One of the dearest reasons why millions of fans around the world simply adore the game of soccer is that it is a game of stupendous uncertainties. In most cases, you are never out of the game until the final whistle blows. Even in the injury time, there’s a sliver of hope that keeps fans of the trailing side with fingers crossed and fans of the leading side to count their minutes.
Perhaps the spirit of soccer lies in this ability to act as a ‘leveller’ of sorts, making it all appear fair, just and very, very thrilling.
As an homage to this very fact, we have tried to compile 5 of the very best comebacks in the modern history of club soccer.
Liverpool vs AC Milan, 3-3, 2005
Dubbed by the media as the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’, the Champions League Final of 2005 still remains the highest triumph that the Liverpool fans have ever experienced.
The game, being hosted at the picturesque Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, began in a frenzy as Maldini and Crespo scored three goals in tandem to take the Milanese side 3-0 up at the half time. What followed, however, was probably the best comeback ever as Smicer, Gerrard and Xabi Alonso scored three spectacular goals to draw level at full time, allowing for a high-adrenaline penalty shootout victory.
Arsenal vs Reading, 7-5, 2012
What a game! What a turnaround for the Gooners!
Reading were uncharacteristically aggressive in this routine league game in 2012, surprising everyone with a goal after goal in the first half, going 4-0 up. Just as the halftime whistle was due, a lone piece of side-line brilliance from Theo Walcott saw Arsenal score their first goal of the match – a goal many thought would merely be consolatory.
But it wasn’t. It spurred a comeback of dramatic proportions that finally saw Reading lose 5-7, leaving everyone as stunned as a deer in the headlights.
Newcastle vs Arsenal, 4-4, 2001
A year before they drubbed Reading, Arsenal experienced what snatching a defeat (a draw, technically) from the jaws of victory tastes like.
After a fertile first half, Arsenal were all too certain to complete an authoritative away win, when Abou Diaby was sent off for a reckless challenge. In the last 20 minutes of the second half, Newcastle fans found their voices back and the team their feet. When the referee blew the final whistle, Arsenal fans and players were left to contemplate what really transpired at the St. James Park that fine night.
Spurs vs Manchester City, 3-4, 2004
Manchester City weren’t quite used to winning about a decade ago as they are these days. In another soon-to-be-complete routing, they stood reeling 3-0 at the halftime with a relatively mediocre Spurs side.
Following a passionate plea from the man-in-charge Kevin Keegan, a legend in his own right, City players finally turned up, and how!
Scoring 4 goals in a matter of minutes, they somehow managed to make the impossible possible and entered the next round of the Cup in style.
Manchester United vs Juventus, 3-2, 1999 (Rare video)
The United were sorely missing playing with the highest echelons of European Club Football. They were finally allowed to make it to the Champions League in 1999 wherein they seemed unstoppable, routing every opponent before drawing 1-1 at home with the mighty Juventus.
The away leg started with a disappointment as Juventus went 2-0 up at the halftime. However, with a grand leader like Roy Keane at the helm, the comeback was far from impossible. Teaming up with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, Keane made sure that the Reds didn’t miss the plane to the finals.