After Liverpool’s unsuccessful attempt to overhaul Real Madrid’s three-goal lead this week, Merseysportlive looks back at some of the herculean efforts of those teams that fought back from the brink in the Champions League.
Liverpool 3 – 3 AC Milan (3-2 penalties)
No list of Champions League comebacks would be complete without potentially the most famous of them all, the Miracle of Istanbul.
Even non-Liverpool fans would be hard-pressed to argue against their three-goal second-half comeback against AC Milan being one of the competition’s best.
The goals came in a mad six minutes from captain extraordinaire Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso.
With the scores level, it was the turn of Jerzy Dudek to write his name in Scouse folklore, saving the penalty of Andriy Shevchenko to give Liverpool their fifth Champions League.
Barcelona 6 – 1 Paris Saint Germain (6-5 aggregate)
Liverpool may have the Miracle of Istanbul, but Barcelona has ‘la Remontada‘ – The Comeback.
Going into their home tie four goals down, nobody really gave the Catalan side a genuine chance of progressing.
However Barcelona got off to the perfect start with Luis Suarez reducing the deficit three minutes in before an unfortunate own goal for PSG defender Layvin Kurzawa and a Lionel Messi penalty on the fifty-minute mark.
The challenge ahead looked to be insurmountable for the Catalans after Edinson Cavani pulled one back for PSG, leaving Barcelona needing three goals in half-an-hours play.
Somehow, and with a fair sprinkling of Catalan controversy, Messi and company dragged themselves over the line with Sergio Roberto netting the sixth deep into injury time.
One of the craziest games in Champions League history. 🔙
La Remontada happened 6 years ago today… 👏pic.twitter.com/dVhTFaCfzu
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) March 8, 2023
Liverpool 4 – 0 Barcelona (4-3 aggregate)
‘Corner taken quickly…Origi!’
Anfield has seen its fair share of dramatic European nights, none more so than in May 2019.
The Reds went into the second leg three goals down and facing a mountain to climb, just a single away goal for Barcelona would likely kill the tie.
However, seven minutes in cult hero Divock Origi set Liverpool away with a toe-poke finish before two second-half goals in two minutes left Barcelona stunned.
The comeback was completed after Origi got on the end of an inspired corner from Trent Alexander Arnold in the 79th minute.
"Corner taken quickly… ORIGI!!!"
Two years ago today, Liverpool pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in European football history!
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 7, 2021
Manchester United 2 – 1 Bayern Munich
Finals can often be a dull affair, a damp squib that doesn’t live up to the enthralling back and forth of semi-finals that came before it, not this time.
Manchester United were on course for a historic treble with only Bayern Munich standing between them and immortality.
So a sixth-minute goal from Bayern striker Carsten Jancker was hardly the start the Red Devils envisioned.
With 90 minutes gone and still trailing one nil, it looked like it wasn’t to be for United; enter Teddy Sheringham.
The ex-spurs man netted the equaliser just 36 seconds into injury time before Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored the winner straight from the subsequent kick-off.
Ajax 2 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur (3-3 aggregate)
A first Champions League final in Tottenham’s history looked to be slipping away from them when they found themselves three-nil down with 55 minutes remaining.
The jokes were ready, rival fans revelling, but a Lucas Moura hattrick fired his club into territory unknown.
Moura’s last goal came in the 96th minute, breaking the hearts of every Ajax fan and probably a fair few Arsenal hearts as well.
Roma 3 – 0 Barcelona (4-4 aggregate)
‘A Greek God in Rome!’
Only a year on from la Remontada, Barcelona was on the receiving end of another famous Champions League comeback.
Going into the second leg Roma were 4-1 down and looking like their European campaign was done and dusted.
Veteran striker Edin Dzeko had other ideas; finding the bottom corner in the sixth minute the Bosnian gave Roma the lift they needed and set the rhythm for the rest of the game.
Daniele De Rossi scored from the spot in the 58th minute before Kostas Manolas headed home the winner on 82 minutes, giving us some of Peter Drury’s most fabulous commentary ever.
When Peter Drury said, "Roma have risen from their ruins! Manolas, the Greek God in Rome!" I felt that 🙏pic.twitter.com/UG0KV2UjCa
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) July 2, 2018
Deportivo La Coruna 4 – 0 AC Milan (4-4 aggregate)
Deportivo La Coruna pulled themselves back from the brink against reigning champions AC Milan in the 2003/04 edition of the Champions League.
The Galician side had fumbled a one-nil lead in the San Siro, losing the game and going into the second leg 4-1 down on aggregate.
What should have been a leisurely stroll into the semis for Milan turned into a nightmare as Deportivo put four past them in the first half for no reply.
The Italian giants pushed for the winner in the second half, but the damage was done, and Deportivo defended for their lives.
Real Madrid 1 – 4 Ajax (3-5 aggregate)
On the road to their semi-final appearance in 2019, Ajax had the daunting task of a round-of-16 tie against reigning European champions Real Madrid.
The challenge was all trickier after the Spanish giants took a 2-1 lead back to the Bernabéu.
A goal in the seventh minute from Hakim Ziyech levelled the game on aggerate before the dutch side put on a masterclass in flair and style.
The third goal from Ajax’s Dusan Tadic was the pick of the bunch, dancing past the Madrid midfield before firing home and giving the Dutch side the lead.
The stadium was stunned into silence.
(Featured image by Steffen Prößdorf – Under creative commons license – wikicommons)