Football matches can be unpredictable. In a matter of moments, a team with a multiple-goal lead can be trailing. It is these types of comebacks that make watching a match so exciting. Simply stated, nobody is truly out until the referee has blown the final whistle.
Here is our list of the top 5 greatest comebacks in football.
Belgium vs Japan – 2018
Belgium was the obvious favourite, but then, Japan got the first goal almost as soon as the second half began. Surprisingly, this was quickly followed by a second goal four minutes later.Takashi Inui’s 25-yard strike made it 2-0 and looked set to take the Asian side into their first quarter-final. And with that, it seemed as if Belgium was in big trouble. It would be nearly 20 minutes before the Belgians brought a goal back. Similar to Japan, the first goal was quickly followed by a second.
Their fortunes changed after that as Vertonghen scored a looping header to get them back into the game. Fellaini then headed in Eden Hazard’s cross to level before Chadli converted Thomas Meunier’s pass to finish off a flowing move and help the Red Devils avoid being the latest victims of a World Cup of shocks. Belgium is the first team to fight back from two goals down to win a World Cup knockout game since West Germany against England in 1970.
Roma vs Barcelona – 2018
Before this match, Barcelona was seen as one of the best teams in football history. Naturally, they affirmed this idea when they demolished AS Roma 4-1 at the Camp Nou in the first leg of this Champions League quarter-final. Nobody thought the team was capable of losing a three-goal advantage against Roma.
Barcelona looked so much stronger. However, the second leg of this quarter-final turned into a nightmare for the Spanish team. It started with a quick goal from Edin Dzeko in the 6th minute. The second goal came after the referee awarded Roma a penalty in the second half. Roma’s third goal, which knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League season came in the 82nd minute. This game is remembered as one of Barcelona’s worst performances in modern history.
There were tears in the stands from those watching, not quite believing what they had witnessed.
Liverpool vs Barcelona – 2019
Again Barcelona is on the losing end of a famous comeback in a Champions League semi-final against Liverpool. The first leg was played at Camp Nou. It was a weird match because Barcelona didn’t control it but somehow still managed to win 3-0, with one goal coming from a beautiful free-kick taken by Messi. In the second leg, Liverpool managed to score one goal before halftime. Wijnaldum scored two more goals, which means they were only one goal away from qualification!
In the last goal, Trent Alexander Arnold surprised the defence by taking the corner quickly. This helped Origi lose his markers in the box and score the goal that would lead Liverpool to qualify.
Barcelona vs PSG – 2017
In the first leg which was played at Le Parc des Princes in Paris, Barcelona lost by a humiliating score of 4-0. PSG dominated the game and Barcelona needed to score at least four goals to push the second leg into extra time. The second leg matchup at Camp Nou started well for Barcelona with Luis Suarez getting a goal in the third minute.
Before halftime, Barcelona had scored another goal, meaning they were only two goals away from qualification. In the 50th minute, Barcelona scored a third goal and the comeback seemed more possible than ever! But the team’s hopes were nearly shattered when PSG managed to bring a goal back. A single successful strike almost put an end to the game.
This one goal meant that Barcelona needed to score three more goals (again!) It was almost like starting from zero. In the 87th minute, the game was still 3-1. But, in the last seven minutes of the game, Barcelona managed to score three goals in what was one of the most insane performances in European football.
Neymar scored two goals in the closing stages – a free kick in the 88th minute and a controversial penalty kick when Luis Suárez fell in the 90+1st – to make it 5–1. In the final seconds of the match, Neymar delivered a cross into the penalty area, and Sergi Roberto scored their sixth and final goal in the 90+5th minute, thus winning the game 6–1 and advancing to the quarter-finals 6–5 on aggregate.
Liverpool vs Milan – 2005
The context of this match is what makes it the best comeback of all. AC Milan started the final the way teams only dream of after scoring their first goal in the first minute of the game! At halftime, they were up 3-0. This meant Liverpool needed three goals just to ensure the game headed to extra time. Rafael Benítez must be one hell of a motivational speaker as whatever he said to his team in these crucial moments worked.
Within six minutes of the second half kicking off, Liverpool scored three goals! Although there were still 30 minutes of the game to be played, the score was now equal. No more goals were scored in regular time or extra time. This meant that this final would be decided by penalties. Liverpool won on penalties, which means they won the Champions League despite being down 3-0 at halftime!