Great UEFA Champions League comebacks

Inspired by the New England Patriots's stunning Super Bowl victory on Sunday, UEFA.com delved into the record books to unearth six of the greatest UEFA Champions League comebacks.

Beşiktaş celebrate with their fans after a memorable comeback against Benfica
Beşiktaş celebrate with their fans after a memorable comeback against Benfica ©AFP/Getty Images

The New England Patriots' against-all-odds recovery to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI got UEFA.com thinking: what are the greatest comebacks in UEFA Champions League history?

2005: AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (Liverpool win 3-2 on pens)
The most famous of them all, the 'miracle of Istanbul'. Trailing 3-0 at the break, Rafael Benítez's side stormed back in the second half with three goals in seven minutes to set up a dramatic shoot-out triumph. Andriy Shevchenko, author of the winning spot kick in the 2003 final against Juventus, was this time denied by Jerzy Dudek to give Liverpool a remarkable victory.

The miracle of Istanbul
The miracle of Istanbul

1993: Werder Bremen 5-3 Anderlecht
For the second straight group match Otto Rehhagel's charges found themselves 3-0 down, but if their fightback had come up short a fortnight earlier in a 3-2 loss to Porto, there was no stopping them this time. Incredibly they did not score until the 66th minute, through Wynton Rufer, yet when the New Zealander netted again 23 minutes later it was to complete a brilliant fightback.

Deportivo’s record comeback
Deportivo’s record comeback

2001: Deportivo La Coruña 4-3 Paris Saint-Germain
"For the first five or six minutes of half-time I just let the players sit in silence," recalled Javier Irureta after his team traipsed in trailing 2-0. The Deportivo coach's medicine didn't work immediately – Laurent Leroy soon made it three – but the players eventually got the message. A furious spell of attacking football brought four goals in 27 minutes, including a hat-trick of headers by substitute Walter Pandiani.

2005: Porto 2-3 MFK Petržalka
The hosts, UEFA Champions League winners 16 months before, were approaching half-time on cruise control but Peter Petráš's strike gave the Slovak visitors (then known as Artmedia Bratislava) hope. Coach Vladimír Weiss seized his chance, throwing on another striker. "I told the players it's better to lose 5-2 than not try to change something," he reasoned. Goals from Ján Kozák and Balázs Borbély were his reward.

2014: Arsenal 3-3 Anderlecht
Even the Belgian side were left struggling to come up with an explanation after they staged the most unlikely of comebacks in north London. The writing appeared to be on the wall when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened up a 3-0 lead just before the hour, yet two Anthony Vanden Borre strikes and a last-minute equaliser by Aleksandar Mitrović earned the Brussels club a point.

2016: Beşiktaş 3-3 Benfica
The Portuguese team were 3-0 up and coasting with almost an hour gone in this group fixture. Then came the Beşiktaş response, started by half-time substitute Cenk Tosun. Benfica still seemed to have done enough as the game entered its final ten minutes. However, Ricardo Quaresma pulled another one back from the spot and, with 60 seconds of normal time remaining, Porto loanee Vincent Aboubakar dramatically levelled.

Watch some of the greatest comebacks in UEFA Champions League history
Watch some of the greatest comebacks in UEFA Champions League history
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