Features > THE MOST DRAMATIC COMEBACKS EVER

THE MOST DRAMATIC COMEBACKS EVER

Newcastle's comeback against Arsenal has got everyone talking - and rightly so. It was the first time in Premier League history that a club has lost a four-goal lead.

It was one of those games that people will be talking about for years - and UK users can watch the highlights by clicking on the video at the bottom of this story.

However, was it the most dramatic comeback of all time? Probably not, as there have been a number of scarcely believable matches over the years.

Below we list our favourites; some you will almost certainly remember, but others may have escaped your radar.

2005 Champions League final - Liverpool 3-3 Milan (Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties)

Where else could we start but the miracle of Istanbul! Who could have predicted Liverpool's fairytale recovery when Milan overran Liverpool in the first half at the Ataturk Stadium, going in at the break 3-0 in front.

On the face of it, the introduction of Dietmar Hamman at half-time did not seem the best way to chase a three-goal deficit, but the German added stability to Liverpool's core and soon they were handed a lifeline when Steven Gerrard guided John Arne Riise's cross past Dida with a great header.

In the blink of an eye they were suddenly filled with hope when Vladimir Smicer, a first-half substitute for the injured Harry Kewell, saw Dida fail to keep out his low drive from outside the area.

Liverpool fans did not have long to speculate over the possibility of a historic comeback as just before the hour-mark Gerrard charged into the box and - ahem - won a penalty off Gennaro Gattuso.

Xabi Alonso saw his spot-kick saved but lashed the rebound into the roof of the net to complete a remarkable 15-minute turnaround.

Liverpool rode their luck all the way to a penalty shootout as Djimi Traore blocked a shot on the line and Dudek made a stunning double-save from Andrey Shevchenko right at the end of extra time.

After Milan's earlier dominance, Andrea Pirlo and Serginho missed their first two penalties in the shootout.

Hamman and Djibril Cisse converted theirs before Riise missed to hand Milan a lifeline.

However, after Kaka and Smicer both scored, Dudek's persistence with his impression of Bruce Grobelaar's infamous 'spaghetti legs' paid off and he saved Shevchenko's penalty to seal the Champions League for Rafael Benitez in his first season at the club.

1999 Champions League final - Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich

For 90 minutes, this was turgid stuff - a stultifying anti-climax in which Bayern scored early and squeezed the life out of United.

Mario Basler unsighted Peter Schmeichel with a low free-kick in the sixth minute and Bayern were on their way.

Mehmet Scholl hit the post when he should have scored but, such was the Germans' dominance, it surely wouldn't matter.

In a fateful moment of grandstanding, Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld took off Lothar Matthaus four minutes from the end, while other players made celebratory gestures to the fans.

Then, in stoppage time, everything changed. A David Beckham corner was poorly cleared and fell to Ryan Giggs, who completely mis-hit his shot but sent the ball into the path of Teddy Sheringham who swept the ball into the bottom corner.

As a broken Bayern side tried to regroup, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer burst forward and won a corner.

Beckham's delivery found the head of Sheringham whose flick-on was redirected into the top-right corner by Solskjaer's outstretched boot. United had their treble.

2004 FA Cup fourth round replay - Tottenham 3-4 Manchester City

This was classic Spurs. They seized total control of the game thanks to sublime first-half finishes from Ledley King, Robbie Keane and Christian Ziege - the latter with a brilliant free-kick.

Just as commentator Martin Tyler announced Tottenham had "almost rendered the second half academic", City had Joey Barton sent off for arguing with referee Rob Styles. Yet somehow Kevin Keegan's side came back.

Sylvain Distin headed three minutes after the break when Spurs decided not to bother defending a Michael Tarnat free-kick, before Ziege hit the bar with another free-kick and Gus Poyet somehow failed to convert the rebound.

A deflected Paul Bosvelt shot made it 3-2, then a suspiciously offside Shaun Wright-Phillips scampered through and lifted the ball over Kasey Keller to equalise.

In the final minute, Jon Macken headed past Keller to complete possibly the greatest ever FA Cup comeback.

2001 Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur 3-5 Manchester United

Sorry, Tottenham fans, but it is time to remind you of another shocker.

It's fair to say that, on the rare occasions that United lose in Europe, heaven help the next team they play.

Coming off the back of a 2-1 defeat at Deportivo la Coruna in midweek, Alex Ferguson's misery looked set to continue at White Hart Lane.

A Dean Richards header and a strike from Les Ferdinand had Spurs 2-0 up with a quarter of the match gone.

