Top Five Champions League Comebacks


5. Chelsea v Napoli 2012

In February 2012 Andre Villas-Boas was under a huge amount of pressure as Chelsea boss. He took his team to take on a dangerous Napoli side away from home in the first leg of a last 16 tie and things got a whole lot worse for the Portuguese coach.

It looked like it could be a triumphant evening in Naples when Juan Mata put the Blues ahead within half an hour, it went downhill from there though as the deadly duo of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edison Cavani struck, the former twice to leave the Londoners’ hopes of a quarter-final place in tatters.

This was the final straw for owner Roman Abramovich as he ditched Villas-Boas and let his assistant Roberto Di Matteo take the reins. The Blues needed a massive turnaround in front of their own fans and it looked like they might just do it when Didier Drogba and then John Terry gave them a two goal lead. Gokhan Inler then pulled one back for the Italians to leave the tie in the balance before Frank Lampard struck a penalty to take the match into extra-time.

With both teams trying to avoid penalty kicks it was an unlikely goal scoring hero that emerged in the shape of Branislav Ivanovic who popped up in the 105th minute to win the match for Chelsea and set them on their way to lifting the trophy five games later.


4. Monaco v Real Madrid 2004

The Galacticos were brought down to earth with a bang when they tossed away a 4-2 lead from the first leg of their quarter-final with Monaco in 2004, eventually going out by the finest of margins.

It was one of the great Real teams with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Raul, Luis Figo, Ronaldo and David Beckham all in the starting line-up for the first match. It was goals from Zidane, Ronaldo and Figo along with Ivan Helguera that gave the Spaniards their 4-2 lead although the strikes from Sebastien Squillaci and Fernando Morientes for Monaco were to have a big say in the final outcome.

Unbelievably Morientes was on loan at Monaco from Madrid and they still let him play against them in the competition which was to be something they would seriously regret.

It looked like it would go to plan for the Spanish team when Raul put them ahead in the first half with a stunning goal. However, Ludovic Giuly levelled things up before Morientes again struck and Giuly got his second to give Monaco a 3-1 lead and the advantage on the away goals rule.

Madrid couldn’t get the all-important second goal and went crashing out, thanks largely to their own player.


3. Manchester United v Juventus 1999

It looked at one stage that the Serie A club was pulling off the perfect semi-final performance and looked well on the way to yet another Champions League final. The first leg had finished 1-1 at Old Trafford as only a last minute Ryan Giggs goal rescued the tie for the home side.

The Italians would still have been happy with this result though and they were even more delighted when they were 2-0 up in Turin in the return fixture. It took Pippo Inzaghi just 11 minutes to give the Italians a two-goal cushion and everything looked very rosy for them indeed.

United were not to give up though, and led by an inspirational Roy Keane who had picked up a booking ruling him out of a potential final, they went on to win the match. Keane himself headed in United’s first before Dwight Yorke levelled the contest. It was a nervy second half for both teams but Andy Cole popped up with five minutes to go and secured the tie for the visitors. United were in the final and we all know what happened there.


2. Liverpool v Milan 2005

Arguably the greatest European final of all time as Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool proved once and for all that no match is ever over until that most famous of fat ladies has sung.

Taking on an AC Milan side that included the likes of Cafu, Jaap Stam, Paulo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo, Kaka, Andriy Shevchenko and Hernan Crespo was daunting enough from the start for the English underdogs but to be  3-0 down at half-time, they must have thought their chances were over.

An early goal from Maldini and then two from Crespo had left Liverpool’s hopes in complete tatters and it seemed they were only playing for shreds of pride from there on in.

However, they came out with nothing to lose and incredibly, within 15 minutes of the match restarting after the break the Merseysiders were level. Goals from Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso had somehow turned it around. Heroic goal keeping from Jerzy Dudek also helped along the way and they managed to take it to penalties. Luckily Milan were in generous mood as they put in a pretty woeful display of spot-kick taking and Dudek again could be the hero as he clawed out Shevchenko’s pitiful effort to win the contest for his team.

It is unlikely that we will ever see a comeback of this nature in the final of the competition ever again.


1. Deportivo La Coruna v Milan 2004

Milan do have a great European pedigree but they also have something of a reputation for throwing away incredibly advantageous positions and they managed it quite spectacularly against Deportivo La Coruna back in 2004.

It was the quarter-final stage and they looked to have recovered from a shocking start by coming from behind to win 4-1 in the first leg at the San Siro. Two goals from Kaka and one each from Andriy Shevchenko and Andrea Pirlo looked to have given them a lead that they could not throw away even in the cauldron of the Riazor.

Deportivo did not agree though and they went at Milan like they had nothing to lose on their home patch and it worked a treat. Walter Pandiani got the ball rolling after just five minutes and when Albert Luque hit their third goal before half-time the Spaniards were already going through on the away goals rule.

They rubbed salt into the Milan wounds when Fran made it 4-0 with 15 minutes to go and Deportivo went through 5-4 on aggregate having produced one of the greatest comebacks in European football history against one of the great Milan sides.

Daily Betting Offers
Open Account Offer

Up to £100 in Bet Credits for New Customers at bet365 Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. 18+, Time limits and T&Cs apply.

Bet £10 on the 12:10 Cheltenham and get 6x £5 Free Bets to use on the remaining races

New UK and IRE customers only. Min bet £/€10 or £/€10 e/w on 12:10 Cheltenham 14.12.18 . Free Bets paid within 1 hr of race settling to be used on remaining Cheltenham races 14.12.18. T&Cs apply 18+

Manchester City, Tottenham and Real Madrid All to Win 50/1

18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Min deposit £5. Paypal & some deposit types excl. Winning bets paid in cash at normal price. Enhanced odds paid in £5 free bets within 24 hours, valid for 4 days, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply

7/1 Liverpool v 40/1 Manchester United

New customers only. £10 min dep using promo code "888ODDS" req. Qual bet must be placed at normal odds Min/max bet £5, m Extra winnings paid in FREE BETS within 72 hrs of qual bet settlement and expire 7 days after credit. T&Cs apply

Darts Offer - Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets

18+. New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain dep types and bet types excl. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.

Betting Menu
Search Our Website
Topical Feature Lists

If you fancy a break from the serious side of betting, take a look at our Topical Feature List for a bit of a giggle.

Click Here To View The List »
Download Our App
Free Bets IPhone App
Get the Freebets App on iTunes

Download the free bets finder.

Betting Blog

View our latest sports articles in our betting blog

Read Our Blog »
Back to Top