It can be confidently said that due to Premier league, we witness some of the hottest events in football. Not only do we get to watch our favorite titan’s clash, but we are also guaranteed a healthy blend of sensation and drama. The excitement increases many folds particularly when an underdog presents a tough time to a frontrunner, add to that the scenario when they actually recover from the abyss of a hopeless deficit and we have a jaw dropping moment in sports history on our hands. In today’s post, I shall cover some of those wildest moments of underdog comebacks in the Premier League from 3 goal deficits and especially when they occurred on a special occasion/event.
3. Liverpool were heading towards the Premier League title (2013/2014)
After playing a long season of 37 matches and securing 81 points, Liverpool managed to maintain the top spot in the PL and had the title within their grasp after a prolonged drought of 24 years. Manchester City were closely on their tails with 80 points and had 2 home games to play against Villa and West Ham. While, the Reds had their last match-up Palace in 11th and with players like Suarez, Gerrard and sterling on the red’s side it was an almost guaranteed victory.
The game kicked off with an expected win for the reds and keeping up with the anticipation, they demonstrated their superiority early in the match. Within 20 minutes of kick off Joe Allen placed himself at the far post to welcome the corner by Gerrard. The accurate trajectory of the ball and brilliantly deflected header by Allen brought the reds an early lead and the midfielder scored his first Premier League goal simultaneously (1-0).
The reds defense seemed sufficiently solid, which was apparent by the failed attempts of Eagles to penetrate, they eventually started attempting long range shots at the goal. A quick solo attack by Sturridge with a beautifully struck low shot snuck past the keeper to find its place in the lower corner of the goal in 53rd minute (2-0). Soon enough the reds cooked up another brilliant move and Suarez delivered the clip shot to secure a handsome lead for the team.
Liverpool 3 - 0 Palace
The unexpected blow of the comeback:
Celebrations in the air, as the reds and their fans were within inches of getting their hands on the title, the eagles were being mercilessly butchered. The game entered the 80th minute of play and the victory songs from the Red's fans could be heard. Little did they know the Eagles were about to embark on a wild hunt that would leave Liverpool as their biggest prey of the season! Delaney attempted another long-range shot at the goal, which this time perfectly found the top left corner of the goal (3-1).
There were no huge celebrations however the message was delivered that they had found a hole in the defense. The clock was ticking and so was the heartbeat of Eagles fans as they didn’t want their team to end the season with a defeat. Within 2 minutes, eagles were back with an incredible attack where gallops squared a quicker towards Gayle who instantly placed it in the back of the net (3-2).
A ray of hope was shining upon the eagles as they were flying high in the air with a potential comeback and a wave of terror passed along the lines of the reds as they started to realize Palace were a real threat to ending their title dreams. The lead of the reds was finally turned to dust by Gyle again when in the 89th minute he amazingly scored a close-range goal.
Liverpool 3 – 3 Palace
It was shocking as well as emotional for the whole team especially Suarez took it to heart and could not hold his tears back. An unexpected comeback by the underdog crushed the long-awaited dream of the top club within 10 minutes. Suddenly the iconic ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ song usually heard from the kop couldn’t have been more the opposite, Anfield fell silent, as if the stadium was a lonely empty place, with shock and anguish written all over the fans faces.
2. Tottenham Spurs intended to celebrate 125th anniversary of the club:
Spurs were experiencing a miserable season (2007/2008) where the club was sinking down into the lower depths of the table (18), reaching the brink of a possible relegation. It was logical for them to recall their brilliant ex-coach Bill Nicholson and revive the memories of the marvelous achievements of their predecessors for motivation. The Club’s 125th anniversary approached the day when they had a game with Aston Villa, a team 14 places higher than them (at that time). Spurs craved to celebrate the special night and pay tribute to their legend through an exceptional performance however, their opponents were determined to show no mercy.
Spurs drew the first blood in the 20th minute through a perfectly inclined header by the most expensive player of the club ‘Berbatov’ making the score (0-1). However, the lead was quickly overturned by the lion’s midfielder Laurson within the next 2 minutes of the game after taking advantage of the Spur’s keeper error (1-1). Soon enough, the dangerman - Laurson was sniffing for a second and got his reward (2-1). He was followed up by the Lion’s striker Agbonlahor with a somewhat lucky cross that went in off the post leaving a half time score of 3-1.
