European comebacks

European comebacks

Prompted by Barcelona’s record-breaking comeback against Paris Saint-Germain earlier this season I’ve charted a selection of noteworthy two-leg turnarounds in European competitions. The graphs depict when goals were registered over the course of nine UEFA ties. Minutes played run top to bottom and the tally of goals goes left to right. When one team has more away goals than the other they are considered to have an extra half goal, marked by the letter a.

In the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961 Leixões of Portugal overcame Switzerland’s La Chaux-de-Fonds despite having trailed 6-1 until late in the first leg.

Queens Park Rangers led Partizan 6-2 after the first leg of their UEFA Cup tie in 1984 but the Belgrade side scored four in the second leg to progress on away goals.

In the third round of the 1985-86 UEFA Cup Real Madrid were four behind to Borussia Mönchengladbach after an hour. The first leg finished 5-1 and Real’s away goal proved crucial as they won the second leg 4-0.

Panathinaikos were 5-0 down to Budapest Honvéd after 62 minutes of their UEFA Cup third round first leg in 1987. The Greek side quickly grabbed two away goals and won the return fixture 5-1 to take the tie 7-6 on aggregate. This is the only time in UEFA’s main competitions that a team overturned a five-goal deficit to win on aggregate (although the gap was only three goals when the first leg ended).

The quarter-finals of the 2003-04 Champions League saw two impressive comebacks. Real Madrid led Monaco 4-1 in the first leg and 5-2 on aggregate in the second leg before three goals from the Monégasques levelled the aggregate score and put them through on away goals. Similarly Milan led Deportivo La Coruña 4-1 after their first leg but Depor won the second 4-0 to progress with a goal to spare.


Middlesbrough’s run to the 2006 UEFA Cup final saw them in need of four goals to avoid defeat in both their quarter-final and semi-final. In each of the remarkably similar second legs they managed it thanks to a late goal from Massimo Maccarone.


Finally, here’s Barcelona’s famous comeback over PSG.


See also: Great UEFA club competition two-legged comebacks on