first time he has come up against the Blues in English football since leaving Stamford Bridge in 2004. He earned the nickname ‘the Tinkerman’ while at the club for his rotation policy while also taking them into the Champions League for the first time. Between 2000 and 2004 Ranieri saw huge change at Chelsea and, here, Press Association Sport looks at the highs and lows of Ranieri’s four-year reign. ROMAN’S RICHES 2003-04 Roman Abramovich’s takeover in 2003 gave Ranieri unrivalled spending power and Chelsea flexed their financial muscles. Glen Johnson was the first to sign under Ranieri’s revolution as Damien Duff, Joe Cole, Wayne Bridge, Juan Sebastian Veron, Alexei Smertin, Hernan Crespo, Adrian Mutu and Claude Makelele followed. It was a new dawn at Stamford Bridge and time in English football as Abramovich ushered in the era of foreign ownership. Scott Parker was added to the squad in the January but only Makelele, Cole and Bridge can be labelled as total successes. Yet all the money could not stop Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ beating Chelsea to the title by 11 points. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AGONY As well as missing out on the title Chelsea came agonisingly close to reaching the Champions League final in 2004 after a 5-3 aggregate semi-final defeat to Monaco. Having beaten Arsenal in the quarter-final Ranieri was criticised after Chelsea lost the first leg 3-1 to 10-man Monaco as he made a series of strange substitutes, replacing Mario Melchiot with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink then removing Scott Parker for Robert Huth. It unbalanced the side and they conceded two late goals from Fernando Morientes and Shabani Nonda to gift Monaco the advantage. A 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge sealed Chelsea’s fate, after Jesper Gronkjaer and Frank Lampard gave the Blues a 2-0 lead. Monaco were beaten by Jose Mourinho’s Porto in the final, Mourinho’s last game before he replaced Ranieri in west London in 2004. RUMOURS AND SPECULATION The writing was on the wall before Jose Mourinho swept into Stamford Bridge to succeed Ranieri and the Italian’s final year at the Bridge was blighted by speculation over his job once Roman Abramovich took charge. Sven-Goran Eriksson was heavily linked to Chelsea as soon as Abramovich bought the club in 2003 while Mourinho was touted as Ranieri’s replacement long before he was appointed. Ranieri earned praise for his poise during the speculation surrounding his job as he knew the writing was on the wall with the Italian telling the press “Hello my sharks, welcome to the funeral,” before the second leg against Monaco.
From Wednesday April 25, the pop-up channel will be available to GOtv customers on the GOtv Max and GOtv Plus packages, providing access to exclusive and rare archive footage of footballâ€™s best moments and matches on channel 36.General Manager, Sales and Marketing for MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Martin Mabutho, said: â€œThe FIFA World Cup pop-up channels yet again exemplify our commitment to providing the best sporting content. Our viewers will get the chance to relive classic matches, catch exclusive interviews and witness never before seen scenarios, all whilst preparing for our unbeatable coverage of the 2018 World Cup which comes complete with exclusive commentary and analyses.â€The pop-up channels on DStv and GOtv will also feature warm-up matches. Thereafter, all 64 World Cup matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be available on all DStv packages as well as on the GOtv Max and Plus packages, while GOtv Value customers can view a total of 56 World Cup games.GOtv Lite customers are expected to also enjoy a select number of fixtures available on free-to-air channels.Leading the challenge for Africa will be Senegal, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram As part of the countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, SuperSport has launched a 24-hour pop-up channel dedicated to the tournament.This follows MultiChoiceâ€™s recent announcement of the History of Football pop-up channel to be launched on DStv in association with A+E Networks International on 28 May for DStv Premium, Compact+ and Compact customers with 14 days of original, globally-focused premium documentary series, short form specials and a selection of FIFA World Cup films.The latest World Cup dedicated pop-up channel, SuperSport 14 (SS14), will go live on all DStv packages on April 18, with an assortment of content, including great legacy footage, highlights, documentaries, FIFA films, classic matches and interviews.