There have been some great football comebacks in recent years and you have to wonder just how many “dedicated” fans left before the final whistle, missing their teams most glorious of moments. It’s when your team’s back is to the wall that they need your support the most. Here are a few of our favourites but feel free to comment at the end if you have a personal favourite of your own.
1- Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (2005)
A quite astounding comeback and to do it on such a big stage as the Champions league Final requires a team of tremendous heart. Liverpool found themselves on the wrong-side of a 3-0 scoreline at half time and needed the team-talk of all team-talks. A number of fans were so appalled at their team’s first-half showing, they left the stadium! Whatever was said in the dressing room has the desired effect. Despite looking as if they didn’t deserve to be in the final in the first 45 minutes, they came out after the break, almost as if they were a different team. Goals from Gerrard, Smicer and Alonso levelled the match up, taking it to extra time and a victory for Liverpool on penalties.
2- Reading 5-7 Arsenal (2012)
This could be a classic case of complacency. A team goes 4-0 up, thinks it’s done enough and take the foot off the gas. You have to give credit to Reading though as not many teams can build up such a lead against a club such as Arsenal. What Arsenal needed was a lifeline. They got that just as half-time approached when Theo Walcott reduced Arsenal’s deficit to three. That was the glimmer of hope they needed. They managed to make it 4-2 with 2 minutes still to play and they it happened. An 89th minute goal for Arsenal and another in the FIFTH minute of injury time and they were taking the game to extra time. Arsenal sneaked ahead 5-4, Reading levelled to make it 5-5. Two late strikes from the Gunners took them 7-5 ahead and on to victory.
3- Motherwell 6-6 Hibernian (2010)
This was another fine spectacle with Motherwell coming back from being 6-2 down after 65 minutes. They managed to level the game, with the final goal, 3 minutes into injury time. This was despite the fact they missed a penalty too. It ain’t over, till it’s over.
4- Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (2011)
A year prior to their Reading victory, it all happened in reverse for Arsenal, who stood 4-0 to the good over Newcastle at St James’ Park at half time. 4 goals in 19 minutes changed all that in the second-half ad that included a stormer of a strike from Cheik Tiote with just 3 minutes left on the clock.
5- Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers (1953)
You might not remember this one but it has been historically known as the most famous FA Cup final of all. Bolton looked all over the winners with just 20 minutes to go. They were leading 3-1 before Stan Mortensen scored his second goal to make it 3-2 and made it a hat-trick with just a minute to spare. Once again, it was a Stanley Matthews cross which set up the next goal and indeed the winner. They wanted to call it the “Matthews Final”, but Stanley Matthews always insisted it was a team effort.
6- Barcelona 1-4 Metz (1984)
The comebacks of all comebacks. How many teams could pull this off? In fact, even the French media refused to cover the match after Metz lost the first leg 4-2 and had been so out of form prior to the match, they’d lost recent games 6-0 and 7-0. No-one gave them a hope and even less so, when Barcelona went 1-0 up in the second leg. Something about that goal must have really riled the players as they then went on to score 4 on the bounce and stun the crowd.
7- Germany 4-4 Sweden (2012)
It doesn’t happen very often in Germany. In fact, it’s the only time it’s happened. The German team is renowned for having a tough defence to penetrate, but on this occasion they managed to let a 4-goal lead slip away. There was less than half an hour remaining when it started to all go wrong for them. Ibrahimovic, Lustig and Elmander all struck for Sweden and it was rounded off nicely with a scorching strike from Rasmus Elm in injury time. Cue the biggest celebrations for the Swedes.
8- Spurs 3-4 Manchester City (2004)
City decided to do this the hard way. Not only were they 3-0 down at half time, but they also had a man less than when they started the match. Kevin Keegan even remarked in the dressing room that he’d be looking for a new job sometime soon. Somehow they managed to pick themselves up, brush themselves down and put 4 past Spurs in the second half with no reply.
9- Mali 4-4 Angola (2010)
If we’ve learned anything from this list, it’s not to write yourself off when you’re 4 goals down. Another frankly ridiculous comeback from 4 goals down, this one – in the African Cup of Nations in 2010 – was even more remarkable than the others, as all 4 goals for Mali came in the final 11 minutes of the match. Just when it looked like the home nation was going to romp away with the opening match in the tournament, Mali came to spoil the party.
10- Gillingham 2-2 Manchester City (1999)
What looked to be a certain 0-0 draw with less than 10 minutes to go, turned into one of the most incredible matches. Carl Asaba scored for Gillingham and 5 minutes later added a second, dooming City to another season in the third tier of English football. Or so it seemed. The second goal completely fired up Man City as they pulled one back in the 90th minute and another in injury time. This forced the match into extra time and a penalty shoot-out, which City won and gained promotion. The rest- as they say- is history.