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Real Madrid v Liverpool: The greatest comebacks in Champions League history

Real Madrid v Liverpool: The greatest comebacks in Champions League history

Liverpool’s chances of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Champions League are in jeopardy as they prepare to face Real Madrid on Wednesday. 

They must reverse a three-goal deficit, a feat that has only been accomplished three times in the history of the competition, after losing 5-2 in the first leg at Anfield. 

However, Liverpool has a track record of remarkable Champions League comebacks, and they will be buoyed by their 7-0 victory over Manchester United in the Premier League. 

Prior to their attempt to defy the odds at the Bernabeu, let’s take a look back at some of the most remarkable comebacks in Champions League history.

Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (semi-final second leg, 8 May 2019)

Aggregate 3-3: Tottenham win on away goals

 Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-3 

In the second leg of the semi-final against Ajax, Tottenham found themselves in a precarious situation, trailing 1-0 from the first leg. Matters only worsened in Amsterdam when Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech scored, putting Ajax 3-0 ahead on aggregate before half-time.

Tottenham needed to score three goals without conceding any in order to progress. In the 55th minute, Lucas Moura scored, giving Spurs a glimmer of hope. Just four minutes later, he struck again, bringing Tottenham right back into the game.

The unbelievable comeback was completed in the 95th minute when Moura scored his third goal of the night, securing Tottenham’s place in the final on away goals. Ajax players were left stunned and scattered across the pitch in disbelief.

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (semi-final second leg, 7 May 2019)

Aggregate Liverpool 4-3 Barcelona

Divock Origi ignited Liverpool’s comeback with a goal in the seventh minute

Just one day before Tottenham’s historic comeback, Liverpool accomplished an incredible feat by becoming only the third team in the history of the Champions League to overturn a three-goal deficit from the first leg.

After a 3-0 loss to Barcelona at the Nou Camp, Liverpool’s chances of making it to the semi-final looked bleak, especially with key players Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino sidelined due to injury.

However, Divock Origi ignited Liverpool’s comeback with a goal in the seventh minute. The tie quickly turned around in the second half when substitute Georginio Wijnaldum scored two goals in just 166 seconds.

Liverpool completed the job with a moment of brilliance when Trent Alexander-Arnold cleverly took a quick corner kick, catching Barcelona’s defense off guard, and crossed the ball low for Origi to score the winning goal, sending Anfield into a frenzy.

 Paris St-Germain 1-3 Manchester United (last 16 second leg, 6 March 2019)

Aggregate 3-3: Man Utd win on away goals

Marco Verratti and Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain react after loosing 1-3 against Manchester United

The 2018/2019 Champions League saw a series of remarkable comebacks from English teams, starting with Manchester United’s victory over Paris St-Germain in the last 16.

United’s interim manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, suffered his first defeat in the first leg, losing 2-0 at Old Trafford, which put an end to the team’s 11-game unbeaten run. 

No team in the previous 107 instances of a Champions League or European Cup first-leg defeat by two goals or more at home had ever advanced, making United’s task appear insurmountable.

However, Romelu Lukaku gave United the perfect start by scoring after just two minutes. Juan Bernat equalized 11 minutes later, restoring PSG’s two-goal aggregate lead.

 Despite the odds being stacked against them, United refused to give up, and Lukaku scored another goal to put them ahead on the night. In the 94th minute, Marcus Rashford scored his first competitive penalty for the club, securing United’s victory and completing a historic comeback.

Roma 3-0 Barcelona (quarter-final second leg, 10 April 2018)

Aggregate 4-4: Roma win on away goals

Roma players celebrate at the end of the Champions League quarter final second leg soccer match between Roma and FC Barcelona at the Olympic stadium.

Commentator Peter Drury’s memorable line, “Roma have risen from their ruins,” perfectly captured the incredible night when Roma secured an unforgettable comeback, knocking out Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Barcelona dominated the first leg, winning 4-1 at the Nou Camp thanks in part to own goals from Daniele de Rossi and Kostas Manolas.

However, Edin Dzeko’s late goal gave Roma a glimmer of hope to build on in the second leg. Dzeko struck early in the return leg, further strengthening Roma’s belief.

