Home News The Most Intriguing Comebacks in Soccer In the Last 20 Years

The Most Intriguing Comebacks in Soccer In the Last 20 Years

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When one of the soccer teams gets the advantage of 3 goals in the first leg of the match or the deciding game, it’s almost impossible for the other club to get even.

That’s why every time such a thing happens, it’s regarded as a miracle. So we decided to collect the biggest comebacks in the last twenty years and tell you about them.


By katatonia82/ Shutterstock

Manchester City v QPR – 3:2, EPL 38th round (2011/2012)

The 2011/2012 English Premier League season had a maddening conclusion. To get their first EPL championship since 1968, City had to beat modestly-favoured bottom-of-the-table QPR at home. Otherwise, the title would have gone to Man Utd. First, Mancini’s team coped with their task without any problems. The first half score was 1:0 in favour of the hosts. However, the visitors then unexpectedly unloaded two goals on Hart.

 

By the extra time, the score remained unchanged. So, while the City fans were sitting at the stadium with sad faces, the Man United fans, watching the game on television, were already celebrating another title.

 

Nevertheless, the Citizens managed to put pressure on their rivals. Dzeko scored with his head, and Agüero waited for a brilliant pass, hammering the ball into the net and making the City fans the happiest people on earth.

 

Germany v Sweden – 4:4, World Cup Qualification 4th round (2014)

 

In the qualifying match for the World Cup in Brazil, the German national team tore apart the Swedes at the Olympiastadion. At the end of an hour of playing time, the German stadium’s scoreboard showed a disappointing score for the guests, 4:0. Hardly anyone in the audience of this game could have imagined that they would witness a spectacular comeback. In the remainder of the game, Sweden managed to level the score.

 

Ibrahimovic was the first player to score, followed by goals from Lustig and Elmander. Finally, in extra time Rasmus Elm evened the score. The midfielder hit the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.

Borussia Dortmund v Malaga – 3:2, Champions League quarter-final, 2nd leg (2012-2013)

The first leg of the UCL quarterfinals between Borussia and Malaga in Spain ended in a nil draw, so with the score of 1:1 in Germany, the Dortmund side should have scored. By the 83rd minute, Eliseu, who scored to put the Spaniards ahead, made the task even more difficult. The scoreline remained unchanged until the start of injury time, but then Klopp’s final assault began to produce results. Reus scored in the first added minute, and in the next attack, Felipe Santana pushed the ball into the net from one meter. Signal Iduna Park roared, and Malaga was left with nothing.

Watford v Leicester 3:1, Championship playoff semifinal, 2nd leg (2012/2013)

The second semifinal playoff game for the Championship between Watford and Leicester is, without exaggeration, worthy of a film adaptation. The Foxes won the first game at King Power by a narrow margin (0:1), so the Hornets shouldn’t have conceded at home. Nevertheless, Watford allowed the visitors to score and, with the score of 2:1 in their favour, earned a penalty in their own goal in extra time. The situation seemed hopeless.

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Leicester midfielder Anthony Knockaert ran around and hit the ball from the spot, but Watford goalkeeper Almunia unexpectedly parried the shot and succeeded. The ball bounces back to the home team, and they counterattack in the 96th minute with four minutes left before Hornets’ leader Troy Deeney kicks the ball into the net and runs off to hug the fans. Fantastic!

Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund – 4:3, Champions League quarterfinal, 2nd leg (2015/2016)

In April 2016, Jurgen Klopp was once again part of a crazy comeback. By then, he was already coaching Liverpool. The Merseyside team fell to Borussia in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, so the signings were just right. But no one could have predicted the result of this encounter. The teams scored once each in Dortmund, and by the 60 minutes into the game, the English were down 1:3.

Klopp’s team was not satisfied with even a draw, so the hosts stormed toward Weidenfeller’s goal. Coutinho managed to get a goal back. After 10 minutes, Sakho got on the scoresheet. In stoppage time, Liverpool increased the pressure even more and clinched the victory. After Milner’s cross, Lovren headed the ball into the net, leaving Klopp with emotions similar to those three years ago.

Barcelona v PSG – 6:1, Champions League 1/8 final, 2nd leg (2016/2017)

In their return meeting with PSG in the 1/8 finals of the Champions League, Barça pulled off the most astonishing comeback of the decade. First, the Catalans advanced to the next tournament stage, conceding four goals from Paris in the away match. Second, Enrique’s team did not break down after Cavani’s goal in Barcelona in the 62nd minute. When the Uruguayan headed the ball into another net, the scoreboard at Camp Nou lit up 3:1. Such a score obliged the hosts to score three times. Up until the 87th minute, the Parisians managed to hold Barça off, but then an unbelievable goal extravaganza began. Neymar hit the near post after a free-kick later converted a penalty and sent an excellent pass to Sergi Roberto, who saved a brace in the fifth minute and sealed the match.

Roma v Barcelona – 3:0, Champions League quarterfinals, 2nd leg (2017/2018)

The Catalans defeated the Italians 4:1 at home in the first match of the quarterfinals of the Champions League, so before the starting whistle, the game in Rome seemed to be just a formality. However, Roma players did not think so. In the 6th minute, Dzeko ran away from defenders and put his team in front. De Rossi hinted at the home team’s intentions by scoring the game’s second goal from the penalty spot. Manolas ultimately spoiled the visitors’ mood. At the end of the match, the defender outplayed the opposition. He headed the ball into the net after a corner-kick. Surprisingly, the scoreline perfectly reflected the situation on the pitch. With home stands, Roma dominated over Barça and won deservedly.

