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Football’s greatest comebacks

Barcelona produced one of the most memorable Champions League nights as they came from 4-0 down in first leg to win the round of 16 tie against PSG 6-5 last year before they found themselves on the receiving end against Roma last week. We take a look at the great comebacks in football.

1. Roma 3-0 Barcelona (Champions League 2018)

Roma’s incredible Champions League comeback against Barcelona last week sent shockwaves around the world while setting a new standard for what is possible in terms of football’s great escapes.

In many people’s minds, Roma were all but out after going down 4-1 at Camp Nou a week earlier as they needed a 3-0 win against a Lionel Messi-inspired Barca to progress to the semi-final.

However, goals from Edin Zdeko, Daniele de Rossi and Konstantinos Manolas stunned the Catalan giants and will remain the first mentioned for many years to come when discussing football’s greatest ‘get out of jail’ moments.

2. Barcelona 6-1 PSG (Champions League 2017)

After losing 4-0 in the first leg of their round of 16 clash against PSG, nobody was expecting Barcelona to turn the tie around when the both teams met for the second leg at Camp Nou.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring plus own goal and a Messi penalty made it 3-0 before Edinson Cavani scored for PSG, making it 5-3 and Barcelona needed three more to win the tie.

Neymar’s freekick made it 4-1 followed by a dubious penalty kickoff from where Neymar scored his second of the night. With seconds remaining, Sergio Roberto tapped home to win the tie in what was an incredible turnaround.

3. Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (Champions League 2005 Final)

This game will always go down as one of the best comebacks in modern football. Liverpool, playing against mighty Milan in 2005 Champions League final and under Rafael Benitez, were heavy underdogs before the game started but when Milan took a three-goal lead in first half, the match was over in many people’s eyes.

Liverpool, however, had other ideas as they mounted an incredible comeback scoring three goals in nine minutes in the second half to turn the game on its head. Liverpool went on to win the final on penalties.

4. Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers (FA Cup, 1953)

This match has gone down in history as the ‘Matthews Final’ after the key role played by Sir Stanley Matthews despite the fact his team-mate Stan Mortensen scored a hat-trick.

Bolton led 3-1 at Wembley with 25 minutes remaining but Mortensen gave Blackpool a lifeline in the 68th minute when he bundled the ball into the net from Matthews’ cross.

Mortensen’s thumping freekick levelled the match in the 89th minute before Matthews again jinked past his marker to deliver a cross from the right wing in stoppage time that Bill Perry fired past Bolton’s goalkeeper.

5. Reading 5-7 Arsenal (League Cup, 2012)

Reading 5-7 Arsenal (League Cup, 2012).

Reading’s return to the Premier League for the 2012-13 season didn’t go to plan as they immediately dropped back to the Championship, but on one night in late October they appeared set for a famous victory over Arsenal.

Leading 4-0 late in the first half, Reading appeared certain to make the last eight of the League Cup but Theo Walcott’s goal in stoppage time gave the Gunners hope.

Goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny dragged Arsenal closer but Arsene Wenger’s side still needed Walcott’s goal in stoppage time to stay alive.

The drama continued in extratime, with Marouane Chamakh scoring for Arsenal, Pavel Pogrebnyak levelling with five minutes left, before Walcott, again, and his Moroccan team-mate bobbed up in added time to secure victory.

6. Angola 4-4 Mali (Africa Cup of Nations, 2010)

Picture this, you’re the host nation at a major tournament and with 11 minutes left in your opening game you lead 4-0 in front of your own fans.

Angola were flying after goals from Manucho Goncalves and Flavio Amado’s firsthalf brace gave them unassailable lead. Mali hadn’t read the script, however, with Seydou Keita sparking the visitors with a goal in the 79th minute and Fredi Kanoute (88th minute).

The home side still looked safe as the match entered stoppage time only for Keita and Mustapha Yatabare to score in the 93rd and 95th minutes, respectively.

7. Juventus 2-3 Man United (Champions League, 1999)

United’s less famous comeback in the 1998-99 Champions League came at the semi-final stage when Juventus, who claimed a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the first leg, took an early 2-0 lead in the return match in Turin thanks to Filippo Inzaghi’s brace.

Captain Roy Keane started United’s comeback with a near post header. The visitors were level on the night at half-time thanks to Dwight Yorke’s header from Andy Cole’s cross and the latter completed United’s triumph with a goal seven minutes from time.

8. Man United 2-1 Bayern (Champions League 1999 Final)

Just over a month later and Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils were at it again, clinching the European Cup in second-half stoppage time in the final at the Camp Nou.

Bayern had led since the sixth minute but two corners were Bayern’s undoing with substitute Teddy Sheringham levelling in the 91st minute.

It was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s turn two minutes later as he poked the ball past Oliver Kahn after Sheringham had flicked David Beckham’s corner on at the near post.

9. Germany 4-4 Sweden (World Cup qualifier, 2012)

This is the only time Germany have thrown away a four-goal lead in their history. Germany led 3-0 at the break and extended their lead in the 56th minute but the half-time introduction of Kim Kallstrom turned the tide for Sweden.

Kallstrom picked out Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the Swedish striker to head home, while the substitute also chipped the ball over Germany’s defence two minutes later for Mikael Lustig to convert. Johan Elmander dragged the visitors closer in the 76th minute before Rasmus Elme equalised in stoppage time.

10. Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (EPL 2011)

The Gunners ran rampant in the opening half hour at St James’ Park with Theo Walcott opening the scoring in the first minute, while Robin van Persie’s double ensured they led 4-0 after 25 minutes.

Arsenal lost momentum when Abou Diaby was sent off. Joey Barton started Newcastle’s recovery with 21 minutes remaining by converting a penalty and Leon Best struck in the 75th minute to make it 4-2.

Another Barton penalty in the 83rd minute gave the hosts a sniff before Cheick Tiote sensationally volleyed home from 25 yards to complete Newcastle’s comeback.

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