Top five European comebacks

Sports Mole looks at five of the best comebacks in European football history.

With the second matchday of both the Champions League and Europa League having taken place this week there was yet more drama, excitement and some late goals to boot. Lazio were a beaten side at 3-1 down before they snatched a draw away to Trabzonspor and Atletico Madrid came from behind to win at Porto.

It got Sports Mole thinking about some of the comebacks that have been managed in European football. Here, we round up five of the best.

1. Fulham 4-1 Juventus (5-4 on aggregate)

There were several World Cup winners in the Juventus side that Fulham had to beat by three goals if the Europa League run was to continue. The Whites were 3-1 down after the opening leg and then suffered a further blow by conceding to David Trezeguet's early strike. Now Fulham needed three goals just to force extra time, or four to win it.

What followed was arguably the greatest night that Craven Cottage ever witnessed. Bobby Zamora brushed off Fabio Cannavaro for a quick response, before a second from Zoltan Gera and a penalty levelled matters. Just as it was heading into a deciding 30 minutes, Clint Dempsey scored with an outrageous chip to send Fulham into the quarter-finals.

2. Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Espanyol (3-3 on aggregate, 3-2 on penalties), 1988

It has not been all that long since European finals were two-legged affairs. While not much beats the thrill of a one-off final at a neutral venue, a seemingly impossible comeback from 3-0 down after the first leg pushes them close. This is exactly what Bayer Leverkusen managed to beat Espanyol in the 1988 UEFA Cup final.

Espanyol had completely outplayed their German opponents in the first leg and at 0-0 at half time it was so far, so good. However, back came Leverkusen with three second-half goals and took the game to penalties. Despite Ralf Falkenmayer missing his, the comeback was complete with a 3-2 shootout win.

3. Middlesbrough 4-2 Steaua Bucuresti (4-3 on aggregate), 2006

Just as Fulham managed a few years later, Middlesbrough set the benchmark for unlikely Premier League UEFA Cup finalists. This time, however, it was the semi-final performance that was so admirable. Boro were 1-0 down after the first leg in Romania, and might well have fancied their chances.

However, Steaua scored twice through Nicolae Dica and Dorin Goian to go 3-0 up on aggregate, which surely meant that there was no way back for the North-East side. Cue Massimo Maccarone. The Italian got one back before Mark Viduka notched a second. With the wind in their sails Chris Riggott and a late winner from Maccarone sent Boro into the final after the unlikeliest of turnarounds.

4. Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (3-2 on penalties), 2005

If there was ever a time for arguably the best 45 minutes in your club's history, it would be when you are 3-0 down at half time in the Champions League final. That is the position Liverpool found themselves in in May 2005, after Hernan Crespo and Kaka had inspired Milan to what looked to be a winning margin.

Steven Gerrard had other ideas, as he got the first back before his efforts were matched by Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso to pull the scores level and take the game to penalties. There was time for one more hero, with Jerzy Dudek saving two spot kicks as Liverpool lifted the Champions League.

5. Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich, 1999

With the Premier League and FA Cup already in the bag, Manchester United took on the might of Bayern Munich in the hope of a historic treble. Bayern went ahead at the start of the game through Mario Basler's effort from range and were determined to hang on to it.

As injury time arrived, surely the worst that could happen for Bayern now was extra time? To believe that was to write of the determination of this United side. First Teddy Sheringham turned in a David Beckham pass before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ensured hero status with a prodded effort to completely change the destination of the great trophy.

Juan Sebastian Veron attempts to keep possession from  Dietmar Hamann and John Arne Riise during the 2003 League Cup final.
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