De Rossi redeemed himself with a second-half goal, and with just eight minutes remaining, Manolas headed home a corner to secure Roma’s place in the semi-finals for the first time in 34 years.

Barcelona 6-1 Paris St-Germain (last 16 second leg, 8 March 2017)

Aggregate: Barcelona 6-5 Paris St-Germain

Barcelona celebrate an incredible 6-1 victory, to win 6-5 on aggregate, in the Uefa Champions League Round of 16 second leg 

Perhaps the most impressive comeback of all time, this event is so famous that it has its own name in France and Spain, referred to as “La Remontada” (meaning “the comeback”).

Playing on their home turf, PSG performed impressively, winning by a score of 4-0. However, the atmosphere at Nou Camp changed when Luis Suarez scored a goal just three minutes into the second leg, giving Barcelona hope.

At halftime, Barcelona was up by two goals thanks to a Layvin Kurzawa own goal, but they still trailed PSG by two goals overall.

Early in the second half, Lionel Messi scored a penalty, but PSG’s Edinson Cavani responded, dampening Barcelona’s spirits. Even though Barcelona was now behind 5-3, they needed to score three goals in less than 30 minutes to have a chance at winning.

In the 88th minute, Neymar scored a free-kick, giving Barcelona a glimmer of hope. And in the 91st minute, he scored a penalty to tie the game at 5-5 on aggregate.

However, PSG was still ahead on away goals. But with just 20 seconds of added time remaining, Barcelona accomplished “La Remontada” when Sergi Roberto scored a goal from Neymar’s chip, making Barcelona the first team in history to overcome a four-goal deficit in the Champions League.

 AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (final, 25 May 2005)

AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (AET) – Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties

 Liverpool players celebrate winning the Champions League final soccer match against AC Milan. 

The 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul was a remarkable night of football that is still remembered to this day.

AC Milan appeared to be on the verge of winning the trophy after scoring three goals in the first half. However, the second half saw a dramatic turn of events in just seven minutes.

Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer, and Xabi Alonso scored to level the game for Liverpool. The match remained tied after 120 minutes, with goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek making an incredible double save from Andriy Shevchenko in extra time, reminiscent of Bruce Grobelaar’s performance in 1984.

Dudek’s unsteady legs and antics on the goal line played a significant role in Liverpool’s victory in the penalty shootout. Serginho, Andrea Pirlo, and Shevchenko failed to convert, securing Liverpool’s victory.

 Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 AC Milan (quarter-final second leg, 7 April 2004)

Aggregate: Deportivo La Coruna 5-4 AC Milan

Deportivo Coruna players (L-R) Uruguayan Walter Pandiani, Albert Luque and Portuguese Jorge Andrade jubilate after their team won the match against AC Milan during the European Champions League quarterfinal second leg match against AC Milan at Riazor Stadium in Coruna

Deportivo La Coruna, a team currently playing in the third division of Spanish football, may not be associated with the Champions League anymore, but their remarkable comeback against a heavyweight opponent in 2004 will always be remembered.

After losing the first leg 4-1, Deportivo was not ready to give up. Walter Pandiani, who scored the first goal at San Siro, got the Spanish team started at home.

Unlike the first leg when they defended after taking the lead, Deportivo took risks and it paid off as they erased Milan’s aggregate advantage in just 43 minutes.

This was enough to advance on away goals, but they continued to attack, and Fran scored a fourth goal to confirm that Carlo Ancelotti’s side was out of the competition.

 Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich (26 May 1999)

 It seemed almost predetermined that Manchester United would secure the final piece of their historic treble in ‘Fergie Time’.

Having already won the Premier League and FA Cup, United faced the formidable German team Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final at the Nou Camp. With key players Roy Keane and Paul Scholes suspended, United’s chances were already hampered, and things looked even bleaker when Mario Basler put Bayern ahead just six minutes into the game.

However, the final turned out to be a story of two substitutes – Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Sheringham helped redirect Ryan Giggs’ scuffed shot to level the score in the 91st minute. Just two minutes later, Solskjaer poked in the winning goal, securing manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s first Champions League trophy.

Real Madrid v Liverpool: The greatest comebacks in Champions League history

Real Madrid v Liverpool: The greatest comebacks in Champions League history

Real Madrid v Liverpool: The greatest comebacks in Champions League history

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