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Three great Champions League comebacks

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Barcelona’s players celebrate at the end of the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 2, 2019. (Photo by CURTO DE LA TORRE / AFP)

Borussia Dortmund must overturn a 3-0 first-leg defeat when they host Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday in their Champions League last 16, second leg.

Only three teams — Barcelona, Roma and Deportivo La Coruna — have managed to overturn a deficit of three goals or more in a knockout-phase tie in the Champions League era:

Barcelona stun PSG
Last 16, 2016/17

First leg: Paris Saint-Germain 4 (Di Maria 18, 55 Draxler 40, Cavani 72) Barcelona 0

Return leg: Barcelona 6 (Suarez 3, Kurzawa 40-og, Messi 50-pen, Neymar 88, 90+1-pen, Roberto 90+5) Paris Saint-Germain 1 (Cavani 62)

Barcelona won 6-5 on aggregate

Barcelona made history as the first team to come back from a four-goal first-leg deficit in the Champions League on a dramatic night at the Camp Nou when Neymar punished his future side PSG with two goals.

If PSG’s demolition of Luis Enrique’s Barcelona in Paris was a shock, the fightback was mind-blowing with the crucial last two goals coming in added time.

Sergi Roberto came off the bench to write himself into Spanish football folklore with Barcelona’s sixth goal in the fifth minute of added time.

“I didn’t know if I was dreaming –- I have never known a noise like that,” said a shell-shocked Roberto after the final whistle.

Barca’s luck runs out in Rome
Quarter-finals, 2017/18

First leg: Barcelona 4 (De Rossi 38-og, Manolas 55-og, Pique 59, Suarez 87) Roma 1 (Dzeko 80)

Return leg: Roma 3 (Dzeko 6, De Rossi 58-pen, Manolas 82) Barcelona 0

Roma won on away goals

Barcelona’s luck ran out in dramatic style 12 months after their PSG heroics with Edin Dzeko’s away goal at the Camp Nou proving crucial.

The Bosnia striker struggled to express his joy at Roma’s achievement after his sixth-minute goal in the return leg sparked an incredible turnaround by the Italians.

“We did it when definitely nobody believed in us,” said Dzeko.

There appeared to be no way back for Roma after they were routed in Barcelona.

However, after Dzeko’s early goal, a Daniele De Rossi penalty set the scene for Kostas Manolas’s 82nd-minute header to spark wild celebrations led by Roma president James Pallotta, who jumped into Rome’s Piazza del Popolo fountain.

Irureta’s miracle
Quarter-finals, 2003/04

First leg: AC Milan 4 (Kaka 45, 49, Shevchenko 46, Pirlo 53) Deportivo La Coruna 1 (Pandiani 11)

Return leg: Deportivo La Coruna 4 (Pandiani 5, Valeron 35, Luque 44, Fran 76) AC Milan 0

Deportivo won 5-4 on aggregate

After his side were trounced 4-1 at San Siro, Deportivo coach Javier Irureta admitted there was no rational reason to believe in a miracle.

However, his side roared out of the blocks in the return, holding a 3-0 lead at half-time thanks to goals Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque.

Substitute Fran Gonzalez added a fourth with 14 minutes to go and, having prayed for success, Irureta honoured his pre-match promise by taking the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela after Deportivo’s unlikely victory.


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