The goal-fest between Manchester United and Roma in the 2020/21 semi-finals makes our ten-strong list alongside famous wins for Liverpool, Sevilla and Ajax.
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From a ten-goal thriller in the inaugural season to Eintracht Frankfurt's stunning win in Barcelona over 12 years later, the UEFA Europa League has produced some truly unforgettable knockout ties down the years. UEFA.com selects ten of the best.
A 1-1 first-leg draw at Mestalla offered little indication of things to come as this last-16 tie concluded in Germany. Valencia's David Villa was the star of the show, breaking the deadlock after three minutes and going on to claim a hat-trick. But Werder would not lie down. Any time the Spanish side thought they were in the clear, Bremen would reappear like a horror movie villain.
"It was the craziest game I've ever played in," said Villa after his team had hung on for an away-goals victory following Claudio Pizarro's equaliser six minutes from time. "There were so many chances, there should have been even more goals. It was like playing when I was a kid at school."
Fulham were meant to throw in the towel after losing 3-1 in Turin in the opening instalment of this round of 16 tie. And when David Trezeguet put the Bianconeri ahead at Craven Cottage inside two minutes, Roy Hodgson's men definitely looked doomed. Bobby Zamora replied soon enough and Fabio Cannavaro was dismissed inside the half-hour, yet Fulham still needed two more goals merely to force extra time.
Zoltán Gera got the first just before half-time and the second soon after, but the outright winner required something special. Clint Dempsey duly provided it with a sumptuous chip. "I was wondering whether to shoot or try to dink it towards the far post," said Dempsey. "So I just went with it. Nine times out of ten I don't think I'd have hit it as well."
Still riding the crest of a wave following their 10-3 aggregate triumph over Spartak Moskva in the quarter-finals, Porto all but secured a place in the Dublin showpiece with a 5-1 first-leg win at home to Villarreal. Though the Yellow Submarine led at the break in Portugal, they could scarcely have prepared for Radamel Falcao plundering four goals in a stunning second-half performance.
"My job is to score the goals which take the stress away from the team, to make matches easier," Falcao said after the semi-final second leg at El Madrigal, where late strikes from Joan Capdevila and Giuseppe Rossi restored some respectability to the scoreline. "I just need to keep doing that." He did – with the only goal of the final.
Sevilla lifted the trophy for the third time in 2014 but it is easy to forget how close they came to elimination. Four minutes into added time in the semi-final return leg it was Valencia who were set to line up against Benfica in Turin after an incredible fightback. Stéphane Mbia had other ideas, though, planting a firm header from a flick-on to send the visitors through. "There aren't words to explain tonight," said Ivan Rakitić, summing it up nicely.
That it came to this was no surprise – both teams had history for drama. Sevilla needed penalties to oust city-rivals Real Betis in the round of 16 while Valencia had overturned a 3-0 first-leg defeat by Basel in the last eight. Sevilla's subsequent 2-0 home success was therefore no guarantee and so it proved as the advantage was erased inside 26 minutes. Jérémy Mathieu's second-half strike then looked to have settled it – until Mbia struck.
If a 1-1 draw back at his old club appeared a great first-leg result for Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, his side were 2-0 down after ten minutes at Anfield – and conceded again after Divock Origi had reduced the deficit. Salvation, though, was at hand: Philippe Coutinho and Mamadou Sakho made it 3-3 on the night, before Dejan Lovren headed the stoppage-time clincher.
"The coach said we had to create a moment to tell our grandchildren and make a special night for the fans," said Origi, recalling Klopp's half-time team talk. "In football, as in life, that is the moment where you have to show character," said Klopp of going 3-1 down. "That's what the lads did. It was pretty cool to watch."
The Royal Blues knew they would likely need at least three goals in on home soil after Davy Klaassen's double in Amsterdam had put Ajax firmly in the driving seat. Two goals in the space of three second-half minutes from Leon Goretzka and Guido Burgstaller levelled the tie on aggregate, and Joël Veltman was sent off with ten minutes remaining to leave Ajax's backs firmly against the wall.
Daniel Caligiuri sent the Arena AufSchalke wild with the hosts' third in extra time, but Nick Viergever put the Dutch side ahead on away goals before Amin Younes struck the final blow in the last minute of the additional 30. "I can't fault my players – there's not much more I can say after a game like this," a deflated Markus Weinzierl told reporters at full-time.
Late strikes from Felipe Anderson and Ciro Immobile had given Lazio a two-goal cushion at the end of an absorbing first leg at the Stadio Olimpico, but the drama was far from over. Immobile scored again ten minutes into the second leg to extend the Serie A side's healthy lead, but Munas Dabbur's deflected strike gave Salzburg hope.
In an astonishing four-minute period after half-time, goals from Amadou Haidara and Hee-Chan Hwang put the Austrian side ahead on away goals before Stefan Lainer nodded in the aggregate winner. Those three efforts came in the space of just 247 seconds – the quickest three goals in the history of the competition.
The highest-scoring two-legged tie in the competition since Helsingborg overcame Heerenveen 8-6 in the first round of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup. Late first-leg efforts from Ryan Kent and Borna Barišić helped the Scottish champions-to-be come from behind in Belgium, but Antwerp refused to lie down and Steven Gerrard's team needed two more late goals in Glasgow to end their hopes of progression once and for all.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Gerrard was not best pleased with his team's defensive display over the two legs. "The performance was outstanding in a lot of areas," said the former Liverpool captain. "But, as a perfectionist, we will still have to look at areas we went wrong."
A Lorenzo Pellegrini penalty and a close-range Edin Džeko strike overturned Bruno Fernandes' early opener to give Roma a shock half-time lead at Old Trafford, but a scintillating second-half display by Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side left the Giallorossi's hopes of reaching the final hanging by the thinnest of threads.
Edinson Cavani's two away goals proved decisive in the Italian capital with efforts from Džeko, Bryan Cristante as well as an Alex Telles own goal not enough for Roma, who managed 12 shots on target at the Stadio Olimpico. Solskjær was full of praise for David de Gea afterwards, telling reporters: "It could easily have been 8-6 to them, but luckily we have one of the best goalkeepers in the world."
Ferran Torres' second-half equaliser at a raucous Frankfurt Stadion left the Blaugrana well placed to reach the final of the competition, but Oliver Glasner's team had other ideas. In a sensational first half at the Camp Nou, Filip Kostić's spot kick put the Bundesliga side ahead before a Rafael Borré piledriver sent the visiting Eintracht fans into dreamland.
Kostić's second of the game meant stoppage-time goals from Sergio Busquets and Memphis Depay proved too little, too late for Xavi Hernández's team, whose 15-game unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt end. "We haven't been good enough and we haven't competed," conceded the former Barca midfielder.
Hamburg 6-5 Anderlecht (3-1, 3-4; 2009/10 round of 16)
Manchester United 3-5 Athletic Club (2-3, 1-2; 2011/12 round of 16)
Sevilla 4-3 Zenit (2-1, 2-2; 2014/15 quarter-finals)
Fiorentina 3-4 Mönchengladbach (1-0, 2-4; 2016/17 round of 32)
Sevilla 5-6 Slavia Praha (2-2, 3-4; 2018/19 round of 16)
Tottenham 2-3 Dinamo Zagreb (2-0; 0-3, 2020/21 round of 16)
Dortmund 4-6 Rangers (2-4, 2-2; 2021/22 knockout round play-off)