Football is a game filled with epic battles.
From individual players and managers in the dugout to two giants meeting face to face in the biggest games around, football is never short of a storyline.
But even then, some games go well beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, and these VII are rightly held up as some of the most unbelievable, dramatic or historically significant in history.
VII – Hamburg 4-4 Juventus (13/09/2000)
Football loves a David and Goliath story.
Hamburger SV were no pushovers, but when Carlo Ancelotti’s Juventus travelled to the Volksparkstadion in September 2000, on paper there was only one clear winner.
The game started as many had expected, although right-back Igor Tudor was still an unlikely goalscorer for the Bianconeri as they took an early lead in their Champions League group stage match.
Anthony Yeboah briefly levelled the scoreline, but goals either side of half-time from Filippo Inzaghi put Juventus into a seemingly unreachable two-goal lead.
But then the unthinkable happened. Hamburg scored three goals within 17 second-half minutes – goalkeeper
VI – Man City 3-2 QPR (13/05/2012)
Even in this era, it’s difficult to remember when a Premier League title has been so closely decided.
For Manchester City, it was simple – win at home to Queens Park Rangers and the Premier League title would be theirs. Dropping points meant rivals United would have lifted the trophy instead.
It was nervy, but Pablo Zabaleta’s late first-half goal helped put fans at ease. That was, however, until Djibril Cissé scored an equaliser for the relegation-threatened visitors.
Even though Joey Barton was sent off, City didn’t have time to celebrate as Jamie Mackie completed the comeback for QPR with a header just moments later.
The clock had only just ticked into extra time when
V – Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (05/02/2011)
Sometimes, even when an epic battle ends in a stalemate, there are still winners and losers.
It was a tale of two halves at St James’ Park as Arsenal raced into a four-goal lead inside the opening 26 minutes against Newcastle United.
Even when Abou Diaby was sent off just after the break, there was little concern in the away end, and even less optimism among home supporters who had been storming out of St James’ Park in their droves.
Joey Barton’s goal on 68 minutes got little more than an ironic cheer from Newcastle fans, but Leon Best’s not long after really helped to galvanise everyone in the north-east.
The stage was very much set for Arsenal to implode. And that’s exactly what they did.
Barton scored his second penalty of the game with seven minutes left, then in the dying seconds of the match, the late
IV – Barcelona 6-1 PSG (08/03/2017)
In 2017, a four-goal deficit appeared to be
Luis Suárez’s early header wasn’t anything too major for Paris Saint-Germain to worry about. Even after Laywin Kurzawa turned the ball into his own net before half time, history would need to be made for the French side to throw their lead away.
Barcelona took another step closer through a Lionel Messi penalty, but it appeared to be all she wrote when Edinson Cavani fired the ball past
III – Man Utd 2-1 Bayern Munich (26/05/1999)
Every epic battle needs a hero. Someone who stands out above everyone else to swing things in his side’s favour.
For Manchester United, that hero was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Sometimes the immortality of a comeback is determined by how big the margin overturned was, but for United, it was the prize on offer which cemented their place in European football’s history books.
Things don’t get much better than scoring an early goal in a Champions League final. That fortune was bestowed on Bayern Munich in 1999, when Mario Basler’s free-kick found its way past Peter Schmeichel.
The Bundesliga champions had only conceded 28 goals that season, so it was no surprise when Bayern Munich help onto the one-goal lead by the time the assistant’s board was raised to signal the second half added time.
But it wasn’t to be. There was still time for one more chance.
The perfect end to a perfect season, for Manchester United’s treble winners.
II – Brazil 1-7 Germany (08/07/2014)
Not every epic battle is a close affair.
At the 2014 World Cup on home soil, Brazil were on the wrong end of one of the biggest scorelines in World Cup history.
Thomas Müller opened the scoring in the semi final after 11 minutes, and even though Joachim Löw’s didn’t score again until midway through the first half, Germany went on to score four goals in just six minutes to silence the
Oscar did help to save face somewhat with a late goal, but nothing could stop Brazil’s fairytale World Cup coming to an end in brutal heartache.
I – AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (25/05/2005)
When Liverpool went into the half-time break in I
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