Football

Five of the best: Historic comebacks

Liverpool came from three goals down to defeat AC Milan  (©GettyImages)
Liverpool came from three goals down to defeat AC Milan (©GettyImages).

Over the years, we have seen teams produce some fabulous comebacks under the most unprecedented circumstances.

Here is a look back at five of the most memorable of recent times.

Chelsea vs Barcelona, 2012, UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg (1-0 agg)

Chelsea had to come from behind in almost every knock-out fixture en route to lifting the famous trophy, but none more difficult than this. As if it wasn't enough of a shock that they managed to beat Barcelona in the first leg at Stamford Bridge after being outplayed, the Blues were outstanding in Spain. Facing a 2-0 deficit, against arguably the best team ever who rarely give you a touch of the ball, and a man down, Barca looked destined to make the final in Munich.

However, Roberto di Matteo and his players thought otherwise. Ramires pulled one back with a classy, delicate dink over Victor Valdes, but the Catalans continued to push and looked to be in cruise control when they were awarded a penalty. A monumental moment was to come, however - Lionel Messi missed from 12 yards out.

This didn't stop their momentum, and if it wasn't for the heroics of Chelsea keeper Petr Cech they would have been in the final, with the Czech international producing a string of impressive saves, most notably against Messi again, as he got fingertips to the Argentine's shot to tip it onto the post.

The comeback was complete when the forgotten Fernando Torres rounded his fellow countryman Valdes to roll the ball into the open goal.

Manchester United vs Bayern Munich, 1999, UEFA Champions League Final

Another comeback in the Nou Camp. This time, it really was at the death and truly remarkable. Bayern were the dominant team throughout the tie after taking an early lead through a Mario Basler free-kick.

The Bavarians squandered various opportunities, with Carsten Jancker looping the ball over Peter Schmeichel after an overhead kick only to see it bounce back off of the crossbar. United, as they did countless times that year, played until the very end, and those famous words ring clear in the ears of the United fans. "Cleared, Giggs with the shot, SHERINGHAM!" after the first of two injury-time David Beckham corners.

That was number one to pull off what was already a shock, but what followed less than a minute was truly astonishing, even in Fergie's books. Cue the extremely famous words every single Manchester United fan loves to hear repeated "Is this their moment. "Beckham in towards Sheringham AND SOLSKJAER HAS WON IT!".

These two moments of brilliant commentary, Schmeichel's front-flips and of course the goals, completed the extraordinary and unthinkable, beating the German giants to conquer Europe and ultimately finish off the famed treble.

Liverpool vs AC Milan, 2005, UEFA Champions League Final

Arguably the greatest of comebacks, this really was something nobody could have predicted at half-time. Liverpool were taking on an unstoppable AC Milan side with the likes of Andrei Shevchenko, Paolo Maldini and Hernan Crespo in their ranks, with all three scoring in the first 45 minutes to send the Merseysiders into disarray going into the dressing room.

Rafa Benitez must have produced the most inspirational half-time team talk of all time, because what was to come in the next 45 was truly spectacular, just ask the commentator who described the final as "All over" after Shevchenko put the Italians 2-0 ahead. First up, Captain Fantastic Steven Gerrard climbed to nod home a sprouting header, with brilliant scenes of the Liverpool skipper lifting his teammates after his goal. Then, with glimmers of hope, step up Vladimir Smicer from 25-yards out.

The Czech pulled a second back, and Milan were shellshocked. Xabi Alonso had his chance to be the hero, with only 12 yards between him, Dida and 3-3. The Brazilian saved Alonso's penalty, only for his heroics to be in vain as the rebound fell to the Spaniard's left-foot, and the game going to extra-time.

Here comes Jerzy Dudek's chance to go down in history, and he gave his best efforts to the team's comeback with an outstanding double-save from Ukrainian goal-machine Shevchenko's attempts. This battle was all but over, however, and as the game went to penalties, European Footballer of the Year Sheva had his chance to make amends, but once again Dudek stood in his way and thus completed an un-fathomable revival.

Newcastle vs Arsenal, 2011, Premier League fixture

This fixture, not as glamorous as the previous mentions, but by all means just as jaw-dropping. With Arsenal 4-0 up and cruising, the Gunners and their fans were in dreamland. The same could not be said for Newcastle and theirs, however, with some of the Geordies seen leaving the scene - I wonder how much they regret that now. With the remaining Newcastle fans almost balling their eyes out, things were looking bleak, money wasted.

In the words of Del Boy, "No way, Pedro" in regards to the fans who decided to hang around. Slight hope of the Magpies nicking one or possibly two at a push may have been sparked when Arsenal's Abou Diaby saw red, Newcastle later tucked away a penalty but then had a legitimate goal revoked, it wasn't looking like their day.

Leon Best's disallowed goal didn't stop him, as he bounced back to net a second for his team. Newcastle were awarded a second penalty, and Barton casually stroked home his second from the spot. Here comes the real special moment.

Newcastle whipped in a free-kick from the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, and it looked to be relatively well defended, enter Cheick Tiote. The ball fell perfectly to the left-foot of the Ivoirian who made no mistake in smashing home a staggering volley and conclude an epic retaliation.

Manchester United vs Juventus, 1999, Champions League semi-final second leg (1-1 agg)

A stimulating performance which was a hallmark of the treble-winning class of '99. It really was the essence of an Alex Ferguson side, and furthermore a team with Roy Keane in it. Juventus were 2-0 up and playing well, with the likes of Edgar Davids and an on-song Filippo Inzaghi in the side, with the latter scoring both of Juve's goals. This scoreline meant United were 3-1 down in the tie and needed to at least draw level - up stepped Roy Keane, wearing the captain's armband and fresh with his mop-head to nod in a David Beckham corner.

On a yellow card and going to miss the final if they got there, Keane put in a truly iconic and ideal captain's performance to steer United one step closer to the last stage of the Treble. Jaap Stam was in the right place at the right time to prevent a third for the Italian giants, clearing a header off the line, and striker Dwight Yorke then benefited from an excellent cross from fellow forward Andy Cole to draw level.

After this, Inzaghi would have had his hat-trick and regained the lead - if it weren't for the linesman's flag. United hit the post, and missed an open goal on the rebound, to leave it as anyone's match.

The final comeback in our list was completed when a defensive howler planted the ball to the feet of Yorke, who swiftly tapped it past the two defenders, then the keeper who took him out.

However, this effectively meant Yorke repaid the favour as the ball rolled kindly into the path of Andy Cole, who calmly finished by stroking the ball into the back of the empty net, eventually hammering the final nail into the Juventus coffin.

 

This is my own personal list of the five best comebacks of recent years, so feel free to let people know yours by leaving a comment.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Chelsea
Newcastle United
Manchester United
Liverpool

Article Comments

Trending

Read more