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5 of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history
Every year, the top teams in Europe go head-to-head on the largest stage in football. While some of the world’s biggest teams like Liverpool, Real Madrid, and PSG have no problem showing the rest of the competition just how good they are, we’ve also been treated to some of the most thrilling comebacks and against-the-odds wins in history.
We rank five of the best comebacks in Champions League history.
Manchester United 2 – 1 Bayern Munich, 2000
Despite how dominant Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side was in the late 90s and early 2000s, they just couldn’t add the Champions League trophy to their trophy cabinet.
That all changed in the 2000 Champions League final where, despite being 1-0 down for the better part of 90 minutes, Sir Alex’s men did what they always seem to do so well and found the back of the net to equalise in stoppage time through a sublime Teddy Sheringham strike.
Bayern’s misery didn’t end there, though. It took Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just one more minute to squeeze the winner in and break United’s duck in one of the most dramatic Champions League finishes of all time.
Liverpool 4 – 0 Barcelona (aggregate 4-3), 2019
When Liverpool went down 3-0 to a mighty Catalan team on an electric night at the Camp Nou, nobody – least of all the experts – gave The Reds any hope of turning the result around in the second leg at Anfield.
If you know anything about Liverpool and Anfield, you’ll know that anything is possible. After an early Divock Origi strike settled the nerves, Klopp’s men settled into a rhythm and mounted attack after attack.
Enter Gini Wijnaldum, the game-changing midfielder who fired in two goals in two minutes for The Reds and brought them level in front of a frenetic Anfield crowd. Some quick thinking from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Divock Origi caught the Barcelona defenders napping and allowed the duo to complete an incredible comeback that would allow Liverpool to go on and claim their 6th
Champions League title.
Ajax 2 – 3 Tottenham (aggregate 3-3, Spurs win on away goals), 2019
It would appear that 2019 was a year for upsets and massive comebacks. Just a day after Liverpool put the boot to Barcelona, Spurs would go on to complete their very own magical turnaround against a determined Ajax side.
54 minutes into the second-leg in Amsterdam, Spurs were trailing 3-0 on aggregate and everyone had all but written The Lilywhites off. To make matters worse, their all-important front man, Harry Kane was missing through injury.
It would appear that someone forgot to tell Lucas Moura that his side’s destiny was to lose this fixture. The Brazilian produced two incredible moments of magic and fired in two goals to reignite his side.
Moura would go on to complete his hat-trick in the 95th
minute with the last kick of the game and quite literally drag Tottenham to their first ever Champions League final with him.
Barcelona 6 – 1 Paris Saint-Germain (aggregate 6-5), 2017
Barcelona has always been a team to fear in the Champions League. A star-studded line up, led by the best managers in the world, and backed by passionate fans meant that even the biggest teams in the world would stumble against the Catalans.
So when they suffered a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of PSG, many thought that there might be a new sheriff in town. All that was for certain was that football fans were going to be treated to some of the most thrilling football of the year.
Three minutes into the return leg Luis Suarez found the back of the PSG net and a clumsy own goal coupled with a Lionel Messi penalty meant Barça needed just one goal to level things up. That was until an Edinson Cavani belter put a spanner in the works and meant the hosts had 30 minutes to score 3 goals without conceding.
With 3 minutes left on the clock, PSG looked like they had managed to consolidate and squeeze their way into the last eight. A Neymar free-kick, a (very) late penalty, and an even later 95th
minute volley from Sergi Roberto fired the Catalans into the quarters with a 6-5 aggregate, and sent the Nou Camp into an absolute frenzy
AC Milan 3 – 3 Liverpool (Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties), 2005
There have been recoveries from greater deficits, and recoveries in more ostentatious fashions, but there remains no game quite like the 2005 final in Istanbul. Liverpool, a side that had finished outside the top 4 in the Premier League, had shocked supporters and somehow found themselves in the 2005 Champions League final against, arguably, the best side in the world at the time, AC Milan.
The Italians looked like they were playing against a schoolboy side and raced to a 3-0 lead before halftime, and it looked like The Reds were in for a long night – Liverpool fans could be seen leaving the stadium.
Steven Gerrard was far from calling it quits, though, and scored a crucial header in the 53rd
minute before Vladimir Smicer nabbed the second just a minute later. Xabi Alonso was in the right place at the right time and managed to score a rebound off his own penalty that was saved by Milan’s Dida.
The Italians dominated extra-time but, no matter how hard they tried, couldn’t seem to break through Liverpool’s brick-wall defence and the game went to penalties.
Goalkeeping heroics from Jerzy Dudek ensured that The Reds held the Champions League trophy aloft that night and helped the men from Merseyside complete the most thrilling comeback in football history.
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