Is all hope lost for AC Milan after their 2-0 semi-final first-leg defeat by Inter? UEFA.com takes a look back at the greatest second-leg comebacks in the history of the UEFA Champions League.
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AC Milan have it all to do after losing 2-0 to Inter in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie. What are the chances of the Rossoneri bouncing back in the return, when they will be the nominal 'away' team at San Siro?
On only five occasions in the history of the Champions League has the away team overturned a first-leg deficit. Two of these ties have been won on away goals, something which is no longer possible following the abolition of that rule for the 2021/22 campaign onwards.
Home teams in the second leg have, less surprisingly, mounted comebacks on far more occasions but only once from four goals adrift and three times with a three-goal deficit from the initial encounter. UEFA.com takes a look back at the best turnarounds in the knockout stages.
Champions League comebacks by away team in second leg
Before 2018/19, only six times in the annals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup had a team that lost the first leg at home come through a tie; indeed, after AC Milan did it to Saarbrücken in the opening round of the inaugural 1955/56 edition, the feat was not emulated for 13 years. The seventh such occurrence was Ajax winning 4-1 at Real Madrid on 5 March 2019 having lost 2-1 in Amsterdam; the eighth came the following night.
Manchester United's campaign seemed over after their first ever two-goal European home defeat. Even after two Romelu Lukaku goals in the return, Paris held the aggregate advantage until deep into added time when Presnel Kimpembe was adjudged to have handled in the box and Marcus Rashford converted the penalty. Ole Gunnar Solskjær, whose then role as caretaker coach was soon made permanent, said: "We always believed. We set out our plan, and it wasn't about keeping the ball. The plan was to get the first goal and be in the game in the last five or ten minutes – and we were."
Champions League comebacks by the home team in second leg, two goals or more
In 2016/17, Barcelona became the first team to fight back from four goals down to win a Champions League tie; this was only the fourth time it had been done in any UEFA club competition tie, a feat so special the match was given a name: La Remontada (The Comeback).
If Paris's demolition of Luis Enrique's men in France had been a shock, the Barça recovery was simply astonishing, Sergi Roberto striking deep in added time to decide the contest. "I told him: 'Get into the box! You're going to score!'" Neymar, who subsequently joined Paris, recalled. Sergi Roberto added: "I didn't know if I was dreaming. I have never known a noise like that."
Anfield has witnessed some fine European nights, but few can rival this sensational effort. Barcelona had one foot in the final after Lionel Messi's first-leg double – his second strike a brilliant free-kick to bring up his 600th Barça goal. He was about to be upstaged.
Liverpool sent out a depleted line-up in the return, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino missing, but Divock Origi's early goal gave them hope. The Belgian later rounded off a pulsating triumph after a Georginio Wijnaldum double. "The belief in the changing room is incredible," said captain Jordan Henderson. "We knew we could pull something off."
Edin Džeko struggled to communicate the magnitude of Roma's achievement after his sixth-minute finish sparked an extraordinary revival, 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 no way back after a 4-1 loss in Catalonia, but Džeko's goal and a Daniele De Rossi penalty set the scene for Kostas Manolas's 82nd-minute headed winner.
"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 outfit having been well beaten despite scoring first at San Siro.
Remarkably, though, his charges led on aggregate by half-time in the return, Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valerón and Albert 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.