What Is A Comeback In Football

What Is A Comeback In Football?

Last updated on October 7th, 2021

You may have heard of some great matches in football, where the team came from behind to win the match.

But what exactly do you mean by a comeback?

What is a comeback in football?

A comeback in football occurs when a team comes from a losing position to either win or draw the match. This can happen over the span of one match or across two matches in a double legged tie.

Here is a comeback explained in depth:

What types of comebacks are there?

There are two main types of comebacks that you can find in football.

#1 Comebacks during a match

A team may be in a losing position early on in the match. However, throughout the game, they are able to

The most famous example is Liverpool vs AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League Final.

Liverpool were 3-0 down at the end of half-time. However, they managed to score 3 goals in the second half to bring the match to extra time.

Eventually, they won the penalty shootout to claim the trophy. This is certainly one of the greatest comebacks ever in football!

Another comeback was Belgium vs Japan in the 2018 World Cup. In this Round of 16 match, Japan were 2-0 up after 52 minutes.

Belgium managed to equalise the score with two quick goals. Eventually, Belgium produced a great counter attack in the dying moments of the match with Chadli scoring the winner.

#2 Comebacks across a two-legged match

There are some competitions like the UEFA Champions League which have two-legged ties in the knockout stages. This means that the team will play a home and an away match against the same team.

In such ties, one team may be in the lead and win the first leg.

However, the losing team may come from behind to win the tie on aggregate.

This usually occurs when the losing team plays the away game first. They lose the tie, but are able to score the crucial away goal. This actually gives them an advantage in the second leg!

One such example was Roma losing to Barcelona 4-1 away in the first leg of the 2017-18 Champions League quarter finals.

With that precious away goal, Roma was able to win the second leg at home 3-0. Even though the scores were tied on aggregate, Roma went on to the next round based on the away goal rule!

There have been some extraordinary comebacks in the Champions League

However, there have been some comebacks that really defied the odds.

One of the greatest Champions League comebacks ever was Barcelona vs PSG in the 2016-17 Champions League. In the first leg of this Round of 16 tie, Barcelona lost 4-0 away from home.

Without that crucial away goal, it seemed impossible for Barcelona to progress to the next round.

However, Barcelona defied all odds to win the return leg 6-1.

This was the first time in history that a team progressed to the next round with a 4 goal deficit in the first leg!

Barcelona were involved in another great comeback in the 2018-19 Champions League semi-final. However this time, they were on the losing end.

Liverpool lost the first leg 3-0 away to Barcelona. In the second leg, Liverpool won the match 4-0 to progress to the final!

While it can’t beat the first comeback, the stakes were much higher since this was during the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Why are teams able to make a comeback?

You may be wondering whether comebacks are scripted. However, there seems to be a psychological aspect in play.

One of the worse leads to have is a 2-0 lead. When the losing team scores a goal back, suddenly the momentum is with them.

All they need to do is score one more goal and they will equalise the scores!

The winning team is aware of this too. If they are not mentally strong, they may start to become nervous during the match.

They may start to make mistakes, and that’s where the losing team can pounce!

If the winning team is unable to keep their cool, they may eventually become the losing team.

What happens when a team makes a comeback?

There is no difference when a team makes a comeback in football. You will not get anything extra if you come from behind to win or draw a match.

However, it does help to give your team and fans a huge confidence boost!

In the famous 2015-16 season where Leicester City won the Premier League, they were 2-0 down in the match against Aston Villa.

Leicester then scored 3 goals to ultimately win the match.

While this was only the fifth match of the season, it did provide a springboard for Leicester to ultimately win the Premier League title!


Comebacks in football are one of the aspects that makes football such an enjoyable game to watch. It is always fun to cheer on the underdog and eventually see them coming out on top!

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