Hope for Tottenham? Six of the best Champions League second-leg comebacks

Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain (6-5 on aggregate), 2017

A 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona in the first instalment of PSG’s round of 16 clash in 2016/17 felt like a coming-of-age result for the Ligue 1 side in Europe, yet they somehow contrived to throw it all away by going down 6-1 in an extraordinary return match at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona still needed three goals to progress heading into the 88th minute of the second leg, but a double from man-of-the-match Neymar and Sergi Roberto’s dramatic decider completed one of the most extraordinary turnarounds in football history.

Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 Milan (5-4 on aggregate), 2004

Milan entered the 2003/04 campaign with hopes of becoming the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues since Arrigo Sacchi led the Rossoneri to two in a row in 1989 and 1990. They got their quarter-final meeting with Deportivo La Coruna off to a perfect start with a 4-1 win at San Siro, with all four goals (two from Kaka and one each for Andriy Shevchenko and Andrea Pirlo) coming in the space of eight minutes.

Milan’s lead was wiped out by the midway point of the second leg, however, as first-half efforts from Walter Pandiana, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque gave Deportivo the away-goals advantage. Carlo Ancelotti’s men therefore needed to score to edge back ahead on aggregate, but it was Fran Gonzalez who grabbed the decisive fourth of the night to send the Spaniards through.

Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 on aggregate), 2018

Barcelona fans could have been forgiven for booking time off work to attend the Champions League semi-finals after their 4-1 triumph over Roma in the first leg of the 2017/18 quarter-finals. That scoreline did not tell the full story of a game in which the Serie A side created plenty of opportunities, but a three-goal lead heading into the second leg appeared to be enough for Ernesto Valverde’s charges.

Edin Dzeko gave Roma hope with a sixth-minute strike in the Italian capital, before Daniele de Rossi made Barcelona nervous by converting from the penalty spot just before the hour mark. It was left to Kostas Manolas to make himself the hero, the Greek defender heading home in the 82nd minute to send the Stadio Olimpico into raptures.

Chelsea 4-1 Napoli (5-4 on aggregate), 2012

A 3-1 loss to Napoli in the first leg of their last-16 tie was not quite the final straw for Andre Villas-Boas as Chelsea manager, but the Portuguese was sacked less than two weeks later. Roberto Di Matteo was installed as caretaker boss with the hope of securing a top-four finish in the Premier League, with most fans realistic about the club’s slim chances of further progress in Europe.

Yet Chelsea produced a brilliant performance in the second leg to advance to the quarter-finals. A 3-1 scoreline after 90 minutes sent the game to extra time, in which Branislav Ivanovic scored the all-important ninth goal of the tie to complete a magnificent comeback. Improbably, Chelsea then went on to defeat Benfica, Barcelona and Bayern Munich to win their first ever European Cup.

Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid (5-5 on aggregate), 2004

European champions in 1998, 2000 and 2002, Real Madrid were favourites to lift the trophy again in 2004 as the competition reached the quarter-final stage. That feeling was only strengthened when los Blancos beat Monaco 4-2 in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, although subsequent events meant that Fernando Morientes’ late effort to reduce the deficit to two goals was hugely significant.

On loan at Monaco from Madrid, Morientes also scored in the second leg, with Ludovic Giuly’s brace completing a 3-1 win and sending the principality club through to the last four against the odds.

Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3 on aggregate), 2019

Just last season, Liverpool showed that nothing can be taken for granted in the Champions League. And while Tottenham are just 1-0 down to RB Leipzig midway through their last-16 tie, Liverpool had three goals to make up in this semi-final clash.

They did it in spectacular fashion, Divock Origi and Gini Wijnaldum both notching braces to leave Lionel Messi and co. stunned. It was a phenomenal feat, and one which set the Reds on the path to their sixth European crown.

 

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