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Top 10 Greatest Comebacks In Football History

Matches in football can be surprising. A team that has a multiple-goal lead can find itself down in a matter of seconds.

These types of comebacks are what make a game so exciting to watch. Simply said, no one is truly out until the final whistle is blown by the referee. 

In honour of this great part of football, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 all-time comebacks. 

Our ranking isn’t solely based on the extent of the goal deficit that was seen at any point throughout the game.

Rather, we considered a variety of factors, including the match’s sanctioning competition (or league), the participants in the match, and the situation. 

We opted to look at return games in championships like the UEFA Champions League, where two legs determine which team advances to the next round.

We also tried to stick to more recent titles rather than filling the list with games we had never seen before. 

So, without further ado, here is our top ten list of the best football comebacks. 

  • Belgium takes on Japan in the FIFA World Cup (2018)

It would be an understatement to say that this was an unusual game. Belgium was the clear favourite, but Japan scored the game’s opening goal practically immediately after the second half began. Surprisingly, this was followed four minutes later by a second goal. 

Belgium appeared to be in serious jeopardy as a result of this. The Belgians would have to wait nearly 20 minutes for a goal. The first goal was soon followed by a second, just as it had been with Japan. 

With both teams pegged at the same time as injury time approached, it appeared that the game would go to overtime. Belgium, on the other hand, scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of the game thanks to an outstanding counterattack. 

  • UEFA Champions League–Tottenham vs. Ajax (2019) 

Tottenham Hotspur and AFC Ajax were two of the tournament’s dark horses in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League season. Nobody thought either of the teams would advance to the semi-finals. 

Tottenham’s performance in the quarter-finals against Manchester City, their county rivals, was outstanding. Ajax played beautiful football on their way to the final, defeating Real Madrid and Juventus in the process. 

Overall, the Dutch team appeared more confident and was playing better football coming into the game. Few could argue with Ajax’s 1-0 victory in the first game in London. As a result, they were ahead going into the second leg. 

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Ajax got off to a great start, going up 1-0 in the fifth minute. Then, in the 35th minute, they added a second goal. For a good 20 minutes, Ajax appeared to be on their way to their first final in 24 years. 

Tottenham winger Lucas Moura, on the other hand, had something to say about it. He put the Spurs back in the game with two quick goals in the 55th and 59th minutes. The two teams remained locked in a deadlock for the next two hours, but in the final minute of injury time, Tottenham’s hero of the night, Moura, scored one final time to give his team the victory. 

  • AC Milan against Deportivo La Corua-UEFA Champions League (2004) 

Between 2002 and 2004, AC Milan was one of Europe’s most powerful clubs. They won the Champions League in the 2002–03 season with a team that included Kaká, Seedorf, Gattuso, and Maldini, among the best players of the time. 

As a result, Deportivo La Corua faced an uphill task when they were drawn to meet them in the 2003-04 Champions League season. 

AC Milan won the first leg of this series, 4-1, at the San Siro. The Italian team, of course, had a significant advantage. Deportivo, on the other hand, made a solid start in the second leg. They were up 3-0 at halftime, much to the amazement of almost everyone. 

Thanks to the away goal, they have already advanced to the next round with this score. However, three goals were insufficient for them, so they added a fourth.

  • France vs. West Germany at the FIFA World Cup (1982) 

The semi-finals of the 1982 World Cup pitted France against West Germany. Both teams appeared to be strong, and most fans expected a nice contest. Both teams gave it their all, but after regular time, they were locked in a 1-1 tie, forcing the game into overtime. 

France scored two goals in the first ten minutes of extra time, and it appeared as if they had sealed the victory. However, the Germans did not give up and scored two goals of their own, forcing the match to go to penalties. 

So, in a penalty shootout, West Germany defeated France 5-4 following a 3-3 tie that saw four goals scored in extra time. This was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting and emotional World Cup matches we’ve ever witnessed. 

