Liverpool and Tottenham… the greatest cup comebacks ever

The Capital One Cup Semi-Final is arguably the most anticipated round for most fans as it can offer up some of the most unexpected results and marvellous comebacks that we all love to see in the beautiful game.

But as we say goodbye to this year’s second legs,  here are five League Cup Semi-Final second-leg comebacks to inspire football fans everywhere!

1. 1997/1998 – Middlesbrough 2-0 Liverpool (1st Leg – Liverpool 2-1 Middlesbrough)

Having lost the first-leg 2-1 at Anfield, despite taking the lead through Paul Merson, Middlesbrough knew they had to win by two clear goals to reach Wembley.

And within five minutes of the second-leg they had that two-goal cushion at the Riverside Stadium after goals from Merson and Marco Branca put them in front. They somehow held on for the remaining 85 minutes to secure their place in the Final.

2. 2008/2009 – Burnley 3-2 Spurs [aet] (1st Leg – Spurs 4-1 Burnley)

Burnley eventually lost the tie against Spurs, but they made it hard work for the North London side in the process.

Spurs won the first-leg 4-1 at White Hart Lane and looked well on their way to the Final. But Burnley refused to admit defeat and took the second-leg to extra-time after goals from Robbie Blake, Chris McCann and Jay Rodriguez made it 3-0 after normal time at Turf Moor, 4-4 on aggregate.

It looked like penalties would be needed to decide the winner, but last gasp extra-time goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe ended Burnley’s hopes of completing a famous comeback.

3. 2010/2011 – Birmingham 3-1 West Ham [aet] (1st Leg – West Ham 2-1 Birmingham)

The Hammers won the first-leg 2-1 at Upton Park and with both sides battling relegation in the Premier League at the time, felt confident of finishing the job at St. Andrew’s in the second leg.

And after Carlton Cole scored a first-half screamer in the first-half to make it 3-1 on aggregate, Wembley looked to be within touching distance. But Birmingham staged a second-half revival and goals from Lee Bowyer and Roger Johnson forced the tie into extra-time at 3-3. Just four minutes into extra-time Craig Gardner drove home to complete the comeback and secure Birmingham a Wembley Final with Arsenal, which they went on to win.

4. 1980/1981 – West Ham 2-0 Coventry (1st Leg – Coventry 3-2 West Ham)

Coventry won the first-leg 3-2 and were confident of holding on for a famous victory over the Hammers.

But West Ham made home advantage count in the second-leg as they ran out 2-0 winners at Upton Park to make it 4-3 on aggregate.

5. 1993/1994 – Aston Villa 3-1 Tranmere [aet, Villa win on penalties] (1st Leg – Tranmere 3-1 Villa)

Goals from Ian Nolan, Mark Hughes and John Aldridge gave Tranmere Rovers an unexpected 3-1 lead over Aston Villa going into the second-leg at Villa Park.

Villa took the game to extra-time after goals from Dean Saunders, Shaun Teale and Dalian Atkinson cancelled out John Aldridge’s first-half effort, making it 4-4 on aggregate. A goalless extra-time period meant penalties were to decide who played Manchester United in the Final, which Villa eventually won 5-4.


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