The beginning of the second half did not bring any luck for Spurs. Shortly after kick off the defender committed a foul and a free kick was given to the Lions just outside the 6-yards box. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Gardner made a ground shot that passed underneath the flat back and found the corner of the goal.
Villa 4 - 1 Spurs
A shout out from the heavens:
Aston Villa fans were heard going wild all over the stadium, the Spur’s manager Martin was clearly shocked and embarrassed. Then almost as if Nicholson’s soul could be heard crying from the heavens ‘It is my day and fate is on the side of the mighty Spurs” spurs kicked into gear. Tottenham charged at the Villa back four and the first strike was deflected into the goal from Chimbonda in the 70th minute (4-2). Tottenham raced back for kick off as the clock was ticking down fast.
Another ray of hope came for the Spurs when the referee found the lions defender riding Darren bent while he was attempting a shot in the penalty area. Spurs were afforded a penalty kick, which was drilled in by Robbie Keane in the 82nd minute (4-3).
The fans went insane with excitement, everybody was witnessing a potential comeback of epic proportions, there was still much to accomplish and after a series of headers in the 90th minute of the match, Kaboul launched an unstoppable volley and the Spurs fans went absolutely bananas all around the ground – the comeback was complete!
Villa 4 – 4 Spurs
The feeling of this comeback leading to draw was so unbelievable that later they even launched a video game in commemoration of the event.
- A perfect farewell to the comeback king in his last game:
When we talk about ‘the comeback king’ there’s only one name that springs to mind and that’s none other than the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson and ‘Manchester United’. Sir Alex was saying farewell to his managerial career at the age of 71 and after an epic service of 1500 games for the club that had brought huge success. This special last football occasion was scheduled to be with West Brom (2012/2013), which was expected to be a stress-free victory for the red devils.
Within 10 minutes of the first half, the devils had already achieved an early lead of 2-0 owing to the perfect header by Kagawa followed by a cross by Valencia, which was intercepted by Brom’s own defender Olsson to result in a disappointing own goal. To place another nail in the Brom’s coffin, the devil’s left back Buttner shot a down-the-ground cross to find the empty right corner of the net and the devil’s lead stretched to 3 goals.
United 3 - 0 West Brom
Lukaku and Morrisson were tempted to retaliate and their astonishing efforts diminished the insane lead of the devils by 2 goals. The devils felt that the score wasn’t enough and responded back to teach Baggies a lesson. As a result of Van Persie’s slider to deflect the incoming cross the devils again established a two goal lead with Van Persie near to clinching the Golden Boot. 10 minutes later Chicharito scored his 50th goal for Manchester United and once United had regained the amazing 3 goal lead.
United 5 - 2 West Brom
A huge level of satisfaction could be seen on Sir Alex’s face while he watched his team butchering the opponent in the way even Ferguson himself could only dream for his final game.
Sir Alex was presented a comeback but not by his own club:
That day, West Brom simply defied all probability showing the Red Devils that they were more than just a mid-table team. In the 80th minute of the match, Lukaku leading the charge, made a sole run towards the goal like a lion, took his time and rifled a shot so fast you would have missed it if you blinked (5-3). Everyone just kept looking and he was running back to celebrate his brilliant solo effort. Mulumbu followed in the footsteps of his senior and suddenly the devils lead was slipping away (5-4).
‘Take a breath’, said the Manchester players, ‘there is still 1 to go’.
Lukaku heard it standing at the rear end of the post, hooked the incoming ball and kabooommm…. Unbelievable…
United 5 – 5 West Brom
West Brom had clawed their way back from 3 goals down twice and made a history in the Premier league. Sir Alex for an instance gave into the emotions of dissatisfaction but soon recovered to head on to his farewell ceremony and there was no more hair dryer treatment for the club members anymore.
In continuation of the topic I would like to bid farewell for now, hope you enjoyed, stay tuned & don't forget to look out for the next episodes in the Tri-Sports Super Comeback Series by @Jodcarey and @talesfrmthecrypt. Also, we would love to hear about: