15 July 2020, Wednesday | 10:43am

Five great Champions League comebacks


LIVERPOOL pulled off one of the most stunning fightbacks in Champions League history on Tuesday as Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum both scored twice in a 4-0 victory over Barcelona. Having trailed 3-0 after last week’s first leg at the Camp Nou, Origi’s 79th-minute strike sent Jurgen Klopp’s men into the final in Madrid on June 1. Here’s a look at five other famous Champions League comebacks:

Barcelona stun Paris Saint-Germain

Last 16, 2016/17

First leg: PSG 4 Barcelona 0; Second leg: Barcelona 6 PSG 1 (Bara won 6-5 on agg)

Barcelona were on the right side of history two years ago, becoming the first team to come back from a four-goal first-leg deficit in the Champions League on a dramatic night at the Camp Nou when Neymar punished his future side PSG with two goals.

If PSG’s demolition of Luis Enrique’s Barcelona in Paris was a shock, the fightback was mind-blowing with the crucial last two goals coming in stoppage time.

Sergi Roberto came off the bench to write himself into Spanish football folklore with Barcelona’s sixth goal in the fifth minute of added time.

“I didn’t know if I was dreaming – I have never known a noise like that,“ said a shell-shocked Roberto after the final whistle.

Barca’s luck runs out in Rome

Quarterfinals, 2017/18

First leg: Barcelona 4 Roma 1; Second leg: Roma 3 Barcelona 0 (Roma won on away goals)

Barcelona’s luck ran out in dramatic style 12 months after their PSG heroics with Edin Dzeko’s away goal at the Camp Nou proving crucial.

The Bosnia striker struggled to express his joy at Roma’s achievement after his sixth-minute goal in the return game sparked an incredible turnaround by the Italians.

“We did it when definitely nobody believed in us,“ said Dzeko. There appeared to be no way back for Roma after they were routed in Barcelona.

However, after Dzeko’s early goal, a Daniele De Rossi penalty set the scene for Kostas Manolas’s 82nd-minute header to spark wild celebrations led by Roma president James Pallotta, who jumped into Rome’s Piazza del Popolo fountain.

Liverpool’s night in Istanbul

Final, 2004/05

Liverpool 3 AC Milan 3 (Liverpool won 3-1 on penalties)

Liverpool are no strangers to fightbacks in Europe, producing arguably the most staggering in a final against a mighty AC Milan side in Istanbul 14 years ago.

They trailed 3-0 at half-time against the star-studded Italians after Paolo Maldini scored inside a minute and Hernan Crespo’s excellent double.

But talismanic captain Steven Gerrard gave his side hope with a header early in the second period, and substitute Vladimir Smicer drilled in two minutes later.

A breathtaking six-minute spell was completed on the hour mark as Xabi Alonso scored the rebound after his own penalty had been saved by Milan goalkeeper Dida.

Rafael Benitez’s underdogs hung on to force a penalty shootout, and Andrie Shevchenko, who had scored the winning spotkick in the 2003 final against Juventus, saw his effort saved by Jerzy Dudek to confirm Liverpool’s fifth, and most recent, Champions League title.

Irureta’s miracle

Quarterfinals, 2003/04

First leg: AC Milan 4 Deportivo La Coruna 1; Second leg: Deportivo 4 AC Milan 0 (Deportivo won 5-4 on agg)

After his side were trounced 4-1 at the San Siro, Deportivo coach Javier Irureta admitted there was no rational reason to believe in a miracle.

However, his side burst out of the blocks in the second leg, holding a 3-0 lead at half-time thanks to goals from Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque.

Substitute Fran Gonzalez added a fourth with 14 minutes to go and, having prayed for success, Irureta honoured his pre-match promise by taking the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela after Deportivo’s unlikely victory.

Di Matteo orchestrates Chelsea escape

Last 16, 2011/12

First leg: Napoli 3 Chelsea 1; Second leg: Chelsea 4 Napoli 1 aet (Chelsea won 5-4 on agg)

Chelsea rode the momentum of a stirring last-16 comeback against Napoli to the club’s maiden Champions League title under interim coach Roberto Di Matteo.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg after two Ezequiel Lavezzi goals and an Edinson Cavani strike, Chelsea sacked Andre Villas-Boas ahead of the return leg.

The Blues roared back at Stamford Bridge through efforts from Didier Drogba and John Terry, before Gokhan Inler briefly put the Italians back on top only for a Frank Lampard penalty to force extra-time.

Drogba then teed up Branislav Ivanovic to blast home a 105th-minute winner, and Chelsea would go on to beat Bayern Munich on penalties in that season’s final at the Allianz Arena. – AFP


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