When Christian Ziege's header beat Fabien Barthez just before half-time it seemed that there was no way back for the champions.

The infamous hairdryer must have blown at full blast during the break, because United came out in truly vengeful mood.

Andy Cole's diving header right at the start of the half unsettled a buoyant Spurs, and when Laurent Blanc rose to head home his only Premier League goal just before the hour-mark, Glenn Hoddle's men were visibly shaken.

In a final 20-minute blitz orchestrated by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ruud van Nistelrooy equalised and Juan Sebastian Veron struck to seal the victory.

David Beckham added gloss to the win with a low drive three minutes from time to round off another incredible United comeback.

1994 Premier League - Liverpool 3-3 Manchester United

One of the game's great rivalries has produced many thrilling clashes over the years, but in recent times few can compare to Liverpool's stirring comeback against their arch rivals at Anfield in January 1994.

Alex Ferguson's side - arguably one of the greatest United line-ups of all time - were at the height of their powers and they proved as much by racing into a three-goal lead after just 24 minutes.

Captain Steve Bruce - who had lifted the Premier League trophy for the first time the previous season - got the champions underway with a header from Eric Cantona's precision ball in.

A youthful Ryan Giggs beautifully chipped Bruce Grobbelaar to make it two before Denis Irwin hammered in a trademark free-kick for a third. Game over? Not a chance.

Nigel Clough, who never quite managed to match his feats on this night during his spell with Liverpool, started the hosts' revival just a minute later with a long-range daisy-cutter that flew past Peter Schmeichel and into the bottom corner. Clough then notched a second before the first half was out, this time from closer range, to draw Liverpool closer to claiming an improbable point.

As the noise level inside Anfield was cranked up, United's resistance was finally broken with 11 minutes remaining, Neil Ruddock thumping home a header from Stig Inge Bjornebye's cross to complete an incredible comeback and give Liverpool, who were otherwise starved of success during the 1990s, something to shout about.

2010 Championship – Leeds United 4-6 Preston

A stunner from just last September: Jon Parkin struck a hat-trick as Preston produced an astonishing comeback to beat Leeds 6-4 in a pulsating 10-goal encounter at Elland Road.

In a game that had everything, North End recovered from 4-1 behind after 39 minutes to snatch a barely believable away success.

Parkin had given Preston an early lead, tapping into an empty net after Keith Treacy's effort had been parried into his path.

But the hosts responded brilliantly with Davide Somma's double - the first a deflected effort and the second an unstoppable drive - adding to a header from Luciano Becchio and close-range finish from Alex Bruce.

Anyone in attendance at Elland Road who thought the game was over was to be proven badly wrong, though, as North End produced a remarkable riposte.

Parkin, who was applauded by the home support when he was substituted late on, was the star, netting either side of goals from Treacy - straight from a corner - and Callum Davidson - a penalty - before Iain Hume added a sixth with a looping header.

1984 First Division - QPR 5-5 Newcastle

Proof that Newcastle were capable of kamikaze football long before Kevin Keegan became manager.

Sitting in the Toon dug-out for this thriller was none other than Jack Charlton, who went on to make the Republic of Ireland the most dourly effective side in international football.

Not on this day though. Newcastle blazed into a 4-0 half-time lead through Malcolm McDonald and a 24-minute hat-trick from an inspired Chris Waddle.

With a half-time rollicking from Alan Mullery still ringing in their ears, QPR pulled goals back through Gary Bannister and Simon Stainrod, before future Hoops manager John Gregory made it 4-3.

Kenny Wharton appeared to make it safe for Newcastle with a close range finish six minutes from time.

But Steve Wicks headed QPR back in contention before Gary Micklewhite scrambled a stoppage-time equaliser. Charlton's verdict: "A total embarrassment, absolutely diabolical."

2005 Serie A - Internazionale 3-2 Sampdoria

A late, great comeback from two goals down saw Internazionale score three times in six minutes to warm the hearts of those left in the Giuseppe Meazza on a cold January day in Milan.

After Max Tonetto had opened the scoring for Samp, the hosts pressed hard for an equaliser but were frustrated by an inspired performance in between the sticks by Francesco Antoniolli.

And when Vitali Kutuzov pounced in the 83rd minute, the game seemed over - certainly some Inter fans thought so and began to pack up their flags and leave.

Those tifosi were to regret their lack of faith though as Obafemi Martins got the comeback underway on 88 minutes with a lovely finish via the outside of his boot.

