Overcoming a non-favorable result in football is always a hard job to carry out and even more when you’re competing in the biggest tournament of the world, the UEFA Champions League; the UCL has shown us once again why it’s the best football competition all over the globe these last two weeks, as we could see comebacks in series that everybody thought were finished.
With Manchester United and Juventus remembering fans why you should never give up on any team in this competition, it seemed like a good time to recall some of the best comebacks in the tournament history. We already talked about upsets, now is time to talk about recovering from very bad results. It could happen in a single game or a whole series, but these feats are very remarkable. Here are the best Champions League comebacks in recent years.
Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich (1998/99)
An epic night will open our list. This was a hurtful one for Bayern Munich since they took the lead of the scoreboard with an early goal by Mario Basler and it looked like it was going to end like that until the disaster happened for the German team.
Bayern entered the 90th minute of the game winning the match when a header by Teddy Sheringham tied scoreboard. After more than 80 minutes trying to score, Manchester finally could do it, and they weren’t done yet. Two minutes later, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, repeated the dose for the Red Devils and the miracle took place in Camp Nou. More than 90 thousand people got to see one of the most incredible feats in this game and this competition.
Deportivo La Coruña vs. Milan (2003/04)
Milan has some history with letting rivals overcoming results and this is one the most memorable. After the first leg of the series, no one doubted the Italian side was going to get to the semi-finals of the 2003/04 Champions League season, following a 4-1 win at San Siro.
Given the fact that they were the current champions of the cup and that they were facing a team with almost no history, Milan had everything to qualify to the next round and continue its quest to the back to back. Well, none of that happened, as Deportivo La Coruña took care of business and trashed Milan at home with an unforgettable 4-0 win at Riazor that sent the Spanish team to the semi-finals.
Liverpool vs. Milan (2004/05)
This game is probably what you think of when somebody says “Champions League”, as this is an iconic match in UCL history, even more, when you talk about comebacks. Milan and Liverpool played in Istanbul one of the most dramatic finals we’ve seen in years that defied anything you believed about this sport.
Albeit they were expected to dominate in the preview, Milan had a marvelous performance during the first half, scoring three goals –could have been more- with no response, shocking both Liverpool and football fans in general. Little they knew about the reaction they were about to see, as Liverpool started second half trying to score at least one goal and, at the moment Steven Gerrard made it, that was the beginning of the end for the Rossoneri.
The Reds knew they had a chance and didn’t hesitate to take it. After two goals from Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso, respectively, the game was tied 3-3, something unbelievable at the half time. Later on, they went to extra time, where Liverpool put its maximum effort to stop Milan attempts. In the end, they won the penalty shootout by 3-2, with Jerzy Dudek having a majestic evening, stopping several penalties in a night that neither Liverpool nor Milan fans will forget.
Barcelona vs. PSG (2016/17)
FC Barcelona is currently one of the best teams in the world –if not the best- and although they haven’t won the competition since 2015, they’re still a very dangerous club to face. They’ve proved that every time they had the chance, but back in 2017, they stated why many people think like that. Following a 4-0 lose in Paris, Barcelona landed on Camp Nou trying to overcome a result that nobody could overcome in history.
Even though the game didn’t start off very well for them, with an early goal by Luis Suarez and a late one by Layvin Kurzawa (own goal), things started to get in shape for Luis Enrique’s boys. They finished the job in the second half, amid controversy due to penalty kicks; not even a goal from Edinson Cavani could stop Barcelona from taking the W with a last-gasp from Sergi Roberto and make history with a 6-1 victory.
Roma vs. Barcelona (2017/18)
You have to remember this one; this happened last year. We already watched Barcelona overcoming a 4-0 against PSG and this time they were on the other side of the sidewalk. After a 4-1 loss in Barcelona, Roma looked very disadvantaged in the second leg –even though they had to play in Italy.
They didn’t believe in that and made a nearly perfect game at Stadio Olimpico, with a fierce defense and intelligent attack. The Giallorossi went to score two goals thanks to Edin Dzeko and Danielle De Rossi to put Barcelona against the ropes and when the time was ticking, Kostas Manolas did the job and sent Roma to semi-finals with a header that lit the madness in one of the most memorable nights this competition has given us.