  • Real Madrid vs. Borussia Monchengladbach in the UEFA Europa League (1985)

Real Madrid faced Borussia Monchengladbach in the round of 16 of what is now known as the UEFA Europa League in the 1985-86 season. The German team dominated the opening encounter, defeating Real Madrid 5-1. 

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Real Madrid, on the other hand, won the second leg 4-0. Real Madrid advanced to the quarterfinals with two goals in each half. That year, Madrid would go on to win the Champions League. Because of how stunning each leg was, history may not be the same without this battle. 

  • AS Roma vs. FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League (2018)

Barcelona was regarded as one of the best teams in football history before this match. Naturally, they reaffirmed this belief when they thrashed AS Roma 4-1 in the first leg of this Champions League quarter-final at the Camp Nou. Nobody expected the club to throw away a three-goal lead against Roma. 

Despite the fact that Roma wasn’t a poor team, Barcelona appeared to be much more powerful. The Spanish team, on the other hand, had a nightmare in the second leg of this quarter-final. Edin Dzeko opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a fast goal. 

The second goal occurred after Roma was awarded a penalty in the second half by the referee. In the 82nd minute, Roma scored their third goal, knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League season. This game will go down in history as one of Barcelona’s worst performances. 

  • Real Madrid vs. AS Monaco: UEFA Champions League (2004)  

The Real Madrid team was dubbed the “Galacticos” in the early 2000s because it included several talented players like Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul, Roberto Carlos, and Luis Figo, to mention a few. 

On paper, it was one of the greatest football squads ever assembled. Naturally, many football supporters believed they would annihilate whatever opponent they faced. As a result, when the squad was selected to play AS Monaco in the 2003-04 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, many assumed the outcome would be predetermined. 

Real Madrid won the opening leg of the series 4-2, proving the majority of football enthusiasts wrong. Their ticket to the semi-finals appeared to have already been stamped. 

The second leg began in the manner that many experts predicted. Real Madrid scored first, requiring Monaco to score three goals to advance to the next round. 

As a result, it remains one of the greatest comebacks in history. 

  • UEFA Champions League – Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain (2017)

For various reasons, this recent battle is seen as a remarkable comeback. Barcelona was humiliated 4-0 in the first leg, which was played at Le Parc des Princes in Paris. 

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Barcelona needed to score at least four goals to force the second leg into extra time. PSG clearly dominated the game. Barcelona got off to a good start in the second leg contest at Camp Nou, with Luis Suarez scoring in the third minute. 

Barcelona had scored another goal before halftime, putting them only two goals away from qualifying. Barcelona scored a third goal in the 50th minute, making the comeback appear more likely than ever!

  • UEFA Champions League–Liverpool vs. Barcelona (2019) 

Barcelona is on this list once more. They are not the protagonists of the story this time. Instead, they were on the losing end of a remarkable comeback against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final.  

The opening leg of the match took place at Camp Nou. It was an odd encounter because Barcelona didn’t have much control but yet managed to win 3-0, with Messi scoring one goal on a stunning free-kick. 

Trent Alexander Arnold stunned the defenders by taking the corner so swiftly in the last goal. This allowed Origi to get past his defenders in the box and score the game-winning goal for Liverpool. 

After this game, Liverpool would go on to win the final. As a result, it was a key game in determining the league champions. 

  • Liverpool vs. AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League Final (2005)

This match’s context is what makes it the best comeback of all time. AC Milan got off to the best possible start in the final, scoring the game’s first goal in the first minute! 

They were up 3-0 at halftime. This meant that Liverpool only needed three goals to force the game into extra time. Rafael Bentez must be a fantastic motivational speaker because whatever he said to his squad during these critical moments worked. 

Liverpool scored three goals in the first six minutes of the second half! Despite the fact that there were still 30 minutes left in the game, the score was now tied. 

In normal and extra time, no additional goals were scored. This meant that the final score would be determined only on the basis of penalties. Liverpool prevailed in penalties, claiming the Champions League despite trailing 3-0 at halftime!

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