The second part of our series on the most incredible UEFA Champions League (UCL) comebacks continues. We count down to number 5!
7. AS Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid (agg 5-5, Monaco win on away goals) – 2004
Real Madrid were knocked out of the 2003/04 UCL courtesy of this stunning comeback from Monaco.
The Ligue 1 club had been competitive enough in the first leg. They found the net through Sebastien Squillaci and Fernando Morientes, but Madrid’s attacking power had seen them through and surely would again.
Iván Helguera, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, and Ronaldo all scored at the Santiago Bernabeu, and more goals were expected in the second leg in Monaco. When Raúl curled in a sweet, left-footed strike in the first half, it was 5-2 to Real, and the game looked over.
Until, of course, it wasn’t. Ludovic Giuly volleyed home on the stroke of half-time before Morientes – on loan from Real Madrid – headed Monaco within one goal immediately after half-time.
The excellent Giuly brought them level on aggregate and ahead on away goals, which was enough to seal this incredible UCL comeback!
6. Chelsea 4-1 Napoli – 2012
Chelsea were in turmoil after they were beaten 3-1 by Napoli in the first leg of this 2012 UCL encounter. Andre Villas-Boas, who had been brought in at Chelsea as one of the best young coaching talents in the world, was struggling.
Seemingly down and out in the UCL, the Blues sacked him and appointed fan favourite Roberto Di Matteo, whose only previous managerial experience was at much smaller clubs, MK Dons and West Bromwich Albion. The Italian transformed Chelsea and turned this tie on its head!
The Blues’ senior trio of Didier Drogba, John Terry, and Frank Lampard scored to take the game to extra-time, following Gökhan İnler’s goal for Napoli. Then Branislav Ivanović fired home from Drogba’s cross to dramatically win it in extra time.
Chelsea beat Benfica in the quarter-finals, then enjoyed a fine win over Barcelona in the semis. Eventually, they lifted the title against Bayern in Munich!
Di Matteo was sacked by November, but few managers can claim to have such a huge impact in such a short amount of time!
5. Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (agg 4-3) – 2019
With Barcelona 3-0 up at home in stoppage time, Lionel Messi collapsed to the turf in dismay when Ousmane Dembélé lifted a weak finish into the arms of Alisson with the goal at his mercy. The superstar Argentina forward seemed to know that the job wasn’t done and this Barcelona team had a weak spine.
Even after a fantastic personal performance that included one of the most iconic free-kicks ever scored, Messi must surely have had doubts in his mind as he came onto the Anfield pitch for the second leg of the 2018/19 semi-final.
Divock Origi, Liverpool’s enigmatic man for the biggest moments, scored early to see Jürgen Klopp’s side leading at the break, but two more goals were needed.
“[If] We score, Liverpool [will] need FIVE – and we’re going to get at least one… agreed?” was the rallying call from Barcelona’s official Twitter account.
They were wrong. The sight of Georginio Wijnaldum coming off the bench would become the stuff of legend for Liverpool fans, as he levelled the scores with two goals in three minutes!
Barcelona were crumbling, Messi was shackled, and his teammates were wilting around him. Then Liverpool won a corner. Trent Alexander-Arnold took it quickly, and Origi smashed it into the roof of the net to complete a stunning comeback!
To be continued…