Greatest UEFA Champions League comebacks

Manchester United achieved a UEFA Champions League first on Wednesday, becoming the first team in the competition’s history to win a knockout round tie following a two-goal first-leg defeat at home.

United had lost 2-0 at Old Trafford three weeks ago but pulled off a 3-1 win in Paris to reach the quarter-finals on away goals. It is not the first time the Ligue 1 side have been on the receiving end of a remarkable comeback – including the most sensational of all. 

Four-goal deficit

Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Barcelona
Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain

2016/17 round of 16

Watch Barcelona's historic comeback

In 2016/17, Barcelona became the first team to fight back from four goals down to win a UEFA Champions League tie – only the fourth time it’s been done in any UEFA club competition tie.

If Paris’s demolition of Luis Enrique’s men in France had been a shock, the Barça recovery was simply out of this world, Sergi Roberto striking in added time to decide the tie. “I told him: ‘Get into the box! You’re going to score!'” Neymar recalled. Sergi Roberto added: “I didn’t know if I was dreaming – I have never known a noise like that.”

Three-goal deficits

Barcelona 4-1 Roma
Roma 3-0 Barcelona
2017/18 quarter-finals

Highlights: Roma 3-0 Barcelona

Edin Džeko struggled to communicate the magnitude of Roma’s feat after his sixth-minute finish sparked this extraordinary revival of fortunes, saying: “You cannot imagine, I mean it was incredible, crazy – I don’t know how to describe it. We did it when definitely nobody believed in us.”

Certainly, there looked to be no way back after a 4-1 loss at Camp Nou, but Džeko’s goal and a Daniele De Rossi penalty set the scene for Kostas Manolas’s 82nd-minute headed winner.

AC Milan 4-1 Deportivo La Coruña
Deportivo La Coruña 4-0 AC Milan
2003/04 quarter-finals

Highlights: Deportivo come back from the dead

“Miracles often happen, things you might not rationally expect,” said Depor coach Javier Irureta, holding on to faint hope ahead of the return leg, the Spanish team having been well beaten despite scoring first at San Siro.

Astonishingly, his troops were ahead on aggregate by half-time in the return, Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valerón and Alberto Luque making it 3-0 – before substitute Fran González added a fourth. Having prayed for success, Irureta later honoured a promise by taking the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela.

Two-goal deficits

By away team in second leg …

United's miracle in Paris

Manchester United 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain 1-3 Manchester United (3-3, United through on away goals)
2018/19 round of 16

By home team in second leg …

Barcelona's dream return against Chelsea

Chelsea 3-1 Barcelona
Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (aet)
1999/2000 quarter-finals

Real Madrid 4-2 Monaco
Monaco 3-1 Real Madrid
2003/04 quarter-finals

Napoli 3-1 Chelsea
Chelsea 4-1 Napoli (aet)
2011/12 round of 16

AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona
Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan

2012/13 round of 16

Van Persie completes his treble against Olympiacos

Van Persie completes his treble against Olympiacos©Getty Images

Olympiacos 2-0 Manchester United
Manchester United 3-0 Olympiacos
2013/14 round of 16

Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Chelsea
Chelsea 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain
2013/14 quarter-finals

Porto 3-1 Bayern München
Bayern München 6-1 Porto
2014/15 quarter-finals

Wolfsburg 2-0 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 3-0 Wolfsburg
2015/16 quarter-finals

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