The history of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) is littered with amazing comebacks from seemingly hopeless situations. Our 3 part series counts down ten of the best!
10. Deportivo La Coruña 4-0 AC Milan (agg 5-4) – 2004
In a match against the reigning European champions, Deportivo had already sprung one surprise as they went 1-0 up in the first leg in Milan back in 2004.
However, the Italian giants quickly put things right with a 4-1 win and began to prepare themselves for the semi-finals. After all, no team had ever fought back from a three-goal deficit to win a Champions League knock-out tie.
Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron, and Albert Luque scored as the Spanish outfit ran rings around AC Milan and drew level before half time. Fran then won the tie in the second half with an effort that took a kind deflection off Brazillian full-back Cafu.
Rui Costa almost saved Milan with a powerful strike from range late on, but goalkeeper Jose Molina provided a stunning save to preserve his side’s lead and seal their progress into the semis.
Deportivo coach Javier Irureta had reportedly prayed for a miracle and he got one. Honouring a promise, he later made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in thanks!
9. Ajax 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur (agg 3-3, Tottenham win on away goals) – 2019
This semi-final comeback in 2019 really seemed to come from nowhere. Tottenham were second-best in the first leg and most of the second, 3-0 down at half-time and without star striker Harry Kane.
Erik ten Hag’s Ajax had already knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus and looked on course for an intriguing final showdown with Liverpool, but the introduction of Fernando Llorente at half-time changed the game, as Spurs’ other forwards played around the target man.
Lucas Moura side-footed home 10 minutes into the second half, and the forward kept his composure to find space in a crowded penalty area to fire home a second just moments later.
Hakim Ziyech struck the Spurs post with 12 minutes to play, before Ajax academy graduate Jan Vertonghen headed off his own bar in an attempt to clear.
Five minutes and one second into stoppage time, Moussa Sissoko whacked the ball forwards, Llorente brought it down, Alli played a neat through-ball and Lucas found the bottom corner.
Mauricio Pochettino was the man who had guided Tottenham to the greatest night in their history and he celebrated wildly!
8. Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich – 1999
In front of a crowd of 90,000 at Camp Nou, Mario Basler’s sixth-minute free-kick looked like it had won Bayern Munich their first title of the UCL era, since their last European Cup win in 1976.
Bayern were in front for 84 minutes of normal time before the Red Devils pulled off one of the all-time great final victories.
David Beckham’s corner wasn’t cleared, and Teddy Sheringham steered home from Ryan Giggs’ shot to level the scores at 1-1.
Almost immediately, United won another corner. Again Beckham delivered, Sheringham nodded it down and current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær arrived to lift it into the net.
There were just 101 seconds between the two strikes. Sir Alex Ferguson’s outfit had won the English Premier League earlier the same month and lifted the FA Cup just four days prior. The treble they achieved in 1999 remains unmatched in English football!