Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Greatest Comeback Ever?

Many have hailed Barcelona's overhaul of a 4-0 first leg deficit against Paris St-Germain last night as the greatest comeback in Champions League history, but how does it compare to other amazing sporting comebacks? Here are a few other contenders:

Nick Faldo's final day Masters comeback against Greg Norman - 14th April 1996

Six shots clear of the field coming into the final round at the US Masters at Augusta, it looked like it would be a battle for second place behind two time major winner and world number one Greg Norman, but a fantastic five under par final round by Nick Faldo, coupled with a last day meltdown by Norman, saw the Englishman win the coveted green jacket by five shots.

Man Utd's late goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final - 26th May 1999

With Bayern leading 1-0 in injury time, UEFA president Lennart Johansson left his seat to make his way through the inside of the stadium to the pitch to make the presentation. He was amazed to see the scenes that greeted him when he emerged onto the pitch. “I can’t believe it” he is quoted as saying, “The winners are crying and the losers are dancing.” United had scored twice, through Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to leave the Germans heartbroken and secure a famous treble. 

The Miracle of Istanbul - 25th May 2005

Shock Champions League finalists Liverpool were in for a shock themselves as they found themselves 3-0 down against Milan at half time. Captain Steven Gerrard led the fightback though, getting a goal back, and further strikes by Vladimar Smicer and Xabi Alonso levelled the scores.  Jerzy Dudek then saved two penalties in the shoot-out to give the Reds their fifth European Champions cup win. 

The Miracle at Medinah - 30th September 2012

Trailing 10-6 after the fourballs and foursomes, surely the Europeans couldn’t come back from there. The US just needed 4 and a half points to win, with Europe needing 8 points to retain the trophy and 8 and a half to win it, but as the singles matches progressed the scoreboard was slowly turning from USA red to Europe blue. Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter cut the lead to 10-9, and Europe edged ahead 13-12. With the score 13-13 and the tension unbearable, Martin Kaymer claimed a point to mean that Europe couldn't lose, then Francesco Molinari claimed a half on the 18th against Tiger Woods to give his side an unlikely win.

Which is the greatest comeback? It's impossible to judge. At least none of these four involved dodgy penalties though...

You can read more about all of these comebacks in my book, Incredible Moments in Sport.