The prospect of comebacks makes football one of the most unpredictable and exciting sports in the world, and only adds to the beauty of ‘the beautiful game’. In this list, we look at the top ten comebacks across the history of the game, some of which are remembered as the fondest memories by the fans of the victorious clubs.
10. Manchester United vs Bayern Munich – Champions League – 1999
Recovering from one goal down is common in football, but the manner of United’s comeback in the 1999 Champions League Final was extraordinary.
Bayern took an early lead through Mario Basler and looked on course to lift the prestigious trophy as the game headed into stoppage time.
However, goals by Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer turned the game on its head to hand United a hugely unlikely victory.
9. Juventus vs Manchester United – Champions League – 1999
United’s win against Bayern in the finals was preceded by an unbelievable comeback against Juventus in the semi-finals.
The Red Devils were on the ropes as the Serie A club opened up a 3-1 aggregate, but captain Roy Keane was having none of it.
His goal brought United back into the tie before further efforts by Dwight Yorke and Andrew Cole crowned a memorable victory.
8. Liverpool vs AC Milan – Champions League – 2005
Liverpool fans travelled to Istanbul for the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan with massive expectations.
At half-time, Liverpool were 3-0 down and the second half proved that oftentimes, football can be a game of two halves in the truest sense of the phrase. Goals by Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso took the game to extra-time, and Liverpool eventually claimed victory in the penalty shoot-out.
7. Blackpool vs Bolton Wanderers – FA Cup – 1953
For the people that keep a track of football history, Blackpool’s victory over Bolton is undoubtedly one of the greatest comebacks of all-time.
Bolton led 3-1 with 25 minutes remaining, but two goals by Stan Mortensen to complete his hat-trick brought Blackpool level. Stanley Matthews then weaved his magic in stoppage time, delivering a superb cross from the right flank that Bill Perry fired home.
6. Gillingham vs Manchester City – Division 2 Play-off Final – 1999
Manchester City may well not have been where they are today had they failed to overcome Gillingham at Wembley Stadium in 1999. City trailed 2-0 late in the game, but goals by Kevin Horlock and Paul Dickov hauled them back from the brink of disaster.
After a goalless extra period, the game went to a penalty shoot-out which City won to secure promotion back to Division One.
5. Barcelona vs Metz – Cup Winners’ Cup – 1984
Barcelona looked well on course to defeat Metz as they led 5-2 on aggregate with 57 minutes remaining of their 1984/85 Cup Winners’ Cup tie.
The French minnows needed to score four goals without conceding but stunned the Spanish giants by doing exactly that. However, lightning did not strike twice since they were knocked out of the competition by Dynamo Dresden in the very next round.
4. Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain – Champions League – 2017
One of the proudest moments for Barcelona fans in recent years, La Remontada will be a night to remember for years and years to come. Barcelona headed into the second leg of the fixture four goals down against PSG.
The Spanish side clawed themselves back into the tie, but Edinson Cavani’s superb volley in the 62nd minute left them needing to score three to go through to the next round. Barca would not be denied, and late goals by Neymar (2) and Sergi Roberto sealed a magnificent 6-1 victory to win 6-5 on aggregate.
3. Real Madrid vs Borussia Monchengladbach – UEFA Cup – 1985
Monchengladbach demolished Madrid 5-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Cup meeting in 1985 to make the reverse fixture look like a formality. However, roared on by almost 100,000 fans at the Bernabeu Stadium, the Spanish giants dug themselves out of trouble in devastating fashion.
They won 4-0 to progress on away goals and subsequently retained the trophy, becoming the first club to win back-to-back UEFA Cups.
2. Roma vs Barcelona – Champions League – 2018
Barcelona had the Remontada done to them in the years following their famous comeback against PSG. The first of which came against Roma in the Champions League.
The La Liga club triumphed 4-1 in the first leg of their Champions League tie in 2018, but Roma roared back to win 3-0 and progress to the next round on away goals. Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas got the goals to spark wild scenes of celebration around the Olympic Stadium.
1. Liverpool vs Barcelona – Champions League – 2019
The words “corner taken quickly” continue to haunt Barcelona, who bottled a 3-0 lead at Anfield to Liverpool in 2019, and the Merseysiders went on to lift the Champions League for a sixth time, defeating Tottenham in the finals. Liverpool were missing a fair number of their important starting players, but still managed to get the better of Lionel Messi and co.