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Revisiting the greatest knockout round Champions League comebacks

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Manchester United and Juventus are staring down the barrel of Round of 16 exits in the Champions League following their 2-0 defeats in the first leg. United look like a team reborn under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the damaging first leg home defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain – the only blemish on his ‘flawless start’. Juventus made a statement in the summer when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo for a record fee. The Turin giants hoped that the Portuguese’s stellar European record would help them over that final hurdle in Europe, unlike 2015 and 2017. That now seems like a massive undertaking against the formidable backline of Atlético Madrid.

Wagering markets across the globe think that the chances for both sides are slim. However, the old cliché ‘It ain’t over till it’s over’ is truer nowhere more than in Europe’s premier club competition, as has been the case with these thrilling second-leg comebacks over the years. We suggest that you keep an eye on Champions League Odds by BetEasy to stay updated with the latest predictions and see if the changes will shift for both teams over the season.

Juventus 2-3 Manchester United | First leg: Manchester United 1-1 Juventus | United won 4-3 on aggregate

Solskjær needs to look no further for inspiration than Sir Alex Ferguson’s treble winners of 1999. It was advantage Juventus following the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. And with 10 minutes gone at the Stadio Delle Alpi, Pippo Inzaghi had struck twice to make things even worse. With nothing to lose at that point, United produced a trademark comeback, with goals from Roy Keane, Dwight Yorke and an 85th-minute winner from Andy Cole completing a stunning turnaround.

They went on to display that remarkable resolve and fighting spirit in the final as well, clinching it at the death against Bayern Munich. With the scorer of the most dramatic of winners now at the helm, write off the Red Devils at your peril.

Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid | First Leg: Real Madrid 4-2 Monaco | Aggregate 5-5; Monaco progressed on away goals 

Los Blancos were in for a rude shock when they arrived at the principality with a comfortable 4-2 first leg lead. Kings of the competition they may have been, but unfancied Monaco cared neither for their history nor for their expensively assembled ‘Galacticos’ as they put them to the sword in a remarkable performance.

champions monaco real madrid
via DailyEntertainment.com

Ironically, it was one of Real’s castoffs in loanee Fernando Morientes who sunk their ship, scoring both home and away as Didier Deschamps’s side went through on away goals with the aggregate score at 5-5. They went on to lose that year’s final to Jose Mourinho’s Porto.

Deportivo 4-0 Milan | Milan 4-1 Deportivo La Coruña | Deportivo won 5-4 on aggregate

Having knocked Juventus out in the previous round, Deportivo La Coruña faced a much bigger test on their return to Italy. Defending champions Milan showed exactly why, sauntering to a stylish 4-1 win at the San Siro.

With virtually no chance of survival, Depor shook the footballing world, blowing Milan away with 3 goals in the first half at the Riazor. Already through on away goals, Fran added a fourth for good measure to complete 7-times champions’ misery.

Chelsea 4-1 Napoli | First Leg: Napoli 3-1 Chelsea | Chelsea won 5-4 on aggregate

The tie seemed to be done and dusted after goals from Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi at the Stadio San Paolo put Napoli in the driving seat. Two weeks later and the mood at Stamford Bridge could not have been more different, with the introduction of Roberto di Matteo after André Villas-Boas was sacked following the first leg.

A complete reversal of the first leg score saw the tie go into extra time, where Branislav Ivanović, so often a scorer of clutch goals, came up trumps once again. Chelsea continued to defy the odds, beating Barcelona and Bayern on their way to a maiden Champions League title.

Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain | First Leg – PSG 4-0 Barcelona | Barcelona won 6-5 on aggregate

The greatest Champions League comeback – at least in terms of the numbers. Luis Enrique’s side were demolished at the Parc des Princes, leaving them with the task of overturning a 4-goal deficit, something never done before in the competition’s history (and has not been done since).

With Camp Nou roaring them on, the home side managed to halve the damage in the first 45. Messi converted from the spot minutes into the second period, but Edinson Cavani’s goal on the hour was a sucker punch to their hopes.

champions barca
via CNN International

In an epic implosion, PSG pressed the self-destruct button in the last 10 minutes. Neymar curled in a free-kick, converted from the spot and then provided the assist for Sergi Roberto’s 95th-minute winner to plunge the stadium into bedlam. The unlikeliest of turnarounds had been completed.


Feature Image via Sky Sports

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