World Football: Most Amazing Comebacks of 2012
With most of the top leagues and competitions nearing their end, games are becoming more important. The European tournaments and the domestic leagues are boiling down to their finales and most games are now make-or-break.
In the past few weeks, fans have been able to watch a lot more games, with fixtures constantly on both weekends and weekdays. The Champions League and the Europa League have featured some enthralling encounters between the world's best, while there have been some superb domestic cup matches as well.
One thing that fans have gotten a lot of is comebacks. There has been a lot of late drama in many matches recently as teams have been able to stage dramatic turnarounds.
It's only March, but we already have witnessed a number of great comebacks in 2012. So without further ado, here is my list of the four best comebacks of 2012.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham: 5-2
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Date: February 26
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Scorers: Saha, Adebayor, Sagna, Van Persie, Rosicky, Walcott (x2)
Prior to the start of this match, Arsenal looked like a team in shambles. They had just come off two humiliating losses—4-0 to Milan at the San Siro and an FA Cup defeat at Sunderland. It was hard to see the Gunners winning against Tottenham, a team that recently put five past Newcastle United.
After 35 minutes, it looked like Arsenal's slump was going to continue. Former star player Emmanuel Adebayor slot in a penalty after Louis Saha had scored early in the match.
But, as it often occurs between the two London sides, a great comeback was in the cards. By halftime, the Gunners already had tied the game with goals from Bacary Sagna and Robin Van Persie.
Arsenal then took the lead in the 51st minute with a goal from man-of-the-match Thomas Rosicky. The game soon turned into a rout as Theo Walcott scored another two goals for the home team, completing a thrilling comeback against a shell-shocked Spurs.
Metalist vs. Olympiakos: 1-2 (2-2 Aggregate; Metalist Advance on Away Goals)
Date: March 15
Venue: Karaiskakis Stadium
Scorers: Marcano, Villagra, Devic
In the first leg of this encounter, Olympiakos won 1-0 at the Metalist stadium in Ukraine. David Fuster scored the lone goal while Metalist midfielder Edmar was sent off.
With the Greek side already favored to advance, it seemed even more inevitable for them to progress when Ivan Marcano scored after just 14 minutes in the second leg for Olympiakos.
As they had a 2-0 aggregate lead and their opponents weren't posing a significant threat, the home team felt there was no urgent need of another goal.
It seemed that it was not going to be Metalist's night as they hit the post in the 70th minute and missed a penalty seven minutes later.
But the game quickly turned on its head as a goalkeeping error allowed Cristian Villagra to scored in the 81st minute and Marko Devic made up for his penalty miss to scored five minutes later. In the end, Metalist advanced on away goals.
Chelsea vs. Napoli: 4-1 (5-4 Aggregate)
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Date: March 14
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Scorers: Drogba, Terry, Inler, Lampard, Ivanovic
Chelsea had won their last two matches under Di Matteo, but were still not expected to advance past a Napoli side that hadn't dropped points since early February.
But that's exactly what happened as the Blues completed a remarkable 5-4 aggregate turnaround. Both Frank Lampard and John Terry, players left out in the first leg, scored, with Didier Drogba and Branislav Ivanovic also on target.
QPR vs. Liverpool: 3-2
Ian Walton/Getty Images
Date: March 21
Venue: Loftus Road
Scorers: Coates, Kuyt, Derry, Cisse, Mackie
In yesterday's Premier League encounter, Liverpool were up 2-0 with 13 minutes left in the match. Sebastian Coates scored an absolutely superb goal to open the scoring for the Reds and Dirt Kuyt made it two in the 72th minute.
Liverpool certainly deserved the lead and looked to have the win in the bag. But five minutes after Kuyt's strike, Shaun Derry narrowed the gap with a powerful header from a Taarabt corner kick.
After the goal, as you would imagine at a ground like Loftus Road, the crowd was roaring as QPR pushed for the equalizer. And the tying goal came in the 86th minute from January signing Djibril Cissé with another header past Pepe Reina.
As you would expect, Kenny Dalglish was furious and the Liverpool players were absolutely stunned. But QPR's comeback turned from a draw into a win. In the second minute of added time, Jamie Mackie exploited some poor defending to complete a dramatic late turnaround for the home team.
QPR had looked well and truly beaten with less than 15 minutes of the match remaining. But a combination of some careless defending from Liverpool and spirited determination from QPR allowed the Londoners to come back and stage an unlikely win.