Intro – Manchester United Comebacks
Manchester United comebacks are nothing new. Manchester United are set to play the second leg of their Europa League, round of 16, tie vs AC Milan tomorrow. However, heading into the game they’re missing an important away goal. Once again, Manchester United face a mountain to climb in order to advance. As any United fan knows, these types of comebacks are in our DNA. Here’s a look at some of Manchester United’s most memorable two-legged cup tie comebacks.
UEFA European Champion Clubs’ Cup Quarter-Final vs. Athletic Club Bilbao (2/6/1957) – Maine Road
In United’s first European Cup campaign, the Busby Babes were handed a 3:5 first leg loss in a match played in heavy snow. The second leg was in Manchester, just not at Old Trafford. The match would be played at Manchester City’s Maine Road because Old Trafford did not yet have floodlights installed. Goals from Dennis Viollet, Tommy Taylor, and Johnny Berry led United’s comeback and 6:5 win on aggregate.
UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup First Round vs. Tottenham (12/10/1963) – Old Trafford
It was the first all-English tie in a UEFA competition. After losing 0:2 in the first leg, United would storm back in the second leg. After an early goal from David Herd, Spurs captain Dave Mackay was taken off on a stretcher with a broken leg. However, substitutes were not allowed at this point, so Tottenham played the rest of the match down a man. But after another goal from Herd after half time, Tottenham retook the overall lead with a goal from Jimmy Greaves. Two goals from Sir Bobby Charlton in the 77th and 88th minute would seal the 4:3 win on aggregate.
UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup Quarter-final vs. Barcelona (3/20/1984) – Old Trafford
After defeating the Red Devils 0:2 in the first leg, a Diego Maradona-led Barcelona team would be on the reverse end of a United attack led by captain Bryan Robson. A diving header in the 23th minute and then a close range goal in the 50th minute completed the brace for Robson. Frank Stapleton got United’s third goal in the 53rd minute to complete the comeback, winning the Quarter-final 3:2 on aggregate. Robson said, “it was the best atmosphere I have ever witnessed at Old Trafford”.
UEFA Champions League Round of 16 vs. Olympiacos (3/19/2014) – Old Trafford
Being down 0:2 after the first leg seems to be the common thread in this piece. And United were again in this position during the Champions League Round of 16 against Olympiacos. But things were especially rough that week because of a 0:3 home loss to Liverpool between the two legs. David Moyes’ Red Devils only needed one goal scorer for the 2nd leg, Robin van Persie.
A penalty in the 25th minute, a goal in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half, and a third from a free kick in the 51st minute. Van Persie would be stretchered off in the 90th minute after dominating the offensive attack, winning the match and round for United 3:2 on aggregate.
UEFA Champions League Round of 16 vs. Paris St. Germain (3/3/2019) – Parc des Princes
I’ll give you one guess what the score was after the first leg. Yup, Manchester United were down 0:2 heading into Paris with the odds heavily stacked against them. Therefore, interim Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed his side to have a fast start to climb out of the hole they were in. But fortunately, that is exactly what they did.
Romelu Lukaku scored in the 2nd minute to kick things off, but then PSG got one back from a Juan Bernat goal in the 12th minute. Lukaku would respond and score again in the 30th minute. However, when the clock struck 90 minutes a PSG handball in their box meant United were a penalty kick away from tying the match. Marcus Rashford stepped up to the spot and smashed the ball to the back of the net, his first ever penalty shot taken for Manchester United. The Red Devils would go on to win 3:3 on aggregate, with away goals used as the tie breaker.