Greatest Comeback Wins in Football History

Sports teams are not always consistent. They can be in their best form during one match and struggle during the next. They can also have a rough start but pull themselves together in the second half. The game becomes one of the most exciting ever when something like this occurs. 

Football fans love it when a team is able to go from losing a match pretty badly to winning it. It is one of the things that make football so exciting for the viewers. There are many such instances where a team was losing with zero goals but, within the last ten minutes or so, was able to make a miraculous recovery. 

What Is a Comeback?

A comeback or a come from behind occurs when an athlete or a sports team is competing, and they are expected to lose because they are at a substantial disadvantage in terms of points or position but are able to gain the necessary points to overcome it. 

A comeback is one of the greatest aspects of competitive sport and embodies what makes sports so extraordinary. They are occurrences when players solidify themselves as football stars with success stories. These overtake occur in part due to the crowd’s involvement and how sometimes their cheering can help the players gain momentum and make a dramatic comeback. 

Furthermore, when a team loses after a comeback, and there is not a lot of difference between the scores, the fans feel better about it since they believe it to be a comeback that fell short. If the team had played evenly throughout the match and still failed to win, they would feel as if their team was not good enough. 

Comebacks are much rarer in games regulated by a game cloak, and the remaining time often makes it much more challenging to make a comeback. Furthermore, a comeback often seems impossible when the scores are too far apart. 

However, in some sports such as soccer, tennis, or baseball, a comeback is possible until the very end as teams are not able to score a massive number of points in the first place. Therefore, the game can change even at the very last minute and make the game exciting for the viewers. 

In soccer, the ability of a team to have a comeback is limited by the game clock, but there have been instances where the players have been able to use the last few minutes and extra time to recover from an awful start and gain enough points to surpass their opponents and win the game. 

The Greatest Comeback Wins in Football History

Liverpool in the 2005 UCL Final, Istanbul

Liverpool is a team known for making great comebacks at the very end of matches and ultimately turning around a match the rival thought they had. One of their greatest comebacks was the 2005 UCL Final in Istanbul. This match is also often called the Miracle of Istanbul.

In this match, Liverpool was playing against AC Milan, which was legendary for several reasons. Firstly, it was the 2005 Champions League Final. Second, Liverpool conceded three goals in the first half of the match. Therefore, it seemed to many spectators that it was over for Liverpool and that they had lost. 

The Liverpool team had something else in mind. They scored three goals in the second half in six minutes. Something like this is almost unheard of. No one expected this from Liverpool, mainly because they were playing against AC Milan, which was full of footballing legends.  

With the match ending at 3-3, it seemed as if Liverpool had achieved the impossible. Due to the tie, the game was taken to extra time. However, they were still tied, so the match went to a penalty shootout, where Liverpool managed to score and won the UEFA Champions League. 

Liverpool over Barcelona

Liverpool loves to keep their fans in anticipation throughout the match and then make a comeback at the end with spectacular goals. In the UCL Semi-Final match in 2019, Liverpool was at a 3-0 deficit from the first leg against Barcelona. 

However, they managed to produce an insane comeback to win a spot in the final. In the first leg, Barcelona trumped Liverpool by 3-0. Therefore, Liverpool needed to score four goals to go to the finals. Liverpool scored a goal when the match started and gave the fans some hope. This hope turned into belief when Liverpool scored goal after goal until they defeated Barcelona 4-0 and secured their place in the finals.

Barcelona in the 2017 UCL Round of 16

This match between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain was one for the books when it comes to comebacks. In the first leg, Paris Saint-Germain had won 4-0, and no one believed that Barcelona would be able to score the four goals needed to go through. 

However, as soon as the match started, cheers erupted within three minutes as Luis Suarez scored a goal. Near the end of the game, the score was 5-3, and Barcelona needed three goals to qualify, and everyone thought that it was over for them. However, in the 88th minute, Neymar pulled through and scored an incredible free kick. 

Barcelona now needed two goals in five minutes. Neymar scored one goal in the 91st minute through a penalty and the second in the final minute of the match from a player fans least expected to score a goal. Just like that, Sergi Roberto helped Barcelona win the game and move to the quarter-finals. 

Tottenham over Ajax in the 2019 UCL Semi-Final

Among all the comebacks that soccer teams had in 2019, the one made by Tottenham over Ajax in the 2019 UCL Semi-Final was by far the best one. Tottenham lost to Ajax in the semi-final of the Champions League, and they had to prove themselves to be able to move to the finals.

