Top 10 second half comebacks of all time

Will these come-back’s ever be beaten? Who knows – but it does prove that even if you are down in the first half, there’s still 45 minutes left to get something out of the match! It is well and truly a game of two halves!

AC Milan V Liverpool – Champions League Final (2005)

The absolute classic of European football. Milan had 3-0 lead until the 54th minute, but fantastic support and inspiration led Liverpool to a feat that will never be forgotten. Such a beautiful game it was that Silvio Berlusconi himself refused to criticise or punish his squad. Dudek’s saves from the spot will live in the memory forever, as will significance of the phenomenal comeback Liverpool achieved in the 90 minutes.

West Germany – England 3-2 (1970)

World Cup quarterfinals. England, reigning champions, lead 2-0 but Alf Ramsey took off Bobby Charlton in order to “rest” him for the semi-finals. And indeed Charlton was fully rested for the semi-finals, only England were not there. The Germans typically fought on and Gerd Muller scored the winner with a wonderful aerial volley. Oh what might have been!

Werder Bremen- Anderlecht 5-3 (1994)

Champions’ League group stage. The comeback specialists (Werder) against the chronic loser (Anderlecht). The Belgians held on to 3-0 until the 66th minute and a win should have been a matter of routine, but the Germans, for reasons unknown, kept on coming forward. Two goals from Rufer and goals from Hobsch, Bratseth and Bode in the following 23 minutes sent the Bremen fans into ecstasy and left the Belgians wondering what they’d done wrong.

Barcelona – Atletico Madrid 5-4 (1997)

Spanish Cup quarterfinals. Atletico arrived at Nou Camp with a poor 2-2 draw, but after 45 minutes they had an “unassailable” 3-0 lead. Fifteen minutes into the second half, they led 4-2, with four goals by Serb Milinko Pantic. However, with the talent Barcelona had, anything was possible. Goals from Ronaldo, Figo and Pizzi three minutes before time completed a magnificent turnaround, which thrilled the Catalans. You do remember that Brazilian Ronaldo don’t you?

Tottenham – Manchester City 3-4 (2004)

Ten-man Manchester City pulled off an amazing FA Cup comeback in 2004. Tottenham led 3-0 at half-time after Ledley King, Robbie Keane, and Christian Ziege had all scored in the first 45 minutes. City’s Joey Barton was sent off for a second yellow card after arguing with the referee. However, an unforgettable second half at White Hart Lane saw Sylvain Distin, Paul Bosvelt, and Shaun Wright-Phillips level before Jonathan Macken headed a late winner. Kevin Keegan said: “They’ll talk about this game long after we’ve all gone”. We are still talking about it now, Kev.

Tottenham – Manchester United 3-5 (2001)

It’s White Hart Lane again, and Tottenham throwing away a big lead again. Spurs had been 3-0 up at half time after outplaying their opponents. Debutant Dean Richards, Les Ferdinand, and Christian Ziege scored the first half goals but Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron, and David Beckham proved exactly why United were set to become champions.

Charlton – Huddersfield 7-6 (1967)

The comeback to end all football comebacks took place in December 1967. Huddersfield were 5-1 up and down to 10 men after more than an hour’s play before Johnny Summers hits an astonishing five goals to make it 6-5 to Charlton. John Hewie’s own goal levelled the scores before John Ryan grabbed the winner in the dying seconds. Simply amazing!

Peterborough – Cardiff 4-4 (2010)

A stunning second half from Peterborough grabbed a share of the points as Cardiff surrendered a 4-0 half time lead to draw 4-4. Joe Ledley, twice, Jay Bothroyd, and Peter Whittingham had looked to have sealed the points for the team from Wales but substitute Josh Simpson, Charlie Lee, and George Boyd’s late goal were followed by Simpson’s 92nd-minute leveller. Peterborough boss Mark Cooper said, “Our first-half performance was completely unacceptable.” Must have been your words that turned it around Mark!

Mali – Angola 4-4 (2010)

You’d usually think if you were 4-0 up with 15 minutes to go, that you’ve probably got the match won, right? Well not in the African Cup of Nations it seems. Mali fought back from 4 down, to finish 4-4, just to show that absolutely anything can happen. I really to regret changing the channel at 4-0.

Bayern Munich – Manchester United (1999)

They only came back from a goal down but to do in it a matter of minutes at the end of a Champions League final means a place in this list is well deserved. United were without Roy Keane and Paul Scholes ahead of the match – both of whom had scored against Bayern in the group stage – and the Bavarians were quickly able to assert their superiority. With the final whistle approaching, the Germans looked good value for their 1-0 lead. However, super subs Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer netted two late goals to bring the Champions League trophy back to Manchester for the first time since 1968.

Any other notable games that I have missed…

 


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