The greatest Champions League comebacks
This season’s Champions League has seen plenty of shocks and amazing comebacks, not least in both of the semi-finals. Will Tottenham Hotspur win their first Champions League title? Or will Liverpool get over the heartache of finishing as runners-up last season?
Whatever the outcome, be sure to check out the latest UEFA Champions League odds on Betfair.
Liverpool came from 3-0 down against Barcelona in the first leg, to win so triumphantly at Anfield, 4-0. In the other game, Spurs were a goal down to Ajax in the first leg and found themselves 2-0 down at the Johan Cruyff Arena, but went on to win 3-2 in dramatic fashion and go through to the all-English final on the away goals rule.
Earlier in the tournament, Manchester United made history, after turning around a 2-0 home defeat to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and it wasn’t the first time the French side were on the losing side of a remarkable comeback, as we will now highlight.
2016/17: round of 16
Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Barcelona / Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain
The Spanish giants are the comeback kings, and turned around a massive four-goal deficit in this round of 16 tie against PSG, with an emphatic victory on home soil in the second-leg. Not only did they make history as they became the first team to over-turn such a massive deficit, but it saw the Catalans make their tenth successive Champions League quarter-final.
Despite an early goal from Luis Suárez, Layvin Kurzawa's own goal and a Lionel Messi penalty on 50 minutes, when Neymar curled in a beautiful free-kick with two minutes remaining, Barça were still 5-4 down on aggregate and look set to be heading out earlier than expected. However, two goals in stoppage time turned the game on its head. Neymar added a second, on 90+1 when he converted Suarez’ controversially-awarded penalty. The Brazilian then turned provider for substitute Sergi Roberto, who netted his first – and most important – goal of the season, sending the Nou Camp into raptures.
Was it a miracle? The media seemed to think so. Headlines from the front pages across Europe included: "Miracle? Yes, a miracle. Nothing is impossible. If you are Barcelona” (Sport, Czech Republic); "God is a Barça fan," (Zeit, Germany); "The Barcelona miracle changed football" (La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy); and "Miracles really happen. This is what you see only once in a lifetime. Seven golden minutes of football history" (Gazeta Sporturilor, Romania).
Barcelona were subsequently knocked out in the quarter-finals, to eventual runners-up, Juventus.
Barcelona 4-1 Roma / Roma 3-0 Barcelona
Just last season, Barça found themselves on the losing end of a comeback, after Roma turned around a three-goal deficit. In the first-leg, they got the all-important away goal, so their 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico sent the Italians through to the semi-finals.
Edin Dzeko started the comeback on six minutes and later commented: “It is difficult to believe but we did it and did it in style. We believed even more after the first goal - it pushed us and, in the end, I am so proud”. Roma stalwart, Daniele de Rossi added the second, converting from the spot in the second half, before defender Kostas Manolas was in the right place at the right time to head home Cengiz Under’s cross.
I Giallorossi may have rode their luck, making it through two knock-out rounds on the away goal rule (they had previously won the round of 16 2-2 on aggregate, against Shakhtar Donetsk), but they eventually came unstuck in the semi-finals, losing to Liverpool who subsequently lost the final.
Barcelona overturned a 3-1 first-leg result against Chelsea, to win 6-4 on aggregate after extra time.
Monaco lost their first leg to Real Madrid 4-2, but won 3-1 in the second-leg, to go through on away goals (5-5 on aggregate).
2011/12: round of 16
It took extra time to separate Chelsea and Napoli. The Italians won the first leg 3-1, with Chelsea going through in the second-leg, 4-1 on the night and 5-4 on aggregate.
2012/13: round of 16
AC Milan took a two-goal advantage to the Nou Camp, but Barcelona won 4-0 on home soil, to go comfortably through to the quarter-finals.
2013/14: round of 16
Manchester United overcame a 2-0 defeat to Greek club Olympiacos in the first leg, to win their round of 16 tie, 3-2 on aggregate.
Chelsea’s away goal against PSG in the first leg, helped secure their place in the semi-finals, as they ran out 2-0 winners at Stamford Bridge (3-3 on aggregate).
Bayern Munich humbled Porto in the second leg of their quarter-final. The Germans were 3-1 down after the first leg and went on to win with an aggregate score of 7-4.
Wolfsburg went ahead in their first leg against Real Madrid 2-0, only for Los Blancos to win at the Santiago Bernabéu 3-0. They eventually won the final against rivals Atléti.
2018/19: round of 16
This season, not only did Manchester United master a comeback, but Juventus did too. Having lost their first leg 2-0 to Atlético Madrid, they won on home soil 3-0, to progress. They were knocked out in the quarter-finals to surprise outfit, Ajax.