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The 5 Best Champions League Comebacks

Every year, the Champions League sees Europe’s top football clubs battle it out for the most coveted prize in club football. In recent years, the competition has seen an explosion of against the odds turn-arounds. There have been many spectacular nights throughout the competition’s history, but here are my top five Champions League comebacks.


A game of Champions League football being played in a full stadium
Photo by Tim Bechervaise on Unsplash
  1. Tottenham vs Ajax 3-2, Tottenham win 3-3 on aggregate (away goal rule) 2019

Tottenham had lost the first leg of their tie against an unstoppable Ajax team 1-0, and in the second leg, Tottenham found themselves 2-0 down at halftime. This made the score 3-0 on aggregate with only 45 minutes left to play.

This Ajax side had already knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus from the cup and looked sure to knock out another formidable opponent in Tottenham. The game looked all wrapped up until Lucas Moura scored 2 goals in 5 minutes to give them life.

Deep into stoppage time, the ball was launched up the field by Tottenham in a desperate attempt for a final chance. The ball fell to Lucas Moura again and he scored in the 95th minute to not only win Tottenham the game, but also send them on to face Liverpool in the Champions League final – the first time Tottenham had reached the final in the club’s history.

Watch the highlights below:

  1. Roma vs Barcelona 3-0, Roma wins 4-4 on aggregate (away goal rule) 2017

Roma had been dominated 4-1 by Barcelona in the first leg of their 2018 quarter final, however Edin Dzeko’s away goal gave Roma a glimmer of hope going into the return leg. This is now deemed one of Roma’s greatest nights.

Edin Dzeko scored past goalkeeper, Andre Ter Stegen, early on. He was also instrumental in winning a penalty which was converted to give Roma a 2-0 lead.

The untouchable Barcelona were rattled on their home turf, and would ultimately fold as Roma’s centre back, Kostas Manolas, scored Roma’s third goal, putting the team ahead on away goals.

This led to Roma advancing to the Champions League Semi-finals,  providing them their deepest run in the competition in over 20 years.

Watch the highlights below:

  1. Liverpool vs Barcelona 4-0, Liverpool wins 4-3 on aggregate, 2019

Liverpool had been picked apart by Messi and Barcelona in the first leg of their tie, 3-0, and all looked hopeless for Liverpool going into their second leg at home.

Barcelona’s official twitter had posted prior to the game, stating:

“We score, Liverpool need FIVE – and we’re going to get at least one… agreed?”

It almost felt as though the Liverpool players took this personally, as they went out into their second leg game with a sheer will to win. Divock Origi scored early, pumping life into the team, but the most defining moment was Georginio Wijnaldum coming on and scoring two goals in three minutes to tie up the aggregate score at 3-3.

Barcelona had crumbled but were still in the game. That was until a moment of genius by Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold, allowing Origi to pounce on a lapse in concentration by the Barcelona defenders and bury it into the top left corner.

This advanced Liverpool into the Champions League Final, where they looked to avenge the final they had lost the year previously.

Watch the highlights below:

  1. Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) 6-1, Barcelona wins 6-5 on aggregate, 2017

In 2017, Barcelona were on the brink of missing out on the Champions League quarter finals for the first time in ten years, after a humiliating 4-0 loss to PSG.

A comeback of this magnitude had never been seen in the competition in 213 attempts, but thanks to Luis Suarez’s opening goal, Barcelona believed they could turn the tie around.

An own goal from PSG and a penalty by Lionel Messi either side of the break meant they only needed 2 more goals to win the tie, however Edison Cavani scored a stunning away goal, resulting in Barcelona needing 3 goals to win the contest.

Barcelona left it late but managed to score three goals in the 88th, 91st and 95th minute to win the game 6-1 and win the tie on aggregate 6-5, a miraculous comeback that no-one saw coming.

Watch the highlights below:

  1. AC Milan vs Liverpool 3-3, Liverpool wins 3-2 on penalties, 2005

The miracle of Istanbul, a game that football fans around the world know, is the best comeback in Champions League History. This is due to the sheer magnitude of the game.

This was the Champions League final, and Liverpool had found themselves 1-0 down in the first minute and 3-0 down by halftime.

Many people counted them out and believed the class of AC Milan was too much for Liverpool, but they never gave up and came out for the 2nd half all guns blazing.

Three goals in six minutes from captain Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso tied the game up 3-3 with 30 minutes left to play.

The deadlock between the two teams could not be broken, and the game was forced to extra time. 30 minutes extra couldn’t separate the two determined teams, however, and the final went to penalties.

A heroic performance from Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, with 2 penalty saves, cost AC Milan the game as Liverpool won the shootout 3-2 and claimed the Champions League final.

It was a truly magical game and comeback, worthy of being named the best in Champions League history.

Watch the highlights below:



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