Tottenham did not have a great start as Ajax were able to double their lead, which meant that they had to score even more goals to win. At the last minute, the aggregate was 3-2 and Tottenham player, Lucas Moura, was able to score the third goal, which completed his hat-trick and sent Tottenham to the all-English UEFA Champions League final. A feat no one thought possible. 

Manchester City’s promotional win

Today, Manchester City is known as one of the richer clubs with a large amount of wealth backing them up. They have managed to become one of the powerhouses of European football with enough funds to pay their players a considerable amount each year.

However, this was not always the case. In 1999, they were in England’s Division Two, and if they wanted to get a promotion, they had to win a game over Gillingham. Near the end of the match, things were not looking good for Manchester City as they were losing 2-0. In the 90th minute, they were able to get one goal.

The real magic happened when they were given injury time and shootouts, during which they were able to make the two goals they needed to win the match. This comeback and win changed Manchester City’s history, and they became the huge team they are now. 

Manchester United over Bayern Munich in the 1999 UCL Final

This comeback made by Manchester United was an interesting and incredible one. Bayern Munich was able to able to get a lead in the game by scoring a goal and made it especially hard for Manchester United to score a goal. Due to the vigorous defense put forth by Bayern Munich, Manchester United fans started to lose hope. 

At the very end of the match, Solskjaer and Sheringham came forth and scored a goal a piece, and the game ended 2-1. In the final minutes, two of Manchester United’s substitutes pulled through and scored the two goals in stoppage time, which won them the European Cup. 

Arsenal over Reading in the 2012 Capital One Cup

Even though Arsenal versus Reading may not seem like a particularly fancy fixture, it was an exciting game, and everyone watching was at the edge of their seats. Readings had played amazingly and scored four goals, with Arsenal scoring none. 

Many believed that Arsenal had under-estimated their rivals and was paying the price. However, the game turned around when Theo Walcott scored a goal just as halftime approached. Olivier Giroud scored another goal and made the game 4-2. 

Despite the slight recovery, fans still believed that Reading had it in the bag, but then Arsenal scored another goal in the 88th minute and in the 5th minute of injury time, making the score 4-4.

The match was then taken to extra time, where Arsenal took the lead for the first time, and the score became 5-5. Determined not to lose, Reading scored another goal, equaling the scores again. 

The audience was in uproar at this change of events. In the very last minute of the extra time, Reading gave away two unnecessary goals, and the final score was 5-7. Arsenal won the match with an incredible comeback that seemed highly unlikely. 

Manchester City against Hotspur with a man down

Even though there are many instances where teams have made incredible comebacks, it is definitely not easy. In the 2004 FA Cup contest, Manchester City found themselves in a fix playing against Tottenham Hotspur. 

The score was 3-0 at halftime, and many believed that it was over for Manchester City. Furthermore, they had even lost a player due to a red card and were only ten playing against the entire Hotspur team. 

Despite all the odds stacked against them, Manchester City pulled themselves together, played an incredible second half, managed to score four goals, and blocked Tottenham Hotspur from scoring any. Therefore, they were able to pull off a victory no one expected from them.

AS Roma over Barcelona at the 2018 UCL Quarter Finals

In the history of the Champions League, Roma has made one of the greatest comebacks football fans have ever seen, proving that no one should write off the underdogs. Barcelona had come into the match winners, and no one expected Roma to put up a fight.

Roma scored two early goals, and Barcelona made mistake after mistake, and near the end, the aggregate of the match left 4-3, leaving one goal between Roma and the semi-finals. In the 79th minute, Manolas was able to make a goal, and the score became 4-4. 

Chelsea over Barcelona in the 2012 UCL Semi-Final

The Chelsea versus Barcelona match was also one for the books. Chelsea had won the first leg 1-0 and wanted to win the second leg to defend their win at Camp Nou, but they were facing Barcelona with players like Busquests, Xavi, and Messi.

Furthermore, they recently had a coaching change and were not as stable as they would have liked going into a match with Barcelona. Chelsea had a tough start, and by the 44th minute, things did not look too good as the score was 2-0, with Chelsea losing. 

Chelsea managed to score two goals, but Drogba conceded a penalty, and things were looking rough for them again. However, Ashley Cole of Chelsea managed to score a goal bringing the score to 3-2, leading Chelsea to victory. 


Comebacks are one of the reasons why sports is so exciting. Within minutes, the whole trajectory of the match can change and cause a losing team to win. It also teaches the viewers and players to never give up and try their hardest to win until the end. 

The history of soccer has seen teams make incredible comebacks which were nerve-wracking and incredibly exciting at the same time. Teams like Liverpool, Tottenham, etc., are well known for making comebacks and proving themselves at the very end.