Greatest Comebacks: Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 AC Milan
"The Greatest Comeback" series is back with a third edition. This time we will be going back to the quarter final of the of the UEFA Champions League in 2004.
For the talented Deportivo side, the reigning European champions were waiting. The first leg was played in Milano and despite a 0-1 lead in the San Siro stadium, this was thrown away in the space of nine minutes as Deportivo lost 4-1.
An impossible task remained ahead in Riazor...
7th April 2004
Deportivo were like a hurricane in the first minutes and put a lot of pressure upon Milan, taking an early lead when Walter Pandiani scored after just five minutes.
The Uruguayan striker received a cross from the left, turned around Paolo Maldini and shot through the Italian's legs to beat Dida. This was the start that Deportivo wanted and Milan had wanted to avoid.
The Riazor crowd got behind the team and the Galicians went on in a furious rhythm. There was no time to take free kicks or corner kicks in a slow pace and the passion was converted into a deluge of chances.
End to end stuff
Then in a heart stopping moment, Milan produced one of their own when Kaká had a one-on-one with Molina. But the Deportivo goalkeeper kept his focus on the ball, saved the try of Kaká and send it spinning across goal for the defence to hack away.
A vital save because an Italian goal would have meant Deportivo needing to win 4-1 to earn extra-time.
35 minutes on the clock, and it was 2-0. This time the highly rated playmaker, Juan Valderon got on the scoresheet headed home after a cross from Luque.
The dream was slowly turning into reality!
The rest of half continued in a tit-for-tat form but AC Milan was slowly getting control of the game. Although, they had no penetration, they seemed content to just keep hold of the ball and see out the first half.
Deportivo had other ideas though and on the stroke of halftime, it was 3-0.
An awful mix-up at the back allowed Luque to gleefully run through and he powered his shot into the top left hand corner.
Great finish, and it's 4-4 on aggregate!!
The second half was a completely another story. Now that Deportivo had got their noses in front on aggregate, it was Milan who was asking all the questions.
They were seriously lacking cutting edge though and Deportivo looked real comfortable at the back.
Milan looked bewildered. They had a lot of possession but only could create one good chance, missed by Tomasson. And after Ancelotti took off Pirlo it looked like the angle was taken out of the Italian team.
Then disaster struck for them!
A cross came in from the right, it missed everyone and Gattuso then falls asleep at the back post enabling Fran to take control of the ball.
The substitute powered in a shot, it took a deflection off Cafu and left Dida with no chance.
4-0 to Deportivo and Milan had no answers!
The amazing comeback of Deportivo also meant that another page of history was added to the Champions League. With the 4-0 victory Deportivo became the first side ever to overcome a three-goal first-leg deficit in this prestigious tournament.
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