Inter then had a huge handball shout turned down before Christian Vieri popped up in the second minute of time added on to send those left in the stadium wild and seemingly salvage a point for Roberto Mancini's side.

But they were not finished there and Alvaro Recoba fired home from outside the box on 94 minutes to snatch all three points in the most unlikely of circumstances.

1976 Bundesliga - Bochum 5-6 Bayern Munich

Quite simply one of the greatest comebacks of all time. Bayern suffered a nightmare start to the league game at the Ruhrstadion, finding themselves 3-0 down before half-time.

That soon became four as the hosts netted another after the break, and that should have been that.

But Bochum were not counting on Bayern's not-so-secret weapons - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Gerd Muller, two of the finest players to grace the planet.

The pair combined not only to wipe out the deficit, but even take a 5-4 lead - all in a mere 20 minutes.

Bochum equalised with 10 minutes remaining but Bayern were not to be denied and they snatched a late winner through Uli Hoeness as time ran out.

1989 UEFA Cup - Antwerp 4-3 Levski Sofia

This might be the most innocuous game on our list, but comebacks do not get more dramatic than this UEFA Cup second-round clash from 1989.

The Bulgarian champions were cruising at 3-1 up as the match entered injury time, but that was before a recovery which would make most Hollywood directors cringe with scepticism.

Those who remained in the 10,000-seater Bosuilstadion in Antwerp were rewarded for their perseverance tenfold as former Tottenham striker Nico Claesen grabbed what looked to be a 91st-minute consolation strike before swiftly doubling his tally with an incredible equaliser in the 94th minute.

Just as the final whistle was about to sound, up stepped new signing Raphael Quaranta to clinch a 97th-minute winner - and complete a most staggering comeback.

1998 Ligue 1 - Marseille 5-4 Montpellier

It was the third game of the French season and Marseille, coached by Rolland Courbis, had splashed the cash on Robert Pires, Florian Maurice and Christophe Dugarry.

However, Montpellier's Ibrahima Bakayoko, who flopped at Everton the season after, opened the scoring on 15 minutes, poking the ball past Stephane Porato as Marseille's defence failed to deal with the pace of Montpellier's forwards.

Laurent Robert made it 2-0 four minutes later, racing clear of the one-paced Laurent Blanc to latch on to a long ball and slide it into the bottom right.

It only took four more minutes for the visitors to be 3-0 up, soon-to-be Hibernian midfielder Franck Sauzee's free-kick from wide drifting past the hapless, ball-watching Porato into the bottom right.

On 34 minutes, it was 4-0 thanks to Bakayoko's powerful finish after he beat Marseille's offside trap to sprint away from a surprisingly wooden William Gallas.

They game-turning moment was the introduction of mercurial forward Dugarry early in the second half. Just after the hour mark, Blanc pumped a hopeful long ball down the right which Dugarry controlled and crossed perfectly on to the head of Maurice, who powered it into the bottom left. 4-1.

Three minutes later, Dugarry halved the deficit with a header of his own, from a Pires free-kick wide right, and on 71 minutes the France star scored another header after Bruno Martini was stranded in no-man's land at a corner.

The game was level with six minutes left when veteran midfielder Eric Roy smashed the ball past Martini after a wonderful knock-down from Fabrizio Ravanelli.

There was a sense of inevitability about Marseille's winner, deep in injury-time, after Pires was crudely brought down in the box by Sauzee.

Blanc stepped up and rounded-off a freak match regarded by many in France as the best comeback in history.

1993 U17 World Cup - Portugal 5-5 Cameroon

FIFA age group competitions normally slip under the radar but not this one from Tampere in Finland.

Portugal only needed a point to qualify for the quarter-finals and that looked a formality after a classic Portuguese exhibition of fluid passing and quick movement saw them take a 4-0 lead at half-time.

Manuel Curto had scored a hat-trick after Vieira de Freitas had done what Pele almost did in Guadalajara and what David Beckham achieved at Selhurst Park by arrowing a shot from inside his own half over the keeper's head and into the back of the net.

It became 5-0 after 52 minutes and that was still the scoreline with 20 minutes remaining.

Then the Lion Cubs launched an astonishing comeback with three goals in six minutes before Joel Nguemo made it 4-5 with two minutes left.

In stoppage time Etoundi Mbia volleyed the equaliser before in the dying embers of the game, with Cameroon needing one more to qualify at the expense of their opponents, they rattled the bar.

The crestfallen Africans threw themselves to the ground at the final whistle only for the Portuguese to help them up.

Copyright: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com
 
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