Nothing brightens a wet Monday morning than reflection on an inspired weekend display of grit and determination to shatter the odds and bring back a victory from the brink of despair. The European Ryder Cup heros certainly did that for us today.
Here are PlayUp’s five favourite comebacks over the decades.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates his late winner in the 1999 Champions League final
Manchester United’s 1999 European Cup Final
Manchester United shocked the football world when they won the 1999 Champions League final in Barcelona by scoring two injury time goals. Mario Basler gave Bayern Munich a 1-0 lead and Ferguson’s men looked all but beaten as the fourth official signalled 3 minutes of injury time. But Manchester United wouldn’t be Manchester United if they didn’t fight to the bitter end.
With rime running out the ball fell to Teddy Sheringham eight yards out and he spun it in to send the fixture into extra time. Or so everybody thought. Another fast paced United attack won them a corner for Beckham to swing in. Sheringham flicked it on to find Solksjaer at the back post who toed the ball into the roof of the net. The Munich players were left shell-shocked with many of them in tears. With just three minutes left on the clock they thought they’d won it.
Red Rum’s 1973 Grand National win
One of the greatest horse races ever witnessed the start fo the legend of Red Run. Aintree, March 31st 1973 and odds-on favourite the Crisp led the Grand National field. When his chaser, Grey Sombrero (who was six lengths behind), fell at the Chair it looked like it was all over with the rest of the pack 20 lengths behind and just two fences to go.
Red Rum was still the best part of 30 lengths behind but after jumping the second last, Crisp began slow up. Red Rum ate away at the lead and eventually got up with two strides left of the race and grabbed his first and the most dramatic of his Three Grand National victories.
Liverpool v AC Milan 2005 Champions League final
After over-turning the likes of Juventus and Chelsea to reach the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul, Liverpool were rudely awoken inside the first minute when Paolo Maldini turned in Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick. Two Hernan Crespo strikes in the last six minutes of the opening period meant Milan went in 3-0 up at half time.
Liverpool heads were hanging in disbelief at their predicament but Benitez’s men made one of the most inspiring turnarounds of a generation. Coming out after the break, man of the match Steven Gerrard took the game by the scruff of the neck and scored a header after 53 minutes. Less than a minute later Vladimir Smicer shot tamely from 25 yards but amazingly Dida failed to keep it out and the Liverpool fans could sense an upset. They were right and on the hour mark Gennaro Gattuso pulled down Gerrard in the area for Xabi Alonso to score the resulting penalty to take it into extra time. Milan bossed possession for the final 30 minutes and were denied a sure winner thanks to a miracle double save by Jerzy Dudek with three minutes remaining.
Into the penalty shootout and Liverpool found themselves 3-2 ahead with one round to go. Shevchenko’s kick was saved by the infamously jelly legged Dudek to spark wild scenes of celebration for the Merseysiders.
Dennis Taylor’s 1985 World Snooker title
The decider for the 1985 World Snooker title was a game of epic proportions. Firm favourite Steve Davis began the match in devastating fashion and led 7-0. Dennis Taylor soon trailed 9-1 but was not going to go down without a fight when he began to rally, winning six on the bounce to bring it back to 9-7. The following day had both players exchanging frames in a fantastic battle of composure.
Davis was mystified when Taylor came back from 17-15 down to yet again level at 17-17 with the match to be decided in the final frame. Taylor took the early lead, but Davis led going into the colours. Davis was 18 points ahead with just 22 available but Taylor’s ‘never say never’ attitude saw him clean up and take the victory.
England’s 1981 3rd Test win against Australia
Around the time of the 1981 Ashes test, things were not looking good for the England Cricket team. Australia were favourites to win and going into the third test they were 1-0 down in the series. Ian Botham had also just resigned as captain and started the match poorly with Australia declaring at 401/9.
The hosts were asked to follow on after they were bowled out for just 174 runs and following on, finished the day 221 runs behind. Misery continued the next day when England were reduced to 105/5 but as Ian “Beefy” Botham walked out on to the Headingly pitch, he knew it was his time to shine. As his partners fell, England were 135/7 and it was looking grim. However, Botham was at hand to produce one of cricket’s best ever innings to give England a lead of 124 runs. Australia’s reply was feeble and they buckled under the pressure. Botham took the first wicket and Bob Willis killed them off with figures of 8-43 as England won by 18 runs.