Liverpool in opposition to Milan, Barcelona in opposition to Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool in opposition to Barcelona, Tottenham in opposition to Ajax – the record may go on.
On the subject of comebacks, nobody does it fairly just like the UEFA Champions League.
Europe’s elite membership competitors has produced a few of the most spine-tingling, hair-raising and eyeball-popping moments in soccer historical past. And on 7 April 2004, Deportivo La Coruna used the well-known stage to provide their very own second of pure euphoria and disbelief in opposition to the Rossoneri.
By the mid-noughties, the Galicians had established themselves as a European power, having certified for the Champions League in 5 consecutive campaigns from 2000 to 2004. They received their first and solely La Liga title within the 1999/00 marketing campaign and completed runners up twice within the subsequent three seasons, additionally securing a Copa del Rey trophy in 2002.
Their finest efficiency in Europe was within the 2003/04 season after they reached the Champions League semi-final, courtesy of considered one of the nice European comebacks.
The quarter-final tie between Deportivo and Milan began as most thought it could. A usually majestic Kaka brace, a robust Andriy Shevchenko solo purpose and a trademark Andrea Pirlo free kick (all inside eight second-half minutes) emphatically overturned Walter Pandiani’s Eleventh-minute strike to offer the Italian giants a seemingly irreversible 4-1 first-leg win on the San Siro.
However the Spanish underdogs by no means misplaced religion, and solely got here again stronger for the second leg on the Estadio Riazor. Pandiani put them forward on 5 minutes, giving Dida no likelihood with a stunning swivel on the sting of the realm earlier than discovering the underside nook.
Juan Carlos Valeron then pulled one other purpose again on 35 minutes, profiting from unusually sloppy goalkeeping from Dida to move in from just a few yards out. And it was three earlier than the half-time whistle when Albert Luque stole in and rifled the ball into the roof of the web, to place his aspect forward on the combination scoreline with the away purpose.
With the semi-final now theirs to lose, the Galician aspect did not cease urgent and ultimately sealed the sensational comeback within the 73rd minute when substitute Fran put the ball into Dida’s internet on the half-volley to make it 4-0 and, in doing so, put Estadio Riazor into absolute pandemonium and utter shock.
The really astonishing comeback would e-book Deportivo’s place in Champions League historical past, in addition to the 2003/04 version of the competitors’s semi-finals. They’d ultimately lose the subsequent spherical 1-0 on mixture to Porto who, led by Jose Mourinho, went on to elevate the trophy.
Whereas Los Blanquiazules have failed to duplicate such magic since and have virtually vanished into mediocrity since their thrilling Champions League escapades, they are going to at all times be remembered for one of many best comebacks within the competitors.
And, whereas it could be a really, very great distance again as much as their earlier heights, Deportivo are able to rising from the ashes – stranger issues have occurred.