Liverpool v Barcelona – 4:0, Champions League semifinal, 2nd leg (2018/2019)

The 2018/2019 Champions League gave us two incredible comebacks at once. The first was the Liverpool and Barcelona clash. Klopp’s team created a miracle after a 0:3 defeat at Camp Nou at Anfield. The one to score first was the home team in the opening half and, after the break, they were courageous enough to net three more goals.

The most memorable in that meeting was Origi’s decisive goal, scored after a corner kick by Alexander-Arnold. The Catalans were not ready for a brilliant pass from the Englishman and, as a result, did not have time to react. Liverpool made the players of one of the best clubs in the world look like inexperienced children. And Klopp has become the hero of yet another high-profile comeback.

Ajax v Tottenham – 2:3, Champions League semifinal, 2nd leg (2018/2019)

A day after an incredible game at Anfield, Tottenham managed to snatch a ticket to the Champions League final at the Johan Cruyff Arena in excellent style. Losing after the first half to a young ten Hag team, Spurs turned the tide in the second half.

The hero of the comeback was Lucas Mora, who substituted the injured Kane. The Brazilian scored a hat-trick. At the same time, the striker sent the decisive goal into the net in the last of the added minutes. Nobody expected such an outcome from the Brazilian.

Milan v Liverpool – 3:3 (2:3 on penalties), Champions League Final (2005) 

It’s hard to imagine another match of such importance with such an impressive comeback. Some people think that you can hardly find a more significant game at all in soccer history. It seemed like Milan could be awarded the Big Ears trophy right after the first 45 minutes, while the second ones were not as bright.

And woe to those who went to sleep after Crespo’s second goal; the hero was destined to become not him but Steven Gerrard, Jerzy Dudek, and the entire Liverpool-2005 team in general.

Fulham v Juventus – 4:1, Europa League 1/8 final, 2nd leg (2010)

A tricky math problem. Fulham, participating in European competitions for the second time, comes to Torino to face the formidable Juventus, loses 1:3, and then in London, in a home game, concedes a goal from David Trezeguet in the second minute. By that time, the total score was 1:4, and Fulham was in big trouble.

That’s why it was a fairytale for the London club because there’s always room for an exploit. Bobby Zamora immediately scored from the penalty box, then Zoltan Gera made it 3:1 by the 50th minute and tied it at two. In the 71st minute, Roy Hodgson decided to take off wide defender Kelly and put on Clint Dempsey. Eleven minutes passed, Fulham seemingly leisurely rolling the ball near the Juve penalty area, and then Dempsey scored with a beautiful long shot.

By that time, the Italians were already down to nine men after Cannavaro and Zebina were sent off, and they could do nothing.

Deportivo v AC Milan – 4:0, Champions League 1/8, 2nd leg (2004)

The reigning Champions League winners visited the Spanish team with a three-goal advantage in the first leg. A couple of months earlier, Deportivo was defeated by Monaco 8:3, only to leave the group on goal difference, but proved to the formidable AC Milan that one should never give up.

After a 4:1 loss in the first leg, the club legends Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron, Albert Luque, and Fran scored goals, which Deport’s fans will surely remember in the future as one of the last bright flashes of that storybook team.

Manchester United v Tottenham – 5:3, EPL, (2001)

When the gang of van Nistelrooy, Beckham, Veron, Barthez, Scholes, and others came out, United never expected to find themselves losing 0:3 after the break to Tottenham with the talentless Ledley King as a wide defender. Sir Alex released Solskjaer before the break to somehow cheer up the team, but he managed to do it to the one on the field from the first and until the last minute. David Beckham’s two crosses led to goals from Andy Cole and Laurent Blanc, and then things got underway without the help of Ole Gunnar.

An indication of how much energy the Red Devils played on in the second half is that Juan Sebastian Veron, which all the fans consider to be an unsuccessful transfer, scored. And the dramatic detail was put by the one who deserved it most of all, perhaps. Beckham’s shot was stunning.

Motherwell v Hibernian – 6:6, Scottish Championship (2010)

When Glasgow Rangers were not struggling with creditors and 4th Division clubs, the fans generally accepted that only Old Firm matches in the Scottish Premier League were worthy of attention. The game in Motherwell against the visitors from Highburnian did not foreshadow anything interesting. By the 36th minute, the score was 1:4, and forward Colin Nish regretted not playing in the NHL since he would have been assured of throwing baseball caps on the ice.

Another half-hour passed, and the home team seemed to have nothing to gain by trailing 2:6, so they had to think about the next game. But the home team (incidentally, with England’s third goalkeeper at the Euro, John Ruddy), spurred on by loyal remaining fans, scores three times and earns a penalty.

Lukas Jutkiewicz went from anti-hero to everyone’s favourite with one shot, similar to Marco Van Basten’s super goal in 1988. This thriller is still the most intriguing match in the history of the Scottish Premier League.

Angola v Mali – 4:4, Africa Cup of Nations (2010)

At the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations 2010 in Angola gathered all the officials of this country: the hosts played with the national team of Mali. The national team of Angola calmly drove the Malians on the field with Kanute, Seydou Keita, and Mamadou Diarra in the squad. 74th minute on the scoreboard, the hosts scored two penalties in a row, and the score was 4:0.

But the home team was calm with the result, and the goals poured into the end of the hosts. The Malians managed to get back into the game within 15 minutes, with the last two goals scored in the penultimate and final added minutes. The crowd at the stadium in Luanda hooted, Angola’s backup goalkeeper grabbing his head. Mali did the seemingly impossible.

Later on, there would be rumours that some brave souls bet on the final score of 4:0 and won 999 times the amount bet. There will be talk that the final score was agreed in advance, but no one will be able to prove it.

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